Israelis have often complained about the opaque rules on how banks charge for services, and that it is almost impossible to read end-of-year statements that lay out their rights and obligations to banks. Beginning next week, that era comes to an end – with the introduction of the “smart bank statement,” the Bank of Israel announced Sunday.
In a digital age with all data available to bankers at any time, said the Bank of Israel, there was no reason customers should not have access to data about themselves. A new directive instructs banks to do just that. Banks will now be issuing special ID cards to account holders which will give them an instant profile of all the activity in their accounts, how much money each account holds, how much interest they are getting on deposits or paying on loans, what their obligations (loans, credit card payments) are to banks, and other data.
Also listed will be how much customers are paying in bank fees, what services they are getting for those fees, and what, if any, third parties have a lien on their accounts. The data, said the Bank, will enable customers to more easily understand the products banks are selling them, and to decide whether or not they want them.
Banks will send the data out once a year, according to the regulation, but are encouraged to do so more often. Customers can go into their bank any time and request updated information, which their bank must supply for free.
Dr. Hedva Barr, Supervisor of Banks, said that the data would be presented “in an easy to understand manner, in a common format that all banks must observe and follow. The program will help households and small businesses to better manage their financial affairs, understanding how much they are paying in fees and giving them an opportunity to improve their financial situation.