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Regulator pushes debit cards, cancels check bouncing fee for depositors
One of the Bank of Israel's new regulations includes not charging customers who deposit bad checks, as well as not allowing banks to charge customers for debit cards.
Bank of Israel Supervisor of Banks David Zaken on Monday added another regulation restricting banking fees and pushing debit, rather than credit-card use.

“The Banking Supervision Department continues to adopt measures with the aim of improving the customer’s ability to compare and of increasing fairness and competitiveness in the banking system,” said Zaken, who will step down in June after four and a half years in the position.

Among the latest regulations, customers who deposit bad checks will not be charged if the checks bounce.

Under the current system, depositing a bad check can lead to a fee for the depositor, even if they have no way of knowing that the check will bounce or a way of passing on the fee to the party who wrote the check.

In an attempt to make debit- card payments more popular, and help them replace cash transactions, Zaken also ordered that a bank that provides both debit and credit cards to a customer cannot charge the customer for the debit card.

The NIS 20 to NIS 90 that banks charge customers for sending a notice will be cut to NIS 5.

Monday’s regulations are just the latest in a series designed to increase competition among banks and reduce fees that take advantage of customers.

The Bank of Israel said its recent measures have canceled fees, including “the direct-channel fee for a charge to a debit card, the fee for printing a confirmation of ownership of an account (one confirmation per year), housing- loan management fees, deferred-payment fees collected for deferred payment transactions on payment cards and others.”

Other rules have determined hows banks should allow customers to open up accounts via the Internet and mandated inexpensive, barebones accounts with a minimum of fees.
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