A Foreigner's Guide to Transferring Money to Japan

By Skye | October 6th 2020

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    Transferring money to Japan is one of the services you may require to conduct your banking business and there are a few different ways that you can accomplish transferring money to Japan. Banks are all capable of offering the service to transfer money across international lines to the banking system in Japan, but are not the only option that is available to you. You can also use PayPal, Western Union, along with other companies like TransferWise or XE Money Transfer. OFX is also a company that provides quality service when you need to transfer money to Japan as part of completing all your banking business.

    This is the BFFTokyo Guide to how you can transfer money to Japan and all the information that you may need to know when conducting your banking business by transferring money to Japan from a foreign country. If you want to learn more about debit/credit cards in Japan, click here.

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    Transferring Money

    What are my options?

    Using PayPal
    What do I need to know?

    Banks are not your only option for transferring money across international lines to Japan. Companies like PayPal are also available to offer the services required to send your money overseas. Should you decide to use PayPal as your option to send money to Japan, here's information about using PayPal remittance services. PayPal charges about a percentage of 3-4% for a normal money transfer when remittance services, sending money long distance, are used. You should not expect a high transfer limitation; PayPal will not allow you to send large sums of money unless you are actually a business user.

    PayPal may be the less expensive option available to you. If you have a small amount of money that requires transferring to Japan and a small budget, then that may make the remittance services that're offered by PayPal the best suited to your requirements and circumstances.

    You can send money from the bank in your original country to your PayPal account, send the money from there to your PayPal account in Japan, and then finally to your bank account in Japan.

    Piggy Bank

    That process cuts down on the costs of transferring money and has worked for people before, but it's up to you to decide if you want to try following that process.

    Using a Bank
    What do I need to know?

    Banks are able to provide the service that allows you to transfer money to Japan, and are traditionally facilities where you are able to find the service to help you conduct your banking business. That does not mean that banks are your best option or only option, though, as there are multiple downsides that you'll need to face if you choose to use a bank. The number one downside is the exchange rate when transferring money to Japan through a bank; the exchange rates are high and may cost you more of your money than necessary. You are also faced with potentially higher fees and with slower transfer times.

    If you want speed, you don't necessarily want a bank. Time zones is another downside to transferring money overseas, as you will most likely need to call during the operating hours of the branch in Japan, which is generally weekdays from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. The time you call may be the middle of your night or in the middle of the day depending on where your own country is in relation to Japan. Of course, you won't have this problem is you are currently a resident of Japan. You'll have another problem entirely to face: the tricky process of opening a new bank account back on your original county's home soil.

    After all, you generally need to be a resident of a country to open an official bank account. Opening an account in your country will become more difficult should you become a resident of Japan. If you pick using the international transfer services of a bank all the same, though, you don't have to worry that your experience will only be downsides. You will have employees assisting you through the process depending on the bank whose services you employ to transfer the money. Whether you not you do employ the services of a bank and which bank will depend on your own requirements and your circumstances.

    XE Money Transfer
    What do I need to know?

    If fees are your largest or one of your largest concerns when looking for the best way to accomplish transferring money to Japan, then XE Money Transfer may be the ideal option for suiting all your requirements and your circumstances because there are little to no fees. You are allowed to send amounts of money in the currency for Japanese yen from your account to overseas in Japan through remittance services offered by XE Money Transfer. XE Money Transfer may be the economical choice for customers who are more comfortable employing the services of a company that has little to no fees for the customers.

    TransferWise
    What do I need to know?

    One other company of your multiple options for transferring money to Japan is TransferWise. If a requirement of yours when transferring money from your original country to that of Japan is truly a lowered exchange rate, then TransferWise may offer the remittance services can be thought as the most suitable for your requirements and circumstances; the exchange rate is reasonable and isn't meant to empty your wallet. The fee for sending the money is even at a percentage of 0.5-1% for customers. The cost is much easier on a wallet than the fees you're charged at for the normal remittance at Paypal.

    The exact amount of the fee you're charged depends on the currency you are using, and the other charges depend on the amount of money that you are transferring to Japan using the remittance services. If you decide to send a large amount of money, then the low cost benefit offered by TransferWise may be perfectly suited to fulfilling your requirements and circumstances for internationally transfering money. That is not the only benefit to be found for customers that TransferWise helps send their money overseas to Japan, as the time it takes for the company TransferWise is a benefit too.

