Daily Life & Schools

Daily Life & Schools
Transferring Money from Home
December 16, 2023  |  By Nathan Reinholz

When you first arrive in Japan you’re likely going to be carrying some cash with you to help you get through the early days, but you may find yourself wanting to get some more money from home. Especially for students, who even if they work a part-time job may not make enough money to live comfortably. Especially these days, there are several easy ways to send money to Japan from overseas!

Withdraw from an ATM card

This is probably the most painless way to get cash, especially if you still do not have a Japanese bank account. Just stick your ATM card into an ATM machine that accepts international cards. The number of ATMs which accept them is increasing compared to before, but the ones at 7-11 and Yuucho bank will definitely work. Be aware that there may be a restriction on the amount of money you can withdraw in a day, so if you need a lot of cash quickly then it might not be the most convenient option.

Do a direct bank transfer

Your home bank will be able to do a direct transfer if you want to. Most banks let you make transfers online, so as long as you have your Japanese bank account details and Swift code (you can see a list of those here) then you’ll be able to make a transfer. These typically have fees associated with them, usually around 3000 yen but can be more, so make sure to confirm that!

Use a bank transfer app

One option these days is using an app like Wise or Revolut. The main advantage is that there are typically very low fees compared to traditional transfers and they’ll also give you a very good exchange rate. You can sign up for a Japanese account in English, and then just link your home country’s bank account to it. The way it works is that they’ll give you an account in that country to send the money to (or just ACH into it), and it’ll then send the money into your Japanese bank account. This is an extra step compared to a direct transfer, but the lower fees usually makes it worth it.

Western Union and other money sending services

If you really, really need cash right away then you can have someone back home send you the money via Western Union, where you get the transfer details and walk into a physical shop to collect the money. This is usually the worst option as there are some substantial fees involved, but if you don’t have the ability to wait for a bank transfer, it’s always available.

The information can also be used if you want to send money from Japan to another country. No matter what option you choose, just make sure that you triple-check all of your information! Just mistyping one thing can either cause your transfer to be rejected, or possibly lost!

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