How to transfer money in Japan or abroad


Transferring money in Japan is considerably more convenient than withdrawing it. There are several options for money transfers between Japanese bank accounts and to bank accounts abroad.

In order to transfer money, you will have to present some form of identification at your bank. Your alien registration card, driver´s license and passport are all valid forms of identification. There are three main methods used to transfer funds in Japan:

Telegraphic transfer

Also known as a wire transfer, this is the most efficient option of transferring money in Japan. The money will arrive at its destination in under a week.

You need to supply your bank with the destination account information. If you are transferring to someone else´s account, make sure you have all the required information, including account and routing numbers.

Most banks offer an electronic version of this service as well, which is especially convenient for transferring money to foreign bank accounts. Banks charge fees for all electronic and telegraphic money transfers, and although they are the fastest they are also among the most expensive transfers.

Demand draft

A demand draft works like a money order. It is purchased and approved at your bank, and then mailed to the recipient, who can then cash or deposit it at his or her convenience. There is a fee for this service, too, though it is smaller than for a wire transfer. Demand drafts usually take a week or two to reach their destination.

Mailing cash

Since Japan is a cash-based society, Japanese banks allow customers to mail cash in envelopes. A registered cash envelope (genkin kakitome) is a special envelope that can be filled with cash and then sealed. To send a registered cash envelope, you will obviously need the address of the recipient. When the envelope is sealed you will be required to stamp it with your inkan (official ink seal).

If you have a post office savings account, you can also use that to mail money internationally.

Bill payment

The most common type of money transfer in Japan is direct bill payment. By providing your bank and utility companies with your account details and a transfer authorization you can set up automatic transfers (jido shaharai) for each of your bills. You will receive a bill statement in the mail whenever it is time to pay, and the money will be deducted from your account. Most Japanese people pay their bills this way.

Further reading

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