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  • Doing a wire transfer and how difficult Japanese Banks are

    Yesterday I got back from Okinawa, had a great time. Upon getting back I found out that I had to pay for something I ordered out of America. So I decided to do so today by wire transfer just to see how difficult it would be.

    First I went to Mizuho bank and they sure but that it would cost 5,000 yen to do. I thought it was kind of expensive but ok. After completing the paperwork, they wanted me to write down the address of the bank I was wiring the money to. I said hey! I have the swift code and ABA code and the account name and account number but no address, so they said no, we need the address. Strange, I thought but ok, so back home I went and did a goggle for the bank and wrote down what was on the webpage (telephone number too) and back I went.

    This time I decided to see if UFJ was cheaper. Went into the bank and could not find the forms so I asked a guy who is suposed to help people at the bank, trying to get him to understand what I wanted to do was just impossible and I was speaking to him in perfect Japanese( this guy had to be mentally challenged), a clerk finally took pity on me and helped out, as I walked away with the gal, the guy was exclaiming that I spoke great Japanese. Got to the right counter and now they want to know if I had account with them, sheesh just a wire transfer why do I have to have an account with them for that? They just refused to do so cause I could not prove I had an account with them.

    So I trucked on over to Mitsubishi/Tokyo , of course they do wire transfers they said, so did the paperwork , got in line and waited to be called to the counter. Once I got to the counter, the woman wants to see my gaijin card, what the heck do you want to see that? I said-but ok here it is. The amount I wanted transferred was $305.50 which at 117.69 came out to 36,015, but the charged me 5,000 for remittance and 3,000 for Corr (what ever that is).
    By this time I was pissed but what the fack I payed and walked out. My questions are: Why do they make it so freaking difficult ? Why do they needed to see my gaijin card? Why they charge so much? Why was I refused because I could not prove I had an account at one bank?
    Oh also I asked the lady at the counter
    " How long will it take for the money to get there?" She said "two or three days" For a wire transfer? Only in Japan !
    Last edited by SteadyRollingMan; 2006-09-05, 12:39 AM.

  • #2
    I gotta think its that hard to do almost anywhere these days.

    No account means that they don't know who you are...You just walk in with cash (fake or not) and want to send it to another bank. When they process the wire transfer, if that cash ends up fake, they're out of luck and stuck with the bill. If you have an account, at least they have some recourse to cover their a$$ets.

    I think a Japanese person would need to provide ID as well. Don't all Japanese carry a "citizen card" or something like that? Since you're not Japanese, they'd naturally ask for the gaijin card. Don't think you need to read any double-standard into that request.

    In America, a bank won't do anything for you if you don't have an account, and some even require a friggin fingerprint to process a transaction such as this. Plus, if you think that 99.999% of all transactions done in a Japanese bank are not wire transfers, it'll take a little bit of time...they've probably got to dust off the procedures on how to do all that stuff.

    Comment


    • #3
      I`m actually trying to wire money from my bank in the states to Joyo here and I haven`t been told that I`ll need to show some kind of ID (my gaijin card hasn`t been delievered yet) but since it`s from the states to here, maybe they don`t need it? It`s actually getting the American bank to do the transfer that`s proving difficult since they won`t do stuff that requires inputting your SSID and bank account number through e-mail and the 14 hour time difference doesn`t help either...

      Comment


      • #4
        I move money both ways w/o problems.

        If you use CITIBANK NA there online website allows you to almost instantly send international wires, including to accounts in Japan (which I do often). Without ever needing to speak to a human being, they simply automaticlly email u a special authorization code (again instantly as it is automated) and then you enter the authorization code into the wire transfers area on your MY CITI account website and walla, instant transfers, no questions asked.

        On the Japanese side it goes into a private banking account at HSBC and there are no questions asked. If you use a Japanese bank they generally _____ at about 100,000 yen and start to ask you what the money is for, where it comes from, just flip them the bird and tell them to report you to the tax authorities (do pay your taxes however because foreign remittance is in fact and saddly taxable).

        Now a little strategy u can use to avoid needing to use any transfers in the first place and thus be exempt from Japanese tax by avoiding remittance altogether is to open a bunch of US bank accounts get your VISA/MC debit cards from these accounts and simply empty the ATM machine at the post office.

        Of course this makes no sense unless you happen to derive an income from a US source that is significant enough to allow u to max out the cards daily cash limits in the first place. But it may be useful in other situations as well. If you open all these accounts to closely to each other banks WILL deny opening you another bank account sometimes.

        But it does work, I have 12 US debit cards linked to US accounts and I sat behind a Shinsei Bank ATM one day and pulled out 1,000,000 yen from 1 machine on 3 cards (500,000 yen limit on each). Sometimes the machine drops your withdrawal limit for no reason, but I think that the machine is simply trying to not run out of money when it gets low by averaging transactions. So boys and girls, hit those machines at the beginning of the day not the end.

