Finances

Banking

In Japan, you will likely find that banks are generally open from Mondays to Fridays 9:00-15:00, and closed on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays (although main branches of post offices are typically open later hours). The largest bank in Hiroshima prefecture is Hiroshima Ginko, or Hirogin. Some people prefer to use the Japan Post Bank to do their banking as they give a slightly better savings rate. Ultimately, the bank you will have your salary deposited into will likely be determined by your contracting organization. 

Automatic Teller Machines (ATM)

Most ATMs in Japan are not available 24 hours a day. Hirogin ATMs are typically open from 8:45-20:00 on weekdays and until 19:00 on weekends and holidays. If you are in a bind, many convenience store ATMs are open later. Most banks also charge a fee of about ¥108 if you use the ATM after a certain time or on holidays. If you use another bank’s ATM, be prepared to pay another fee of ¥108.

Button Keys

お預け入れ             o-azukeire
deposit
or ご入金             go-nyuukin
お引き出し             o-hikidashi
withdrawal
or 払 戻           haraimodoshi
お振替                 o-furikae
transfer to another of your accounts
   
お振り込み             o-furikomi
transfer to a different account
    確 認   kakunin
confirm
通帳記入         tsuuchou kinyuu
bankbook balance update
    訂 正     teisei
correction
残高照会         zandaka shoukai
account balance
    取 消   torikeshi
cancel transaction

Sending Money Abroad

Please refer to your copy of the JET GIH (also available online) for further information. http://jetprogramme.org/en/gih/

Bank Remittance

Telegraphic Transfers 電信送金 (denshin sokin)

This type of transfer involves a telegraphic transfer from a bank (that can deal in a foreign currency exchange) to a specific account in your home country. The costs of telegraphic transfers vary greatly, but typically range from ¥2,000 to ¥7,000 per remittance.

Mail Transfers 普通送金 (futsu sokin)

This method is a safe and fast means of transferring funds. Your money is first changed to a foreign currency in Japan, the amount is written on a transfer statement and the money is mailed overseas. When the statement arrives at your bank the amount is transferred into your account. This takes two weeks and costs around ¥2,500. This method is not recommended, as most foreign banks refuse to deposit foreign checks. Foreign banks that do will charge large fees. Electronic transfer is better.

Transfer to/ between Bank Accounts 口座あて送金・口座間送金

(kozaate sokin/kozakan sokin)

A transfer made to a foreign bank account or post office account. An electronic transfer between two accounts usually costs ¥2,500 for each transfer and the maximum amount of money you can transfer depends on the country to which it is sent. It takes an average of two to four business days for the transfer and there may also be consignment fees.

Sending Money to an Address 通常為替 (Ordinary Money Ordertsujo kawase)

After you pay for the remittance amount and handling charges at the post office, although it depends on the country, postal money orders are, in principle, issued in Japan and then sent to the payee‘s address. Handling charges are ¥2,000-2,500 per remittance. There is a limit to the number or remittances that can be sent. This remittance method usually takes from five to 30 days and some fees may be deducted from the amount of money sent, such as consignment fees. This method is not recommended, as most foreign banks refuse to deposit foreign checks. Also please note this service is NOT available to Canadians Banks who do accept these money orders charge large fees. Electronic transfer is better.

GoRemit (Formerly Go Llyods)*

GoRemit remittance service gives you same day telegraphic transfer (if made before 3:00 pm) in most major currencies at very competitive exchange rates. The service allows you to use your local ATM, or any of the other ATMs in Japan to transfer money home. There is a flat fee for the service, of ¥2,000 per remittance. It costs nothing to register for the service.

Check goremit.jp/index/en for more information. With the benefits, it is not hard to see why many JETs use this service, so if you need help check with someone who has been here a while.

Automatic Bank Transfers

You can have your water, gas, electricity, telephone (both domestic and long distance) and NHK TV fees transferred automatically from your bank account. The application procedure can be handled from the finance counter of your bank. The following are necessary: (1) a receipt or bill from each company, (2) your account passbook, and (3) your hanko (inkan). There is often a quick, all-in-one application form. To pay bills in person at the post office, the payments have to be made between 9:00am and 4:00pm on a working day. Certain bills, such as utility bills, may also be payable at convenience stores, but the bills you can pay may vary from location to location and store to store.

Furikomi

To deposit cash in another party’s bank or postal account within Japan, there is a system called furikomi, which is fully automated. Banks have machines like ATMs at which you can deposit cash into an elected bank account, merely by entering the account number, branch name, and your own name and telephone number. After you have done it once, you can receive a “shortcut” card, so next time all you do is insert the card and the cash, and your bill is paid. This is a very handy way of making rent payments or other regular payments if they are not being automatically withdrawn from your account, or for making one-off payments into somebody’s account; not many of these machines have English options yet, so if you’re unsure how to use them ask a bank clerk for help, or bring your supervisor. You can also do this manually with the bank teller.

Credit Cards

Getting a credit card in Japan can be a challenge if you are not a permanent resident. Although some have noted that the longer you have lived in Japan, the more likely you are to be accepted for a card application. While it is not impossible, it is less than likely that any company will accept and process a card for you if you have lived here for less than 6 months. However there are alternatives until you reach that point, and a few options when you do. While there are numerous services, the most common options for getting a credit card are as follows:

Prepaid “Vanilla” Visas

At nearly any convenience store (“konbini” コンビニ) you will see a row of prepaid cards that can be purchased. Examples include iTunes cards, Amazon cards, Rakuten Cards and more. Most importantly, you will also typically see prepaid Visa cards. If the store you are visiting does not have any, do not worry, most konbini have these cards available so try another store or check with a cashier. All you have to do with these cards is to purchase the amount you would like (some stores offer prepaid cards in 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 yen and their value is usually displayed on the card), register on the website they display on the back and activate your card online. After activating your card you can then view your card information and you can input your information as you would normally to shop online.

*Note: Online card registration/activation is usually in Japanese, so some knowledge might be necessary.

Rakuten Ginko Debit Card*

Appling for a debit card online with Rakuten Ginko 楽天銀行 is one of your best options. Although to be clear, it is entirely possible (maybe even likely) that you will not be accepted the first time you apply. It can definitely be annoying, but you should wait a while, maybe a couple months and apply again and see. After completing the process successfully, your card will arrive in the mail along with steps you need to take to start using it. To deposit/withdraw you can use various convenience store ATMs.

A huge note is that registration is in Japanese, and unfortunately the English-language application support page is no longer available. So, you may have to seek help from a native Japanese speaker or one of your senior JETs.

Shinsei Bank

Some great features of this bank are their overseas remittance options (such as the previously mentioned GoRemit service) as well as the fact that you can use ATMs after normal hours and special occasions without extra fees using their card. They also have numerous other interesting features. You can check out their options and/or start an application on their website in English at http://www.shinseibank.com/english/.

Japan Post

If you open an account with the post office, you can then apply/ask the staff about getting a debit card or credit card to accompany your account.

American Express

You can apply online or through the Costco in Hiroshima city. It requires an annual fee and is quite expensive.