    About two days are or less is how long it takes when transferring money to Japan if you choose the company TransferWise as the way through which to acquire the use of remittance services that're essential to conducting your banking business. The TransferWise borderless account may of an interest, too, because the TransferWise borderless account allows you to both keep money in the currency for Japanese yen and send money in the currency for Japanese yen, all while using the genuine exchange rate. You may find both services of TransferWise to be a welcome fit for your banking.

    Western Union
    What do I need to know?

    Multiple companies offer the services required to send your money overseas through remittance, the PayPal company is just one of many. Western Union is yet another option you can use as a tool for conducting your banking business by transferring money to Japan. The exchange fees that are all included in the total cost of using Western Union may be too costly than your requirements and circumstances are able or willing to cover comfortably. That doesn't mean, though, that using a remittance service with Western Union is not beneficial: you can avoid call centers because it's available online.

    Western Union has a history in Japan going back to 2010 and is growing in popularity. Depending on what you in particular need from remittance, such as a lower exchange rate or speed, it may be a nice choice.

    Transferring Money to Japan Wallet

    OFX
    What do I need to know?

    You may find that, as I wrote before, XE Money Transfer is a company that has little to no fees that're attached to the remittance services offered by the company. That does not mean that the XE Money Transfer company is the cheapest option for transferring money to Japan; that title is reserved for crowning OFX. OFX is a currency exchange provider that is designed to help you transfer foreign currency into your account.

    The exchange rate offered to you by OFX is within 1% of the interbank rates, the fees for transferring money to Japan are low, and the money is sent to Japan very quickly, sometimes even in 24 hours.

    Being cheap is not the only benefit of using OFX to conduct your remittance banking business. Other benefits include being user friendly, as you will only need to log into your account and the process is simply a few clicks long. You can easily save all of your beneficiary details and there are also tools, graphs, and facilities to help assist you in finding the most efficient method for transferring money to Japan that will be suitable for your requirements and circumstances. OFX is unable to help long-term Japanese residents.

    Exchange Rates

    What should I care?

    Conducting your banking business internationally requires understanding the exchange rates that are applicable to the two or more currencies in question. Transferring money to Japan through remittance is one of the services that you may require to conduct your banking business, and while there are a few different ways that you can accomplish transferring money to Japan, the first step is to understand exactly the exchange rate between both currencies. For example, there is a chance that you are planning to transfer a small sum in the currency for US dollar into the currency for Japanese yen by remittance.

    The exchange rate between the US dollar currency and the Japanese yen currency is constantly changing, as it for the other the exchange of other currencies and the currency for Japanese yen. A good time for transferring money to Japan is when the exchange rate is stacked in your favor and will allow you to spend less money to conduct your banking business. You may accomplish this by either meticuously calculating the timing to transfer money so that you save the most money, simply using remittance services regardless of the current exchange rate, or buy choosing a forward contract beforehand.

    A forward contract is beneficial to you for a simple reason: you can pay for the service of transferring money to Japan and schedule the date at which the money will be sent to Japan. The benefit that comes with paying for the service beforehand is that you do not have to wait for a time when an inexpensive exchange rate lines up with the time you need remittance services. You can pay for remittance services when the costs are low, without needing to delay or push forward the time to conduct your banking business.

    You may find forward contracts to be well suited for your needs and requirements while banking.

    Exchange Rates
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    A limit order is also a tool other than a forward contract that you may use when the time comes that conducting your banking business requires sending money overseas. You decide on what precise exchange rate you want to have when transferring money to Japan, and then the company that previously was hired by you watches the exchange rates between the currency you are sending overseas and the Japanese currency for yen. The company transfers the money whenever the exchange rate becomes the one you wanted. That way, you won't have to keep an eye out for the correct exchange rate.

    You see, the timing is like playing whack-a-mole. The exchange rate between the currency you are transferring to Japan, such as the US dollar currency, and the currency for Japanese yen goes up before going down and then back up again, just like the moles in whack-a-mole. The exchange percentage between the currencies is what decides how much transferring money to Japan will ultimately cost you, so it's in your best interest financially to pick the right moment. Picking the appropriate moment is not necessarily as easy as picking the right moment for whacking a mole in whack-a-mole.

    A limit order is a good choice if the best service to suit your requirements and circumstances when transferring money to Japan is to rely on the company, like OFX, to wait for the right moment for transferring your money.

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    The Japanese government allows you to pay off the fine for a traffic ticket at a bank counter and the majority of banks in the Japanese banking system, namely banks in a city, offer currency exchange services that stay open after hours. Traditional banking where you go to a bank counter and are properly assisted by an employee is offered to you despite the language barrier, as there are a numerous amount of banks in Japan that offer you English-speaking assistance from employees proficient in the English language.

