Israel Postal Company Ltd. plans to offer Visa debit cards in the first quarter of 2011, adding to its existing financial services operations.

A spokesman for Israel's national postal service said that it has made the plan contingent on receiving approval from Visa Europe.

"The postal service will only issue cards," he said, and a third-party company, to be selected this month, will be hired to process the transactions.

The company is considering using one of three domestic processing companies: Israel Credit Cards-Cal Ltd., Isracard Ltd, and Leumi Card Ltd.

Though the postal service said it expects Visa Europe to issue the agency a license for all types of payment cards, it initially plans to issue debit cards only.

The Israel Postal Company has 400,000 customers who maintain checking accounts for its postal banking service, with deposits totaling more than $150 million. The company has 700 post office branches around the country.