        As for sending money from a Japanese Account to a US account for little things, PAYPAL ain't so bad. I have a US and Japanese Account able to move money in and out of the same PAYPAL account (japan home address user) and setup another on the US side that is also issued a PAYPAL Credit/Debit card.

        So use your imagination, there are lots of ways to move money but it is important to layout the plan before you need it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by stealthlotus
          I move money both ways w/o problems.

          If you use CITIBANK NA there online website allows you to almost instantly send international wires, including to accounts in Japan (which I do often). Without ever needing to speak to a human being, they simply automaticlly email u a special authorization code (again instantly as it is automated) and then you enter the authorization code into the wire transfers area on your MY CITI account website and walla, instant transfers, no questions asked.

          What does citibank charge for xfer fees in this instance?

          Comment


          • #6
            I just got hit with a 8,000 yen charge for a bank transfer. A fee from my home bank, a fee from the in between bank, then another fee from the bank it arrived at. I'm more than a little pissed at this. It seems everyone wants some.

            Comment


            • #7
              Japan has some of the toughest laws. But not the toughest banks compared to China.

              I recall a few months ago trying to change my $500USD to RMB. 45 minutes standing in line, and then it was my turn. The clerk had to punch 10 minutes of computers, fill out 6 forms, sign all 6 and stamp, then get the supervisor to counter sign and stamp and 20 minutes later, i got my money.......

              But I think the easiest way to get money in and out of jp is either paypal or western union. less background requirement because they aren't banks. Banks, cellphone companies and anything that can be used to commit crimes by organized groups like yakuza is under extreme scrutiny.

              Comment


              • #8
                Yes, it's their law to prevent money laundering, where all cash transfers of more than 100,000 JP Yen require ID. These problem is these laws are basically troublesome for regular people moving small sums around, while people like Ozawa and his 400,000,000 Yen forgetfulness, or Hatoyama and his 15,000,000 Yen monthly mum's donation get away with it. And they've no idea how to stop real money laundering...

                Comment


                • #9
                  better rates and no fees

                  You can avoid all these problems if you register with one of the Forex companies that specialise in overseas remittances. They offer much better exchange rates than banks and they will pay any fees that are charged to you for either sending or collecting the funds. Registering with them is just like setting up a bank account. They need identity and proof of address documents. Once on their books you simply tell them how much cash you want to send and to which bank account. You can do this online and their websites show in real time how exchange rates fluctuate from minute to minute. When you are happy with the rate, you lock the figure and authorise the money to be sent. It takes a few days to arrive because they do use banks to actually send the cash. But the deal you make with the the Forex company does not involve you entering any agreement with a bank. When the funds arrive, the local bank will deduct charges for sending, collecting or both. When you get the receipt showing these charges, you can scan it and send it to the Forex company. They will immediately refund any charges made on the transaction. You can do all this without leaving your house.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by impala View Post
                    You can avoid all these problems if you register with one of the Forex companies that specialise in overseas remittances.
                    Any recommendations (or even a list) of forex cos. that have a domestic account in Japan to transfer into in order to then send overseas? The ones I looked at look like they don't deal with residents of Japan (their accounts are overseas so you still need to go to the bank to transfer into the forex co account anyway).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      avoid wire charges and bad exchange rates

                      Originally posted by steeny View Post
                      Any recommendations (or even a list) of forex cos. that have a domestic account in Japan to transfer into in order to then send overseas? The ones I looked at look like they don't deal with residents of Japan (their accounts are overseas so you still need to go to the bank to transfer into the forex co account anyway).
                      The companies I narrowed it down to for sending over lump sums from the U.K. were HiFx and TorFX. In the end I went with HiFx which needed a U.K. passport to comply with British money laundering laws. I was living in England at the time, so obviously providing a local proof of address was no problem. But after I had taken up residence in Japan, I used the company again. I sent them another proof of address and after that was free to do money transfers without more registration.

                      Although I didn't start the process Japan, I can't imagine registering from here would be any different from what I did in Britain. HiFx also has offices in Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Presumably nationals from those places would simply need to register in their home countries. Then they could get cash from or send it home as they liked.

                      Yes, you would have to tell your bank to send the dough overseas. But if the forex company picks up all the fees for this, no problem.

                      It is a good feeling, avoiding the grasping fingers of banks with their outrageous fees for instantaneous electronic transactions and rip-off exchange rates.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SteadyRollingMan View Post
                        Yesterday I got back from Okinawa, had a great time. Upon getting back I found out that I had to pay for something I ordered out of America. So I decided to do so today by wire transfer just to see how difficult it would be.

                        First I went to Mizuho bank and they sure but that it would cost 5,000 yen to do. I thought it was kind of expensive but ok. After completing the paperwork, they wanted me to write down the address of the bank I was wiring the money to. I said hey! I have the swift code and ABA code and the account name and account number but no address, so they said no, we need the address. Strange, I thought but ok, so back home I went and did a goggle for the bank and wrote down what was on the webpage (telephone number too) and back I went.