    Many employees are also proficient in the English language in order to assist the foreign customer base. If you would like to read more about Japanese banks, the BFFTokyo guide for banking in Japan article will answer your questions!

    Going Online

    What should I know?

    Transferring money to Japan is one of the services you may require to conduct your banking business and there are a few different companies whose services you can use to accomplish transferring money to Japan, all just by going online. TransferWise and XE Money Transfer, two companies I wrote about earlier in this article guide for BFFTokyo, are just an example. Here is a quick look into what may be waiting for you on the website for those companies. To begin with, TransferWise has a convenient banking took waiting for you. The tool, you see, on the homepage for TransferWise site's capable of providing a very helpful service.

    You first select the currency in which you are transferring the money to Japan, before writing in the amount of money you are planning to transfer to Japan. The tool shows you the guaranteed rate of exchange, the amount of fees you will be charged for transferring money to Japan, the total amount of time that it will take for your money to be sent to a Japanese bank account from overseas, and how much you'll save compared to using the remittance services that are offered by banks. It also gives numbers for how much will be released into the Japanese bank account after the money you are sending is converted to yen.

    Of course, you will need to select Japan as the destination for your money.

    If the tool is the first item you see when you click on the homepage for TransferWise, then the first item you see when clicking on the homepage for XE Money Transfer is a sign in option, and directly below, information about XE Money Transfer. Some of the information is a chart comparing the XE Money Transfer rates and fees to other companies and banks to give you a good estimate of how much monetarily you will save by using XE Money Transfer for transferring money to Japan.

    A simple instruction on how to send money overseas online using XE Money Transfer is also provided on the homepage. The instruction is a three step process of signing up, getting a quote for the price of transferring money to Japan, and then sending the money to Japan. The first step provides a link for signing up and the final step informs you that you can track the money as it's transferred to a Japanese bank account; depending on your requirements and circumstances for remittance, that tool may be a good one.

    Banking Fees

    What should I know?

    Transferring money to Japan is one of the services you may require to conduct your banking business and when the time comes you will have a Japanese bank account in mind to put the money; the bank account may be your own Japanese bank account, it may be the bank account of a friend, it may be your family member's bank account, or a different bank account entirely in Japan. There is one final principle to take note of when using remittance services to transfer money to Japan: the Japanese banking system loves fees. A fee will be charged to you regardless of whose bank account gets the money.

    A fee is usually charged to release the money into the bank account in Japan. The charge may be an amount of $27.37 or $36.49 for transferring money from abroad into the Japanese bank account. If that sum of money was converted into the Japanese currency of yen, it would then be an amount of about ¥2891.01 or ¥3854.33. You can avoid paying a fee for recieving the money and releasing the money into a bank account if you choose an account at Shinsei Bank, as Shinsei Bank does not tend to charge a recieving fee. SMBC Bank and Japan Post Bank also charge a lower amount for the fee that comes together with remittance.

    SMBC Bank and Japan Post Bank are known not to charge the typical amount of $27.37-$36.49 or ¥2891.01-¥3854.33 for releasing your money into the bank account. Instead, you can expect to be charged a light fee of $9.12 or $13.68. That sum of money amounts to about ¥963.32 or ¥1444.98, when converted into the Japanese currency of yen. That's not the only fee to take note of, though, as you will be charged another fee when transferring money to Japan in a currency other than Japanese yen. Japanese banks will convert your money into the currency of Japan before releasing the money into your desired bank account.

    Transferring Money to Japan Fees Maneki Neko

    It's the act of converting your foreign currency into the Japanese yen currency that prompts Japanese banks to charge you a second fee, so you will not have to pay the fee if all your money was already converted into Japanese yen before the transfer. Think that is all you will be paying in fees?

    Should your requirements and circumstances be such that you are not able or willing to cover comfortably the fees, you have a chance of avoiding the fee for releasing the money into the Japanese bank account if you use Shinsei Bank.

    You also have the opportunity to avoid the fee for converting your currency into the Japanese yen currency precisely by using Japanese yen to begin with. There will be yet a third fee, though, that you'll be charged. The fee's called an intermediary fee and is for all of the banks used as an intermediary during the remittance process. Using an internationally major bank and sending the money to a major bank in Japan is a good way to avoid needing to use the banks that serve as an intermediary during the remittance process, thereby allowing you to avoid paying an intermediary fee when transferring money to Japan.

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