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I am getting ready to start a job in Israel, and have been told that the company requires me to have an Israeli bank account that they will direct deposit my salary into. I have heard that credit cards in Israel generally do not allow the users to contest charges, and additionally will not help me to build credit in the United States. As such, I want to be able to make most of my purchases there using an American Credit card.

However, my current credit card company informed me that they do not allow balances to be paid off from non-U.S bank accounts, which means it would he impossible to set up automatic-deductions and would require instead for me to transfer the balance to a U.S. bank account each month in order to pay off the card balance. This is both costly and requires enough time between the day I get paid, and the day my credit card bill is due in order to work.

Are there any American credit card companies out there that allow their balance to be automatically deducted from a foreign (specifically Israeli) bank account?

  • Are you sure you'll want to? You'll spend a few per cent more on all your purchases from the currency exchange. (Even if your card issuer doesn't charge a surcharge - and most charge 1.5 to 2.5% and occasionally higher - there is about a 1.5% difference between currency buy and sell rates on credit cards. So having to convert your Israeli income from shekels to US dollars, and then having the credit card company do the same, you'll lose 1.5% ... twice. Also, I live in Canada, the foreign country with the closest ties to the US, and it is impossible to pay a US credit card bill here too. – Jim MacKenzie May 3 '18 at 20:40
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tl;dr: You don't need to do this, using an Israeli credit card is fine.

I have heard that credit cards in Israel generally do not allow the users to contest charges

That's not true. You can definitely contest charges. You can't cancel charges arbitrarily though, i.e. you need to make an argument regarding why the charge should be rejected. And while I don't have statistical information regarding the acceptance of contestations in various scenarios, it is not "common knowledge" that contestations are (almost) always rejected.

Something else you can do more easily, and this I'm sure of, is cut off future charges. That is, say "do not honor any future charges from XYZ". So if you have, say, an ISP that's over-billing you, you could at least cut them off.

As such, I want to be able to make most of my purchases there using an American Credit card.

Why? Suppose even that it was impossible to contest. Millions of Israelis use credit cards just the way they are, and credit card fraud or malicious unexpected charges are very rare.

Are there any American credit card companies out there that allow their balance to be automatically deducted from a foreign (specifically Israeli) bank account?

I doubt it, though I can't say for sure. And if they allow it, you'll probably pay exhorbitant fees. Considering what I've written above, this will just be a hassle with no real benefit.

  • Building an American credit score while working in Israel is one reason to want to do this. – Martin Bonner Jul 3 '18 at 13:27
  • @MartinBonner: Ah yes, I remember the Orwellian credit score scheme you have in the US... where you have a poor score if you've never taken any credit. – einpoklum Jul 3 '18 at 14:29
  • LOL! I'm (currently) a British citizen, living in Germany, and working in Switzerland. But "never taken any credit" gives you a low score in the UK too (but probably not Germany where that would exclude a lot of potentially good customers). – Martin Bonner Jul 3 '18 at 14:31
  • @MartinBonner: In Israel - no model society, of course, but still - there is no such thing as a "credit score". – einpoklum Jul 3 '18 at 15:15

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