Its very important that your savings and your wages don’t disappear in commissions and bad exchange rates, so here you would need to choose wisely. If your intention is to work in Japan, then you will need to open a Japanese bank account. For this you will need to have:
- A Residence card with your current address printed on it
- A Japanese telephone number.
Before leaving the country and before your visa ends you would also need to close your bacn account.
The Working Holiday Visa along with most other long stay visas allows you to open an account with any bank, though most of these banks would speak only Japanese.
The difference between these two is that Seven Bank is an online bank and does all it’s transactions electronically and through ATM’s. Shinsei Bank is a physical bank with branches all over the country, where you could walk into and ask for assistance and of course ATM machines too.
Another difference is that after opening an account with Shinsei Bank you would receive your cash card immediately, but with Seven Bank they would mail it to your registered address after about a week.
The PowerFlex account, which is what you will be offered at Shinsei Bank does not include a debit card, but you will get a cash card which will allow you only to withdraw money from any ATM, not be used as a credit/debit card.
They will also offer you an option of a debit card called GAICA Flex Prepaid Card. To be eligible to get this card you will need to provide them with your ‘My Number’, which you can get when you register yourself with your Ward Office.
If you want to open an account in one of the other Japanese banks, you should pay special attention to the following:
- Some banks will charge you a commission each time you withdraw money after the normal working hours.
- They will charge a fixed, high commission each time an international transfer is made.
- They will offer you a cash card and not a debit/credit card.
If, on the other hand, you do not intend to work during your stay, there are several options to limit the money lost in the exchange rate while withdrawing.
Points to consider:
- The exchange rate used by the issuer of the card (Visa, MasterCard …) and not one of the entity’s is applied.
- There are no extra commissions applied to the exchange rate.
- Limitations on the monthly amount that you can withdraw at ATMs.
- Limitations on the number of withdrawals you can make per month.
For making international bank transfers and not paying high commissions, we recommend you use Transferwise.