Kanji Cheat Sheets

Kanji Cheat Sheet: Using the ATM in Japan

Banking in Japan isn’t such a scary task after you master some basic kanji.

Living in Japan can be confusing sometimes, especially when it comes to daily tasks like going to the bank. A lot of what you might do at a bank in your home country with the assistance of a teller is often done at the ATM in JapanWhile some ATMs in Japan have an English option, others do not.

I can still remember my first time going to the bank to sort out my affairs by myself and how intimidated I felt by all the unfamiliar kanji. Pretty much the only words I could read were the English origin words キャッシュカード (cash card) and クレジットカード (credit card).

Despite a relatively successful trip, I left the bank a little nervous that I had told the banker the wrong thing or pressed the wrong button and sent all of my money to some stranger in a remote part of Japan by mistake!

Not to worry, with these four words you can do everything you need to do at the ATM:

English Japanese Romaji
Deposit money 預け入れ azukeire
Withdraw money 引き出し hikidashi
Send money to someone 振込 furikomi
Transfer money 振替 furikae

Getting paid

Now that you know the basic words for withdrawing and transferring money, the next thing you need to know is how to check your account balance (ざんだか).

is an interesting word because it is made up of the kanji found in the words のこ(left over) and たか)いい (high), presumably because the amount of money you have left (残る) is high (高い) in your account (残高). Banking humor… you’ve got to have a memorization method, right?

If you want to check your account balance, you are going to have to learn some common Japanese banking terms. Luckily, most of this information can be found by simply looking at your bank card.

On the bank card, you’ll find some of the following terms:

English Japanese Romaji
Mr./ Ms./ Mrs. (Polite) ~様 ~sama
The bank’s name 銀行名 ginkoumei
The branch’s name 店名 tenmei
Bank branch number 店番 tenban
Year and month of issue 発行年月 hakkou nengetsu
Account number 口座番号 kouza bangou
Handling charge 手数料 tesuuryou

Always make sure you know what bank the payee is using because if their bank is different than yours, you may get some pesky handling charges (すうりょう). You’ll also see this kanji in your bank book (つうちょう) or receipt if you’ve made withdraws from ATMs that aren’t operated by your bank.

Keeping your accounts in order

Of course, if you’re anything like me, you’ll often find yourself trying to remember how much money you do (or don’t) have in your account. Here is where that colorful book that you were given when you first opened the account, your 帳 (bank book), comes in handy.

Put your bank book into the ATM, the same way you would a bank card, and you’ll get a perfectly formatted breakdown of all transactions in and out of your account. This is especially useful for those who still don’t have the option of online banking. What year is it again..?

Look out for some slight variations of the words on your cash card that we learned before, in your bank book.

English Japanese Romaji
Bank book 通帳 tsuuchou
Update your bank book 通帳記入 tsuuchou kinyuu
The date of the transaction (Year, month, day) 年月日 nengappi
The branch where the transaction happened 店番号 tenbangou
Money deposited お預り金額 oazukari kingaku
Money was paid in お支払金額 oshiharai kingaku
Current balance 現在高 genzaidaka

With these new words, you will soon be banking like a boss with slicked-back hair and a pin-striped suit. Cigar optional.

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