Banking in Ehime

Chances are, you've found (or soon will find) that banking in Japan is completely different from your home country. Personal checks and debit cards don't 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. 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: Japanese banks are Regional! That means the bank has branches and dedicated ATMs ONLY in that prefecture/region. So when you travel around Japan, insure you've pulled out enough money to last the duration of your trip or risk being stranded. Nowadays some (not all) convenience store ATMs support Ehime banks. Most Ehimites will be part of one of these two banks:


Iyo Bank (伊予銀行)

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

Look for the green logo with the yellow sun and pink flower.
Family Mart and Lawson ATMs support Iyo Bank.


Ehime Bank (愛媛銀行)

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

Look for the orange and white logo.
Lawson ATMs support Ehime Bank.


Japan Post Bank

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

Japan Post also offers savings accounts, otherwise known as Postal accounts. These accounts are optional (you'll have to open one by yourself as opposed to having one opened by your Contracting Organization) but are fairly easy to setup. 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. Interest tends to be better than those of banks, but the rate is still poor. 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.

Please Note: Your JET paycheck can ONLY be deposited into your regional bank account. If you wish to use any of the services of the postal account, you must manually redeposit the money yourself.


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 also incur a 210 yen 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. Plan accordingly!


ATM Translation

ATMs do not come with any English support (this is also true for convenience store ATMs- don't be fooled by the "English" button, there is no English support for the ATM service!) 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.


How to Furikomi Payment

Furikomi is the easiest way to transfer money between bank accounts. This is also the prefered method of payment if you buy plane tickets from No. Travel and for special AJET events. The following guide was taken from j-talk.com.

  • Look for the kanji that reads [振込み] (furikomi). If it is after 3pm you can only do a furikomi for the next day, so it will read something like [翌営業日振込み] (yoku eigyoubi furikomi) instead. Push this button.
  • Now you will be given a choice of whether to do the furikomi with actual physical cash or by automatically withdrawing money from your account. We'll just explain the procedure for transferring money directly from your account to another person's account. The choices are:

    a. [現金] (genkin - cash)
    b. [口座から引き出してお振込み] (kouza kara hikidashite ofurikomi - furikomi from your bank account directly) or [キャシュカード
  • Now, instert your cash card and your pin code.
  • Now you have three choices. Here's where I'm afraid I forgot what the exact kanji read, but it should be:

    a. [From a pre-made furikomi card]
    b. [From a pre-recorded furikomi number]
    c. [振込先入力] (furikomisaki nyuuryoku)

    We want choice c., which means "Input the furikomi information directly yourself". I assume most of you won't have a pre-recorded furikomi account or pre-made furikomi card (though you can make one at the end of this procedure if it's somewhere you often furikomi money to). So anyway, just choose the choice that most resembles c.
  • Now you can choose the bank the recepient of your furikomi holds an account in. You're going to have to search for the kanji of your bank. Usually the name of the bank is everything that precedes the kanji [銀行] - (ginkou), but there are exceptions so be careful. If it's something obscure it may be hidden under some submenus so you'll need to ask for help. Anyway, the person asking for your money should (obviously) have given you the name of their bank.
  • Now that you've input the bank, you need to choose the branch which handles their account. This informatio should also have been given to you. Usually you can distinguish the branch name because it's the kanji that come before [支店] - (shiten - branch. So for example, if you're transferring money to No.1 Travel in Tokyo (a good site for discount tickets) you might have a furikomi address that looks like: 住友三井銀行新宿支店

    BANK NAME :: 住友三井 銀行 :: sumitomo mitsui ginkou
    BRANCH NAME :: 新宿 支店 :: shinjuku shiten

    You will need to input the first letter of the branch name into the screen now. Usually the screen will display all the katakana letters for the first letter of every branch available at the particular bank name you selected. In the example above, I selected "sumitomo mitsui ginko" for the bank, and now I need to select the branch name. Since the name of the branch is [新宿] (shinjuku) I hit the katakana "shi" [シ] key on the screen (since the first character of the reading of 新宿 is "shi" - [シ ン ジ ュ ク]).

    After you type the first letter, you will then get a list of every branch (in kanji) which starts with the first letter you just typed. So for example, above I typed [シ] ("shi") so I would get something like:

    [渋谷] [新橋] [新横浜]
    [新宿] [品川] [白石]
    [<< 戻る - back] [進む - forward >>]

    Find your branch name and push it. If you can't find it, then that means you put in the wrong bank name, so go back and check what name you selected for the bank. Also, note that the branch name has to match exactly! For example, there might very well be a [新宿東] [新宿] and [新宿南] - but each of these is completely different and only [新宿] matches the one we want!!
  • After selecting the correct branch name, you need to put in the bank account number of the recepient. Usually this is a [普通口座] - (futsuu kouza - "standard account"). Just type the numbers of the bank account using the keypad on screen. Some helpful kanji are:

    [前に戻る] - (mae ni modoru - "go back")
    [訂正] - (teisei - "correct your input")
    [確認] - (kakunin - "confirm"
    [取り消し] - (torikeshi - "cancel")
  • Now enter the amount you want to furikomi. You might have to do this in the "japanese style" by which I mean, you may need to use the [万] (man - "10,000") and [千] (sen - "1,000") kanji instead of typing it in directly. Press the [円] - (en - "yen") key when you finish typing the number. So for example if you want to send 20,000 yen the "western way" is just to type the numbers [2 - 0 - 0 - 0 - 0]. But if you have to do it the "japanese way" you'll need to type [2 - [万]] which will cause the number [20,000] to appear on the screen since that's 20-man.
  • Okay, and once again I've forgotten what the exact kanji read, but basically the choices on the next screen ask you to choose whether to use the name on your cash card or else type in your own name manually. Sorry, I'll try to look up the kanji the next time I go to do a furikomi.

    a. [Use name pre-recorded on your cash card]
    b. [Type in your own name manually]

    Usually you'll use the first option, however, there are times when you might want to type in your own name manually, such as when you are transferring money to a travel agent, they may ask you to put your customer ID number or something on there along with your name, which you can do using the second option. But just use choice a. unless you know what you're doing.
  • Now input your phone number. Press our old friend kakunin - [確認] - from above - when you're done.
  • Now the confirmation screen. Again, I forget the exact kanji, but basically it's asking you if you want to make a "pre-made furikomi card". This is basically a little plastic chit that has all the information for the furikomi you just inputted pre-recorded on it. If you often make a furikomi to the same place every month (for example, your landlord or something) this might be something useful to have since it saves you from having to do everything manually each time - just stick the card in and it pops up automatically) but for most of you, this is unneccessary.

    a. [Make a furikomi card]
    b. [Don't make a furikomi card]
  • Last step! Choose whether to record the record of this furikomi either directly to your bank book or else to print out a receipt.

    a. [Record to bank book]
    b. [Print a receipt]

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 the "Love Princess." There are two basic ways to send 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). There is a 2500 yen charge regardless of the amount, plus whatever fees your recieving bank charges. The transfer takes about two days. You can have the money wired directly from your postal bank account, or pay in cash.


Go Lloyds

http://www.golloyds.com/index/en (English)

If you plan to send money on a regular basis (like monthly) then the better option is to use the Go Lloyds 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.