18 August 2017

Leumi Free Card – a Fee-Free, Israeli Credit Card

Tired of paying up to 20 NIS / month (240 NIS / year) for a credit card with little to no benefits?  Want a backup card?  Then, the Leumi Free Card is for you.

The Leumi Free Card is a no-cost, fee-free Israeli credit card – open to customers of all banks – with no minimum spending requirement and no tricks.


The Pros of the Leumi Free Card

  • NO FEES / NO MINIMUMS – There are no fees whatsoever, including no minimum amount which you are required to spend each month to maintain the card’s fee-free status.
  • Leumi Free CardIt’s available to anyone – Customers of all banks can be cardholders.
  • It’s a Visa card – Some people have primary credit cards which are not universally accepted (e.g., Diner’s, American Express) because they have cheaper monthly fees or offer more robust benefits.  The Leumi Free Card can be your extra card for when a merchant will not honor your primary card.
  • It can withdraw money from your bank account  The card can be used to withdraw money from ATMs.  The amount you withdraw is deducted from your bank account within three business days.
  • It’s an international card  There are both Gold (זהב / zahav) and International (בינלאומי / beinleumi) flavors of the card, both of which are fully-fledged cards that can be used to make purchases from international websites or when you are overseas.

The Cons of the Leumi Free Card

  • No points or benefits – Most Israeli credit cards offer a modest benefit scheme (e.g., buy one, get one free tickets at the movies when you spend 1,500 NIS / month using the card).  The Leumi Free Card offers no benefits.  In fact, Leumi Free Cards are always excluded from special deals, benefits, and offers extended to all other holders of Leumi Cards.
  • E-statements only  Leumi Free Card holders must log into the Leumi Card website to review their monthly statements.  If a cardholder does not log in to review his statement at least once every six months, Leumi will begin sending him his monthly statements in the mail at a cost of 3 NIS / month.

Applying for the Leumi Free Card

  1. If you only have one credit card and are intending to cancel it, wait until after you apply for and receive your Leumi Free Card.  Already having a credit card is part of Leumi’s check of your credit worthiness.  You are welcome to cancel your other cards once you have your new Leumi Free Card in hand.
  2. Review the full terms of the card.
  3. Contact Leumi Card by calling *2133.
  4. You may have to be persistent in expressing your interest in the Leumi Free Card.  It is not a very popular offering and certainly less lucrative for Leumi Card, so you may have to be clear that your intention is to apply for a Leumi Free Card and not any of their other products.
  5. Be prepared to provide a variety of personal information including your name, Israeli identification number (מספר תעודת זהות / mispar teudat zehut), date of birth, your household income, address, and the information for the bank account from where the monthly payment will be deducted.
  6. The representative will offer you a selection of days and times when a messenger will deliver your new credit card to you.
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Comments

  1. Judy Korver says:

    Is it possible to request for a Leumi Free card, not being a resident?
    I do have a bank account and also an Israeli creditcard. But I don’t have a teudat zehut.
    Just a passport from the country I come from.
    Does anybody know?

  2. Chaim Shnayim says:

    Does anyone know the fastest/easiest/cheapest way to get a credit card for a week if you only have a Bank HaDoar account?

    • Chaim, I don’t have any experience with prepaid credit cards, but since the Leumi Free Card is free there is no cost to keep it in case you need it in the future.

  3. Credit Card Hopeful says:

    I just called & they said that ALL Leumi credit cards are ONLY for someone who already has another Israeli credit card!! The entire reason why I wanted this card is because I don’t have an Israeli credit card – I’ve refused to pay for something that I have for free from the U.S. For the time-being our U.S. card is accepted almost everywhere in Israel and we get great benefits to boot!
    However, I would like to have an Israeli card for those occasions where the U.S. one isn’t accepted (like the train, the cheaper cell phone companies). Any other ideas of which card I can get for free?

    • Credit Card Hopeful, you have clarified an important point. One of the financial checks includes verifying that you have a credit card today, in addition to other questions such as your household income. There are no credit bureaus in Israel today, so Leumi must verify your credit worthiness on their own and the fact that you were issued a credit card is a part of that check.

      I spoke with a Leumi Card representative about this explicitly. You must have another credit card when applying for the Leumi Free Card, but you may cancel all your other cards (if you so choose) and only use the Leumi Free Card once you receive it.

      Assuming you have a bank account in Israel, it is quite likely that your bank will issue you a credit card, which you can later cancel at your discretion.

  4. Can this only be used as a ‘backup’ credit card or can it replace my current credit card altogether?

  5. Is this an “American style” card that can carry a balance (at interest), or is the full balance deducted from a checking account each month like standard Israeli cards?

    • You can either have the full balance paid off at the end of each month automatically (as I have set mine up), or you can tell them to deduct a fixed sum, I believe.

  6. Ruth Hirsch says:

    Hello. Do you know if Bank HaDoar customers are eligible for the card?

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