Since we find ourselves often reporting about PayPal usage in Israel, I thought our readers would want to know that PayPal is now available in Hebrew! Well, kind of. Here’s the link, but no matter which language I select for the interface (top-right corner of the screen), I see English. It seems that the roll out hasn’t been so smooth. But PayPal has a .co.il domain name, so that’s a good sign. Here’s a screenshot in the meantime:
This is an important end to a serious usage barrier that existed until now for PayPal in Israel. Israeli merchants couldn’t really use PayPal as long as the interface for customers was in English, and it certainly makes life easier for them in terms of setting up their accounts.
It’s kind of funny that PayPal released a Hebrew version, since last week I gave a lecture to a group of Gush Katif evacuees on how to use PayPal in order to sell their art to a wider market. (Fact: unemployment in Gush Katif hovered around 0%. Since the Jewish residents were removed from the area, their employment rate is around 30%.) The group did not speak English, and found the English interface to be daunting. I told them that PayPal had mentioned plans to make PayPal Hebrew, but I didn’t foresee that happening any time soon. Nice to see I was wrong.
Here’s my presentation (in Hebrew, with English screenshots), which is a basic intro to getting started with ecommerce and PayPal:
The day that I thought would never arrive is here: Israeli PayPal account holders can now withdraw their PayPal funds to Israeli bank accounts! Oh happy day.
PayPal says that it will take 3-5 days for your funds to arrive in your Israeli bank account, and there is an 8 NIS fee if you withdraw less than 1000 NIS at a time:
To add a bank account to your PayPal account, you have to fill out the following form:
If you click on “What’s this?” next to where it says “Bank and Branch Code,” the following pop-up window will appear with the exact spelling of each bank in English for entering in the field called “Bank name,” and the exact bank code for entering in the field that says “Bank and Branch Code.”
In the “Bank and branch code” field, you need to enter the two digit code for your bank and then the three digit code for your branch number. So let’s say your bank account is at Bank Leumi in branch 368 – you would enter 10368 in that field.
Note that there is a minimum that you can withdraw, and that is 40 NIS.
I managed to add a bank account, but I haven’t yet tried withdrawing funds. But it seems to be set up to work, so hopefully we Israelis can now use PayPal as a real means for accepting credit card and online payments, without the stress we had to go through until now.
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: