So you’re wondering how you can use PayPal in Israel? Does PayPal accept Shekels? Can you withdraw your PayPal funds to your Israeli bank account? Etc. As you often do when in doubt, you head over to Google and type in “PayPal Israel” to see what the web has to say about your questions. If you are located in Israel, here are approximately what the results will look like:
See results number 3 and 4? That’s us. Where’s PayPal or PayPal Israel? Nowhere to be seen.
Ranking high for this term was an accident for us. We happen to have published two blog posts on the subject of using PayPal in Israel over the past year, and as you can see the web is not exactly saturated with good content on this topic, so it was an easy score.
The funny thing is that as a result, people have begun to perceive illuminea as PayPal Israel experts. We get at least one phone call and/or email from people with questions about using PayPal in Israel about once a week.
PayPal Israel is missing an opportunity
Although PayPal officially serves the Israeli community, the amount of information available online about using PayPal in Israel is meager at best and confusing at worst, and the amount of people with questions is huge as is evidenced by the number of them contacting us with their PayPal questions.
I must give credit to Nissim Ohayon, Sr. Business Development Manager at PayPal Israel, who wrote a post on our blog about using PayPal in Israel, and even took the time to answer the many questions posed by readers in the comments.
However – maybe this is a sign that PayPal and/or PayPal Israel needs its own blog? PayPal should be engaging in the conversation, providing solid and timely information. I suspect that PayPal could win quite a lot of Israeli clients if it provided a minimum standard of online customer support.
Twitter’s great, but it can never take the place of the blog
This accidental positioning of our company as experts in the field of PayPal use in Israel demonstrates the strength and importance of blogging.
Twitter is all the rage these days, and people have even questioned whether twitter will take the place of the blog. The truth is, many people, myself included, are blogging less because they are spending more time on twitter. However, with all the value that twitter provides let nobody tell you that it can replace the power of blogging.
A blog allows you to present an idea and follow through on it. You cannot do that in 140 characters. (Can you imagine this post as a tweet? Let’s try: “illuminea appears #3 & 4 in Google SERPS for term PayPal Israel thanks 2 our blog. PayPal not even on 1st page. Lesson: keep blogging”. Not too bad!) In addition, it offers loads of content for search engines to index and present to users in their results. Yes, tweets do appear in search results but less than blog posts, and also with a strange sort of randomness.
Also, a blog gives you your own place on the web. The content you create on facebook or twitter helps prop up those networks. The content you create on your blog helps prop up your own place on the web.
So don’t bury blogging yet. It’s still the foundation of any online marketing activity you undertake, whether it’s SEO, PPC, email, or social media. It’s on your blog that you have a chance to convert users in whatever way you hope to do so.
In the meantime, we’re happy to answer your PayPal questions as best as we can so don’t let this post stop you from contacting us! And keep blogging!
Our previous posts about using PayPal in Israel:
There always seems to be confusion regarding how Israelis can use PayPal – can they use it in their currency, i.e. Shekels? Can they withdraw funds? Are there limits they should know about?
Almost a year ago I blogged about an announcement on the PayPal blog regarding new PayPal currencies, one of which was the Israeli Shekel. Despite that post, some questions still persisted, and the accuracy of the information was doubted.
Well, I’m happy to say that I now have the latest info regarding PayPal and Israel straight from PayPal! The following information was provided by Nissim Ohayon, Sr. Business Development Manager at PayPal Israel:
While PayPal services are not fully rolled out for Israeli merchants, thousands of Israeli merchants are using PayPal for cross border sales with great success. Here are some links that will direct you to the products and features available to Israeli merchants today:
- Main PayPal web page for Israeli users and merchants: www.paypal.com/il.
- Small to Medium Merchants:
- Email Payments – Click here for full details
- No integration required.
- Accept credit/debit card as well as PayPal balance and echeck payments immediately.
- Website Payments Standard (WPS) – Click here for full details including fees and integration tools.
- Simple to Integrate. Select from one of three easy integration options.Click here for details.
- No need to “qualify.” Just open a premium or business account online and follow the instructions.
- Your site can be integrated and ready to accept credit card payments in a single day.
- Click here for an online demo (may take a few minutes to load).
- To see if your shopping cart software already has a kit for Website Payments Standard, please follow this link.
- Merchants with their own merchant account:
- Express Checkout (EC) – Click here for full details including fees and integration tools.
- Some advanced programming may be required.
- To see if your shopping cart software already has a kit for PayPal Express Checkout, please follow this link.
- If your shopping cart is not listed on the page at the previous link, please direct your developers to this link to review the API documentation on how they can integrate PayPal Express Checkout to your site.
- Your account may need to pre-qualify for Express Checkout, so please contact me directly if you wish to integrate this product into your site.
A few important notes for Israel-based users and merchants to consider:
- Withdrawing funds is now available directly in Israel, in New Israeli Shekels via an Israeli-issued Visa card. Since Visa cards in Israel are typically linked to a bank account, those funds do settle directly into your bank account, via your credit card. Please note that this feature is restricted to a $750/day limit. We have plans to improve on the withdrawal methods for Israeli accounts in the coming months, so please stay tuned.
- PayPal users and merchants that have a US bank account may link it to their PayPal account even if their PayPal account is here in Israel. This allows Israeli merchants and users to move funds in and out of PayPal directly to/from their US bank account without the daily limits mentioned above.
- The PayPal web site will not be available in Hebrew in 2009. This means that Hebrew sites will not be able to integrate with the service yet.
To get started, open a PayPal Premier or Business account to start accepting credit cards and PayPal payments today by clicking here.
Note what it says about withdrawing funds: it can only be done with a Visa brand credit card, and the money is transferred through the Visa network and arrives in their bank account. This is because the overwhelming majority of Visa cards in Israel are linked to a checking account. So when Visa goes into the account to withdraw funds, funds will be deposited instead (or, at least offset from some of the withdrawals for Visa transactions).
I hope this information is helpful!
People are always asking us about Paypal and how it works in Israel with the Shekel. So, I went back to the announcement on the PayPal blog, New PayPal Currencies: Mexican Peso and Israeli Shekel. After reading over comments from Moshe, Fabio, Roi, Roberto, Yeong-Ping Koh and the like, I learned more from the comments section than from the post itself. Here’s what I discovered:
- You can withrdraw money to any Israeli-issued VISA cards or U.S. Bank. Israeli PayPal users cannot withdraw funds to a MasterCard.
- You can use your ILS balance to pay anyone in 190 markets worldwide. You can also receive funds from buyers or family and friends in Shekels.At this time, Israeli users can only withdraw money to a Visa card. Israeli users can also withdraw funds to a U.S. Bank account.
- They’re using the ILS instead of NIS because PayPal uses the international currency code (ISO 4217) to represent all our currencies, and the first 2 characters has to be consistent with the country code IL.
- The functionality is no different from any of the other multi-currencies like EUR, GBP etc. So for example, you can use your ILS to pay someone in the US in USD, the seller will receive his money in USD and the equivalent amount of ILS will be withdrawn from your PayPal account after a conversion charge. If you are using the card to pay a domestic Israeli seller, then it should work like a domestic purchase. If you are using your credit card to make a payment internationally through PayPal, then it should work just like when you use the card at an international merchant website or at a foreign retail store, and there may be applicable charges from your credit card company depending on their policy.
Hopefully, cross your fingers, PayPal will keep its word to its commenters and implement local card acceptance (like Isracard), direct transfer to Israeli banks and add the Hebrew language to the Paypal site.
What online payment service do you use?