                        This time I decided to see if UFJ was cheaper. Went into the bank and could not find the forms so I asked a guy who is suposed to help people at the bank, trying to get him to understand what I wanted to do was just impossible and I was speaking to him in perfect Japanese( this guy had to be mentally challenged), a clerk finally took pity on me and helped out, as I walked away with the gal, the guy was exclaiming that I spoke great Japanese. Got to the right counter and now they want to know if I had account with them, sheesh just a wire transfer why do I have to have an account with them for that? They just refused to do so cause I could not prove I had an account with them.

                        So I trucked on over to Mitsubishi/Tokyo , of course they do wire transfers they said, so did the paperwork , got in line and waited to be called to the counter. Once I got to the counter, the woman wants to see my gaijin card, what the heck do you want to see that? I said-but ok here it is. The amount I wanted transferred was $305.50 which at 117.69 came out to 36,015, but the charged me 5,000 for remittance and 3,000 for Corr (what ever that is).
                        By this time I was pissed but what the fack I payed and walked out. My questions are: Why do they make it so freaking difficult ? Why do they needed to see my gaijin card? Why they charge so much? Why was I refused because I could not prove I had an account at one bank?
                        Oh also I asked the lady at the counter
                        " How long will it take for the money to get there?" She said "two or three days" For a wire transfer? Only in Japan !
                        That is when I miss Western Union. I used them a few times when they were near Ginza. They also asked a gaijin card and the procedure took about 20 minutes, almost twice longer then I expected.

                        Japanese banks suck. In Mizuho I opened a US$ bank account and I had American Express Traveler's Cheques. I didn't want any cash. I was in a bank for 1hour 40 minutes. Three ladies were sitting in front of the computer and pushing buttons. It must have been a really hard work if it took so long time. It cost me around 4, 700 yen.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by steeny
                          So you still need to go in person to your bank to transfer to your overseas forex account?
                          And you still need to pay bank transfer fees to send to your overseas forex account?
                          And the receiving bank will still charge for receiving?

                          So the only advantages are maybe no intermediary bank charges and a better exchange rate?

                          Or they paid all bank transfer charges on your behalf? I know the bank levies at the time you send, so Hifx reimbursed you?

                          I still think I am missing something:

                          I have only sent cash from the UK to Japan, not the other way round. Once I was in the UK and the other times in Japan. In England I didn't need to physically be in the bank to transfer funds from NatWest to Hifx. It could have been done online or over the phone. There were no initial sending charges. But when the cash arrived in Japan, the local bank deducted sending and receiving charges. These were picked up by HiFx.

                          When I was in Japan I did the whole thing online. Again there were sending and receiving charges from the local bank which HiFx repaid.

                          As I haven't sent money from Japan abroad, I can't advise you from my experience. But I can't see why a transaction involving Lloyds in Japan to your overseas bank account, via Hifx, would essentially differ from one the same way from NatWest UK to my account in Japan.


                          How do you transfer to your overseas forex account without going to the bank?
                          Shinsei, for example, is great with online convenience, but even they won't let you send overseas online. Which bank in Japan lets you send without going down in person? Do you mean Lloyd's? It's the only one I know of.

                          So you mean: Shinsei to Lloyds (yen) to Hifx (yen) to end account (pounds or whatever)
                          I guess that might work.
                          Hifx would cover the Lloyds charges, and Shinsei as well, and end account at whatever bank?
                          I have only sent cash from the UK to Japan, not the other way round. Once I was in the UK and the other times in Japan. In England I didn't need to physically be in the bank to transfer funds from NatWest to Hifx. It could have been done online or over the phone. There were no initial sending charges. But when the cash arrived in Japan, the local bank deducted sending and receiving charges. These were picked up by HiFx.

                          When I was in Japan I did the whole thing online. Again there were sending and receiving charges from the local bank which HiFx repaid.

                          As I haven't sent money from Japan abroad, I can't advise you from my experience. But I can't see why a transaction involving Lloyds in Japan to your overseas bank account, via Hifx, would essentially differ from one using the same method, from NatWest UK to my account in Japan.
                          Last edited by impala; 2010-07-24, 02:06 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Lloyds are pretty good for sending money overseas, as once you are in the system you can send money overseas very quickly from almost any ATM. Their rates are quite competitive.

                            Mizuho are one of the worst Japanese banks for red tape and endless amounts of documents. Almost all the Japanese banks are like that though, and when I tried once to send money overseas through the post office it took over an hour to do it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by sunsoul View Post
                              Lloyds are pretty good for sending money overseas, as once you are in the system you can send money overseas very quickly from almost any ATM. Their rates are quite competitive..

                              Yes, but they still charge you a fee for sending the cash and bank exchange rates are worse than foreign exchange company ones. I know that using a forex company rather than a bank is a win-win situation, if you are sending money from abroad to Japan because I've done it several times. No fees and better rates.

                              I don't know for a fact whether exactly the same conditions apply, sending cash overseas from Japan, as I have not done it.

                              Anyone who has, care to enlighten us ?
                              Last edited by impala; 2010-07-25, 08:07 AM.

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