The Bank of Israel has invited local and international entities for the acquisition of the credit card companies that will be split from the country’s Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi.

The entities include financial or non-financial corporations and private equity firms.

Both the banks are required to divest their credit card divisions by 2020 in order to increase competition in the nation’s banking industry.

The banks are also given an option to reduce their holdings to below 40% if their shares are issued on the stock exchange.

In its statement, the Bank of Israel said that the buyers would benefit from the rich information databases that these firms have on households and small businesses, as well as their high level of expertise and experience.

The central bank further published the final criteria for organisations that would want to purchase the credit card firms. In addition, it will publish details on interchange fee to offer better regulatory certainty.

Bank of Israel governor Karnit Flug said: “The separation of the credit card companies from the banks is a main component of the measures to increase competition in banking, alongside other structural and infrastructural changes that we are advancing in Israel, such as the establishment of a central credit registry, the establishment of a joint technology bureau, measures to ease the transition between banks, and more.

“The Bank of Israel is acting in conjunction with the relevant regulators with professionalism and responsibility so that the financial consumer in Israel will benefit from the reform.”