Banking

Chances are, you’ve found (or soon will find) that banking in Japan is completely different from your home country. Personal cheques and debit cards don’t really exist, and even credit cards aren’t very widespread (expect only big department stores or chain stores to take credit cards). Japan is very much a cash-based society. Banks will usually issue you a “cash-card”, that looks similar to a debit/credit card, but it can only be used to withdraw from an ATM not to pay with at stores.
By default many of your contracting organizations will try to set you up with a regional/local branch; maybe out of habit or to support a local organization. It is your choice however to choose where you would like to bank with. By far many JETs have found the Japan Post Bank to be the most convenient. They offer online banking (from which you can send money abroad easily and at a reasonable price), locations across Japan with ATMs in most shopping places; so if you expect to travel you can rest assured that you can find a place to withdraw your money and not be charged extra. When you arrive and set out to sign up for bank accounts, talk with your contracting organization about which would be best for you.
To that end, you’ll find Japan’s banking system is both covenient and inconvenient at the same time. Here we’ve put together some guides and pointers to make banking less of a headache

Banks in Ehime

First and foremost about Japanese banks: they are regional! That means the bank has branches and dedicated ATMs ONLY in that prefecture/region. So when you travel around Japan, make sure you’ve pulled out enough money to last the duration of your trip. However, nowadays a lot of convenience store ATMs support Ehime banks.

Japan Post Bank

http://www.jp-bank.japanpost.jp/ (Japanese)

Japan Post offers savings accounts, otherwise known as postal accounts. These accounts are optional (you’ll have to open one by yourself) but are fairly easy to set up. The benefit is postal accounts are NOT region specific. You can also get some other benefits. You can use the nationwide cashpoint/ATM network free of charge. These ATMs all have an English language option for ease of use. You can also withdraw and deposit at any post office nationwide. You may also set up automatic bill payments from these accounts. If you are going to leave the country or prefecture in the future you can keep your post office account. They also offer online banking so you can manage your account from your home country. Very useful and a good way of putting money aside for savings.

Iyo Bank (伊予銀行)

http://www.iyobank.co.jp/ (Japanese)

Look for the green logo with the yellow sun and pink flower.

Ehime Bank (愛媛銀行)

http://www.himegin.co.jp/ (Japanese)

Look for the orange and white logo.

Japanese ATMs

A word of warning: Japanese ATMs are not open 24-hours! ATMs are typically open from 7:00am to 8:00pm. Some ATMs may close earlier on weekends and holidays. These times are also true for the convenience store ATMs. You will incur a small fee if you withdraw money on weekends/holidays and after 6:00pm on weekdays. There is also an extra fee for withdrawing from convenience store ATMs.

ATM Translation

ATMs don`t often come with any English support (this is also true for convenience store ATMs- don’t be fooled by the “English” button, there isn`t always English support) so here’s a handy translation of the ATM menu.

Passbook

Your regional bank account comes with a cash card and a passbook. The passbook functions much like the registry of your checkbook– it will keep track of all of your transactions. Just open your book and place it facedown on the passbook display and it will update it for you.

Furikomi Payments

Furikomi is the easiest way to transfer money between bank accounts. If your struggling, one recommended guide is from the Surviving In Japan website.

Sending Money Home

You may work in Japan, but there are still many reasons why you need money at home– paying off bills or loans or starting a nest egg for that day when you will (sadly) leave Ehime. Here are some of your options for sending money home:

Wire Transfer via the Post Office

If you plan to send money only occasionally, then you can do a direct international wire transfer from the Post Office. This can only be done at the main central post office (as opposed to the contract offices) or online. There is a 2000 yen charge regardless of the amount, plus whatever fees your recieving bank charges. The transfer takes a few days. You can have the money wired directly from your postal bank account, or pay in cash.

GoRemit

www.shinseibank.com/goremit/en/

If you plan to send money on a regular basis (like monthly) then the better option is to use the GoRemit (formely GoLloyds) service. There is a 2000 yen charge regardless of the amount, plus whatever your recieving bank charges. You’ll first have to set up an account which will take a few days. After your account is set up, you can wire the money using your bank’s ATM.

TransferWise

https://transferwise.com/jp/

A relatively new company that has been used and recommended by Ehime JETs. First register and upload pictures of documents to verify your identity, and then request a transfer and send money to their Japanese account. They will then send you money from their account in your destination country, meaning that there are no international wire fees. It takes about 3 days to get into your account and you can send to others as well. They charge 1% of all transactions and use that day`s exchange rate (which they tell you upfront). Please see the website for more information.

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