- Prepare necessary documents before opening a bank account.
- Our recommendation would be to open your account with Japan Post Bank (Yucho Ginko)
- Know the procedure to open a bank account.
Although credit cards are becoming popular in Japan, Japanese people usually pay in cash.
You can use your credit cards for payments at almost all shops, however, when you buy products or services at retailers in rural areas or small shops, they may refuse credit cards and request you to pay in cash because they do not have necessary equipment.
Just in case you cannot use the credit cards, it would be better to carry cash. In another case, however, if you plan to stay in Japan for a long time to study, you will have to prepare a large amount of money, but it is very dangerous to carry such money in cash. Thus, we recommend you to use a bank account.
To open a bank account in Japan, you will need identification documents , a certificate of your current address and a personal seal (inkan/hanko) as a general rule.
What a foreigner will need when opening a bank account in Japan:
Valid Alien Registration Card; Residence Card (Zairyu Card); Special Permanent Resident Certificate; Health Insurance Card; Passport; Driver’s License; etc.
●Document that certificate your current address
Alien Registration Card that contains your address; Residence Card; Special Permanent Resident Certificate or an original receipt or bill of cell phone service or utility (water/gas/electricity) (copies not acceptable)
●A personal seal (inkan/hanko)
*If you are not accustomed to using personal seals, you can file your signature instead.
●Contactable phone number
Some banks demand a (contactable) phone number, so it is advisable to prepare it in advance.
Requirements for foreigners to open a bank account
You can open a bank account in Japan, provided that you have been in Japan for more than six month. Foreigners who have a short-stay visa up to 90 days are not allowed to open bank accounts in Japan. If you have a long-term visa for over 90 days, but your stay in Japan is shorter than six months, you are not allowed to open any bank account under Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act (Foreign Exchange Act).
Note that not all branches of a bank follow the same rules. Thus it is advisable that you try several banks. You should try first at the branch closest to your home, because it would be more likely that you can open your bank account. (If you apply to a bank branch far from you home, you may be required to give them the reason or, in some cases, your application may be refused.)
For international students, we would recommend to open a bank account with “Japan Post Bank (Yucho Ginko)”
It is said that “Japan Post Bank” provides foreigners with the easiest access to a bank account.
Even if your stay in Japan is less than six months, they will allow you to open an account, by which you will be able to deposit, withdraw or transfer (remit) your money.
Another good point for foreigners who are not accustomed to using personal seals (inkan/hanko) is that Japan Post Bank accepts the application form with a signature. However, sooner or later, you will need a personal seal when you open an account with another bank, take various procedures at government offices, enter into a cell phone contract, or move to another residence. It is advisable that you have one so that you can increase your convenience. The seal will remind you of your stay in Japan when you go back to your home country.
There are many other banks, so you should check with several banks for their requirements in advance.
With a cash card (ATM card), you can freely deposit or withdraw money at more than 20,000 ATM machines of Japan Post Bank (Yucho ATMs) throughout Japan, without any fees, in early morning, at night, or on holidays. Needless to say, you can also withdraw or deposit your money at a counter in a branch of Japan Post Bank or Post Office. You can also use ATMs at convenience stores, but the types of ATM machines may be different depending on each store, so you need to know when the ATMs are available and how much the fees are charged in advance.
●You can access your account by using a PC or cell phone.
You can use “Yucho Direct” the Internet banking services made available by Japan Post Bank free of charge, via a PC at home or your cell phone. You can check the balance or remit your money from your saving account (tsujo yokin). If you wish to use this Internet Banking service, please tell so at the counter when you open an account with the bank.
* You can also apply for the service through the Website of Japan Post Bank.
●Procedure for opening an account with Japan Post Bank
- Find the closest branch office of Japan Post Bank (Post Office) to your home.
■ Branch offices and ATMs – Japan Post Bank
- Go to an office of Japan Post bank (Post Office) with necessary documents (described above).
The bank office accepts the application form for opening an account from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Walk into a bank branch office, and you will find a machine that issues numbered tickets (given to customers in the order of their arrival) near the entrance. Pull out the piece of paper (looks like a receipt). Customers are called in the order of the number of the tickets (in the order of arrival). You must wait until one of clerks calls out your number. When you are called, you go to the counter of the clerk who is calling.
- Notify the clerk of your intention to “open an account.”
- Receive an application form from the clerk and fill it with items required. If you have any questions, you can ask for guideline.
* If you do not have any personal seal (inkan/hanko), your can affix your signature instead.
- After you have completed the application form in accordance with instructions by the clerk, you must move away from the counter and wait the clerk to complete the procedure.
- When you are called again by the clerk at the counter, you will receive a “Multi-purpose Account Passbook (Sogokoza Tsucho).” Now you can deposit your money using the passbook.
- Now you have completed the procedure for opening an account with Japan Post Bank.
* The cash card will be sent by mail at a later date (about one week) to the address you wrote on the application form.
About documents necessary to open an account
To open an account with Japan Post Bank, you must complete an application form of opening a multi-purpose account (Sogokoza Riyo Moshikomisho)and a form of notification of nonresident, etc. (Hikyojushato Todokedesho).
●To complete “Sogokoza Riyo Moshikomisho” form
- Current address in Japan (including postal code)
- Telephone number (cell phone number acceptable)
- Name (also enter furigana letters)
- Date of birth
- The amount to be deposited
- Type of cash card (check any one of the box of “JP BANK Card,” “Ordinary Card,” or “No need”)
* JP BANK Card is a credit card. If you do not need the card, check the box of “Ordinary Card.”
●To complete “Hikyojushato Todokedesho” form
- Name (Also enter furigana letters)
- Address in Japan
- Telephone number
- Date of immigration
About international transfer
There are two ways to transfer your money from one of branches of Japan Post Bank or some posit offices into an account in a foreign country:
[Sending Money to Address] Sending a money order to the address of the payee in the foreign country who can convert it into cash at a post office in his/her place;
[Transfer to Bank Account] Transferring money into a bank account or postal transfer account of the payee in the foreign country. However, transfer methods available are different depending on the country, click the link below to check your country on the list of International Transfer Services Available in Each Country.
■International Transfer – Japan Post Bank
You can receive money transferred from a foreign country in two ways: receiving it in your multi-purpose account or postal transfer account of Japan Post Bank; receiving an international money order at your home and convert it into cash.
■Transfer from a foreign country to Japan – Japan Post Bank
Operation hours of counters and ATM of Japan Post Bank (Post Office)
The operating hours of the counters of Japan Post Bank (Post Office) are different depending on each branch office, but most of them open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can deposit/withdraw cash or check the balance of your account at ATMs of Japan Post Bank on Saturdays or Sundays without any fees only if you have the cash card.
■Guideline of Post Bank ATMs – Japan Post Bank
ATMs in Convenience Stores
You can deposit/withdraw cash or check the balance of your account with ATMs in convenience stores. You may be charged fees, but it would be very helpful if you are in urgent need. You should check in advance the fees and operating hours because they are different depending on each convenience store.
●Convenience Stores Having ATMs
* Some convenience stores may have no ATMs.
Link: Japan Post Bank *English