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Money from Japan to U.S.: best/cheapest way?

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  • Money from Japan to U.S.: best/cheapest way?

    I need to bring a sizeable sum of money from Japan to the States. I know it's possible to bring up to $10,000 in cash in person (what happens to anything in excess of that amount... is it subject to duty tax?), but then there's the exchange rate of yen to dollars. What other options exist for such large amounts, or anything in excess of the that $10,000? Seems like wiring from a Japanese bank to an American bank is costly. But is that the best option? What about travelers checks? Where can I get them in Japan at the lowest cost, and then can they be deposited free in the States? With this amount of money, what option offers the best exchange rate?


  • #2
    sorry, dude. apparently none of us have experience with large sums of money.

    on the other hand, try tokyo mitsubishi bank. they'll cut bank checks (teller's checks in the US) at T/C rates. easier to hide a few of those in the suitcase than a wad of cash.


    • #3

      i have had this idea about using paypal. they only take one percent for their servieces. you could make two accounts, one connected to a japanese account and one to an american account and transfer it or "buy" a@car from your parents or something andf send the money will be sent for payment. i don`t know if it will work , but it`s just an idea.


      • #4

        The cheapest way I've found is using the XEtrade currency exchange site at You have to go through an application process, register your US bank account for EFT deposits, execute an exchange order, then wire the funds in JPY to the bank they specify. After they confim your deposit, they EFT the USD funds to your account.

        Their bank is Bank of America's Tokyo branch... so you can wire the funds domestically BUT you have to do it at a teller window, not online or at an ATM. Also, XEtrade only gives you international wire information, so you need a little extra information to do a domestic transfer. I'd be happy to post details if anyone's interested.

        The benefit of jumping through these hoops? The only fee is 840 yen for the domestic transfer (EFT in the US is free), and best of all the exchange rate is only half a yen -- half the 1.0 yen Japanese banks charge, which can make a big difference with large transfers.


        • #5
          FX trade

          The banks use FX trading with their profits/ current accounts.....

          You can do the same, if you need a consultation I can have a chat with you which will possibly give you a new insight into money transfers......and yes this is my job.....


          • #6
            Yarna Oji

            Its ok to say the fee is so low.....however this is the daily fee that the banks show...

            In Forex we show the Exact price thus saving around 200-300 points/pips on the market price.


            • #7
              FX trading

              Originally posted by THEDON
              The banks use FX trading with their profits/ current accounts.....

              You can do the same, if you need a consultation I can have a chat with you which will possibly give you a new insight into money transfers......and yes this is my job.....
              Sounds interesting... but if it's your job, a consultation sounds expensive! Willing to part with your wisdom over these forums?

              You mention exact price, market price, and daily rates, but I'm not sure the difference in the terms.

              Also... my goal is the same as dimsumfan's -- transferring money to the US at the lowest possible cost. I'm not an FX trader, and don't intend to make money by trading FX, which is what most FX trading sites seem to promote. Do you think FX trading could help us with money transfers?


              • #8

                Its quite simple to transfer money using Forex.

                Consultations are of course FREE ! Let me get back to you about this tomorrow as im extremely busy today....sorry guys.

                Send me a private email and i may be able to get back to you this evening...

                With exact details of amount / country and time deadline to send...


                • #9
                  Thanks for the discussion. THEDON, hope you'll post your consultative tips here in the forum. As my original posting indicates, I need to move money from Japan to the U.S. - no deadline, just want to do it while I'm in Japan toward the end of December.


                  • #10
                    Glad to be of assistance

                    Dear dimsumfan.

                    The procedure for transferring large amounts of cash back to the US is extremely complex. As you will see from my correspondence with one of your esteemed fellow Americans, myself and my partner are currently in the process of handling bullion transactions for one of your esteemed fellow international travellers. We would be very happy to carry out the same service for your esteemed self. Simply convert forward your Yen and account details to ourselves and present the receipt on arrival in the USA to receive the equivalent value at current exchange rates of Dollars US, Bullion Gold, or Marching Powder Columbian according to your personal choice.

