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Can/Should I Open a Bank Account?

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  • Can/Should I Open a Bank Account?

    I will be going to Japan for half a year to study next year. Is it advisable to open a bank account in Japan rather than use my credit card from my home country?
    Will I need to fill out and apply for a Gaijin Card, and is it worth the hassle?

  • #2
    Originally posted by anotherlevel View Post
    I will be going to Japan for half a year to study next year. Is it advisable to open a bank account in Japan rather than use my credit card from my home country?
    Will I need to fill out and apply for a Gaijin Card, and is it worth the hassle?
    The Gaijin card is now called 'residence card' and you'll get it automatically when you arrive at Narita.
    The bank account is required if you receive money, such as a domestic salary or scholarship, so I'd say you'd probably don't need it. But Credit Cards are not always accepted, so you'd need cash anyway. Maybe your bank's cash card could also be used for withdrawals in Japan ?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ttokyo View Post
      The Gaijin card is now called 'residence card' and you'll get it automatically when you arrive at Narita.
      The bank account is required if you receive money, such as a domestic salary or scholarship, so I'd say you'd probably don't need it. But Credit Cards are not always accepted, so you'd need cash anyway. Maybe your bank's cash card could also be used for withdrawals in Japan ?
      Yeah, I was told I can use my credit card for regular payments, and my debit for ATMs.
      There's just small fee for using both. Maybe I will look into opening a bank account while I'm there just to save on the fees from back home.
      Thanks for your reply!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by anotherlevel View Post
        Yeah, I was told I can use my credit card for regular payments, and my debit for ATMs.
        There's just small fee for using both. Maybe I will look into opening a bank account while I'm there just to save on the fees from back home.
        Thanks for your reply!
        I'd agree that even just to save on the fees, it's worth getting a bank account. If you've read much of this site, you'll probably notice that many people (including myself) recommend Shinsei as a foreigner-friendly bank (good English service, no need for a seal to open an account). All withdrawals from 7-11s are free, unlike the case of most banks here.

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        • #5
          Opening a bank account is definitely worth it. If you lose your card you'll have to wait until they send you a new card - which can take a while.

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          • #6
            You can also use Western Union to receive funds as well, doesn't require a bank account.

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