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Talking about money

 
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zbird



Joined: 20 Mar 2008
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:59 pm    Post subject: Talking about money Reply with quote

What do most people do in regards to money while in Japan?

For example, for someone on a tourist visa. Would it be more convenient to open a bank account in one's home country that has no or low international ATM withdrawal fees? Alternatively, do people bring a boatload of cash over (I really don't want to do this)? Or do people open a bank account in Japan (probably not possible under a tourist visa I assume)?

Then after obtaining a work visa, do people generally open a bank account in Japan?

Thanks for your time.
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Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 894
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Japan's financial IT systems are amazingly backwards, but at least the Japan Post ATMs are integrated into some international networks. (Can't remember what they're called now.) So when I visited Japan, I could just withdraw directly from my UK bank account. Of course, you have to withdraw larger sums -- the larger the better if you want to minimise charges.

Warnings:

1. Maybe matters have improved now, but when I used the systems the user interface was absolutely appalling. I kept doing what looked like the right thing, get an apparent success, but the machine would just spit out a little piece of paper with a cryptic error message. You'll need to look into this before you approach the machine.

2. Many ATMs close on evenings and weekends, just like a bank branch does.

Once I had a job, of course I needed a bank account to receive my salary.

If you live in an area with lots of 7-11s, I recommend Shinsei. They're mainly an on-line bank. They offer services, including telephone support, in English. And you can use any ATM in any 7-11 24/7. They're the nearest thing Japan has to a modern bank.
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zbird



Joined: 20 Mar 2008
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any other comments?

I am also getting a new debit card sent out to me overseas as I cannot get it before I leave. Any opinions on how much cash to bring? I'm not sure how long the card will take to arrive. I'm going to expedite it but not sure how long it will take to get past customs. Anyone with experience receiving mail from abroad while in Japan?
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 454
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shinsei or Citibank would be good choices although Citibank may just be in Tokyo.
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kathrynoh



Joined: 16 Jul 2009
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was in Tokyo for a year on a student visa and mainly lived on my savings. I mostly used my debit visa through the 7-11. Defintely check out the charges - I had a card with one bank that charged a % of the withdrawal amaount, the other charged a flat $5. Also check out the exchange rate they use because the bank I used with the flat rate also had a much better exchange rate.

I occassionally had issues with my card not working. After about an hour or so, I'd be able to use it so it was just like it froze up or something! I'd suggest making sure you have a reasonable amount of cash on you or get one of those preloaded travel cards as a back up.
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Big_H



Joined: 21 Dec 2013
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The short version is -even for foreigners who are in their 10th year mark in Japan-: Cash is King.

Always make sure that you have more than enough on you especially to cover emergency expenses.
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