                    We are glad to be of assistance and look forward to a long and profitable relationship.

                    Sincerely Yours,

                    The First International Bank of Nigeria.

                    Originally posted by stillnosheep
                    As ever seems to be the case the bureaucratic procedure for buying and selling gold bullion in Japan is both unique and almost unfathomable to non Japanese.

                    Basically you must first convert any bullion that you hold abroad into cash (Dollars US are fine). You then forward the receipt for the bullion along with proof of the (eg Dollar/Yen) exchange rate current at the time of transaction to an 'authorised bullion converter', to whom, upon receipt of acknowledgement of receipt of paperwork and of the account details of the 'authorised bullion converter' you then transfer all monies received for said bullion.

                    Upon arrival in Japan your bullion will then be waiting at the airport in a brown paper bag.

                    It just so happens that I am the 'authorised bullion converter' for your area and upon receipt of your details myself and my partner (the widow of the late Finance MInister of Moldavia) will complete the necessary formalities with all due haste.


                    • #11
                      Nigeria/Pink Floyd !

                      LOL quality

                      My company can do this however im doing some research for everyone into other companies which would be able to do it also....i will have all the info on Monday .....apologies for the delay!


                      • #12
                        Dear irrelevant and humorless post inserter

                        Could you please desist from trolling this thread. Myself and my associates, the widow of the late Finance Minister of Moldavia, The Head of Overseas Accounts at The First International Bank of Nigeria and Lassie the Wonderdog are attempting to put together a major transcontinental currency-bullion swop here. And the Don might just have some useful advice for the Original Poster. One post at a time is acceptable. Five in a row is as sign of being unable to handle one's alcohol.

                        A little more humility is required.

                        Thank you.


                        • #13
                          Why not just use a bank? They are cheap, reliable and safe. Any bank without the word "Nigeria" in the name should be fine.


                          • #14
                            Well said Plats. The Moldavia Interplanetary have a very high reputation. Very high indeed on most nights (not the Japanese subsidiary of course).


                            • #15

                              Anyone tried my suggestion of I've been looking at other threads, which mention Lloyd's TSB, the post office, currency trading, and online money transfers, but still seems like the cheapest option, particularly for the US and Canada

                              FX: TheDon's posts in another thread mention an initial outlay of at least 13,000 yen for FX trading. I don't know if this is one-time, or per-trade, but regardless, unless you're trading big, big money, this seems too pricey. 0.2-0.3% exchange margin. To just break even on the savings you get with the difference in margin, you'd need to transfer about 3,000,000 yen, and that's assuming getting money in and out of the FX account is cheap.

                              Post office: 500 yen per 100,000 transferred, plus 500 yen for registered mail. When I was first in Japan, I tried sending it regular mail... and it never arrived! Although I got the money back, it took months, so I recommend registered mail. This means at least a 1000 yen charge, more with higher amounts. 1% exchange margin.

                              Banks: 2,000-5000 yen charge for wire transfers. 1% exchange margin.

                              Lloyd's TSB: 2,000 yen, plus 210-420 yen domestic transfer, possible additional wire charges (one poster said it had a bad exchange margin, but I don't know details).

                              Online money transfers (Paypal, Ikobo, Moneybookers): You cannot transfer money to yourself! Transfers have a high margin.

                              XE.COM: To XE, 630-840 yen domestic transfer. From XE, no fee for EFT to US or Canada. No fee for bank draft sent via postal mail. Fees for wire transfers are supposed to be quite low, but I've never tried it. When I first used it, margin was 0.5%, but now it's 0.75%.

                              I was disappointed in the change in margin, but it still seems like the cheapest way out there, unelss you're transferring huge sums, in which case you'll want to contact TheDon. Even the post office's fees are higher. Anyone have any comments?