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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The number of automated teller cash machines across the country increased by 22 percent in the first six months of the year, though only 30 percent of cash withdrawals are conducted at the ATMs.
"The reason for the increase is mainly a result of the entry of the privately-held ATM provider Casponet into the local ATM market in 2005," said Business Data Israel economists in their survey on ATMs.
The BDI study found that at the end of the first half of 2006, there were 1,664 ATMs located all over the country, representing a 22%, or 225-unit increase in the number of ATMs from the end of 2005. During the same period, an average of 68,000 cash withdrawals were carried out at each ATM with an average value of NIS 385 for each withdrawal.
Furthermore, the survey showed that 80% of all ATMs in Israel are operated by banks, while 20% are operated by private companies. Today, Casponet has ATM machines located in public places that do not have units provided by banks such as in local businesses, supermarkets and gas stations. The maximum amount that can be withdrawn at Casponet ATMs is between NIS 400 and NIS 500.
Cash withdrawal fees at Casponet ATMs are far higher than cash machines run by banks. Casponet machines charge a NIS 5 fee per withdrawal, in comparison to the NIS 1.20 fee per withdrawal for customers withdrawing cash at their bank cash machines or about NIS 5 for customers withdrawing money at other banking machines.
Although the number of ATMs has increased, still only about 30% of all cash withdrawals are conducted at ATMs, while the remainder 70% is withdrawn from the counter at the bank. For cash withdrawal at the counter of their banking branch, banking customers are charged around NIS 3.80 and NIS 5.65 in other banks. According to economists at the BDI, the main reason for this finding is the limited cash amount that can be withdrawn from ATMs. About 55% of cash is withdrawn from ATMs of the customer's bank, whereas 45% is withdrawn from ATMs of other banks. About 2% of all withdrawals from ATMs in Israel are foreign currency withdrawals.