Transferring Money from Abroad to Japan
Many automatic teller machines (ATMs) in Japan do not accept credit, debit and ATM cards, which are issued outside of Japan.
The main exceptions are the ATMs found at the over 20,000 post offices and over 10,000 7-Eleven convenience stores across the country. These ATMs allow you to withdraw cash by credit and debit cards issued outside of Japan, including Visa, Plus, Mastercard, Maestro, Cirrus, American Express and JCB cards and provide an English user menu.
To get money from a 7/11 ATM simply:
1. Insert your card.
2. Push a language button.
3. Enter your pin code.
4. Enter the amount of money you wish to take out.
Then you have your cash! If you have a bank account in Japan you can now deposit that money to keep it secure. It’s already in yen so you don’t have to worry about getting it exchanged.
Notes from 7/11 about using the ATMS
- The withdrawal limit for cards issued abroad for one transaction is 200,000 Yen.
- Note, for transactions that incur service charges, a fee is charged for the number of transactions.
- If the withdrawal limit is exceeded, reduce the withdrawal amount and perform the transaction again.
- If an incorrect PIN error is triggered, contact the company that issued the card.
- ATMs may not be available due to system maintenance etc.
Exchanging US Cash to Yen
For JCMU students, it is recommended that any cash you would want exchanged into yen while in Japan, be exchanged in your departure or arrival airport. Exchanging money in an airport takes about 3 minutes.
Check the map of the airport you wish to exchange your money in to locate the exchange service. They are typically outside of the security zone.
You can also get your cash exchanged before leaving for Japan at your American bank. Typically banks need 24-48 hours notice because they have to order yen. If you do decide to exchange your money at your bank, make sure your funds will be available before you leave. Some banks have a fee for this service while others do not. Check with your local bank for their policy.
It is possible to get USD exchanged for Yen at the Shinsei bank. HOWEVER, this process takes 1-2 hours to complete and requires higher levels of Japanese. Of course, the JCMU staff members can assist you with this process but it is preferred that funds be exchanged in the airport upon arrival.
While traveler’s checks are something of an anachronism now that ATMs have come onto the scene, they’re still useful for Japan, where ATMs for foreign-issued cards are limited primarily to 7-Eleven convenience stores and post offices. Traveler’s checks fetch a better exchange rate than cash and also offer protection in case of theft (be sure to keep a record of the traveler’s checks’ serial numbers separate from your checks in the event that they are stolen or lost). Note, however, that in some very remote areas, even banks won’t cash them. Before taking off for small towns, therefore, be sure you have enough cash.
Getting Money from Family or Friends
Paypal International Transfer
If your family or friends want to send you money, they can transfer funds with PayPal. The receiver of the funds will be promoted to log in or create a PayPal account. Students should make sure they switch their Paypal location to Japan.
The only way to withdraw cash from a Paypal account is to link your account with a bank account at Shinsei Bank. Fees apply.
Paypal Domestic Deposit
Of course if you have an American Paypal account linked to your American bank account, you can receive funds from family or friends and then deposit these funds to your bank. Once the funds have been transferred you can use an international ATM as described above to receive the money.
Speak with a representative at your local bank to determine how your family or friends can directly deposit funds into your account securely. Online banking options like Chase Quick Pay and wire transfers allow these kinds of transactions. Once the funds are in your American bank account, you can then use an international ATM as described above to receive the money.
It is possible to get personal checks deposited into a Japanese bank account, however:**NOTE** If you have a personal check, it takes ONE MONTH for the bank to process it.