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The best money transfer method?

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  • The best money transfer method?

    What is the best way to transfer funds from my USA account to my Japan account
    besides Paypal? Paypal Japan needed a Japanese credit card so that didn't work.

  • #2
    You can link a Suruga bank Debit card to Paypal, so that works.

    BUT its probably the ____tiest exchange rate you can find, and anything over $100 would be a massive waste.

    Get a Shinsei powerflex account (multiple currencies), send the money as an international bank transfer (you will get slogged $20 or so by your US bank), BUT when you send it, make sure you specify that the money is to be sent to the recipient bank as USD, not JPY. This is vitally important. It has to be received as USD on the Shinsei side, otherwise you will get a ____ty exchange rate and a mystery 2500yen receiving fee (which Shinsei will deny exists).

    What happens is that the USD amount goes into the USD balance of your shinsei account, as the exact amount you sent. You can then exchange that money to JPY on their online banking site using a proper FOREX trading function. 0.4% off the actual inter-bank rate - one of the best rates in Japan, and when compared to any other money transfer methods (Paypal will be about 4% off, regular USD->JPY transfer will be 2% plus that 2500yen fee), its a no-brainer

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    • #3
      Do you also get a better rate on moving funds out if you buy dollars first and then send the dollars? The reason I'm asking is that I recently sent about 9k usd, the first time since opening the account so i had to go into yokohama. The rate I got was like .4 worse than the rate that Shinsei had quoted to me less than an hour earlier just before I left home. Teller gave me the expect BS about the rate being real time but I don't believe it's that volatile (and the daily term was down not up).

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      • #4
        Originally posted by kabunushi View Post
        Do you also get a better rate on moving funds out if you buy dollars first and then send the dollars? The reason I'm asking is that I recently sent about 9k usd, the first time since opening the account so i had to go into yokohama. The rate I got was like .4 worse than the rate that Shinsei had quoted to me less than an hour earlier just before I left home. Teller gave me the expect BS about the rate being real time but I don't believe it's that volatile (and the daily term was down not up).
        The rate is definitely volatile - it has to be with such fine margins. However the rate given during a FOREX transaction within your Powerflex account may not be the same as the rate given for an international transfer.

        TBH I am not sure if you can send money direct from your USD account with Shinsei - i suspect not, but you can ask them.

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        • #5
          Thank you for the reply. One other question.
          Mizuho Bank calls the account owner every time
          an international wire transfer is done. What
          happens when the account owner is overseas
          at the time? Does the transfer get cancelled?

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          • #6
            They probably send you something in the post asking you to call the bank.

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            • #7
              Ditto, thx for the reply. I'll have to check with Shinsei. It was a while back but I kinda remember that if I bought dollars now to send later I'd pay for an extra round trip because I could not directly wire out the dollars. That does ring a bell.

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              • #8
                I'm not experienced at wiring money into Japan, but for outbound dollars (e.g., to U.S.), I've been happy with Shinsei. Once upon a time I used MUFJ a couple times, so long ago I'm not sure how their fx rates compare. Two things going for Shinsei:

                When you first make a transfer in person, you can tick a box that you want to register the destination account with them. Then the next time you want to make a transfer to that account, you can do it on the phone, without having to visit a branch. While it's usually about a 10+ minute call (they reconfirm the acct details, and also have to ask if the funds are intended for, or will be used to support certain blacklisted countries or nasty actions), but it's still easier than a physical visit. ((I'm not sure if you can register more than one such acct, either.))

                Second, if you have enough money with them (in something other than just yen savings, which in my case these days is a large enough balance in dollars), you get free wire transfers (one per month?). The usual 4000 yen fee is waived.

                *****

                For dollars incoming to Japan, shinsei has sub-accounts for non-yen currencies (probably other banks, too). You might want to have a few dollars in such a sub-account so you could specify it on the paperwork for your inbound transfer.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by tokyo_dom View Post
                  a mystery 2500yen receiving fee (which Shinsei will deny exists).
                  When I made my first "pocket money" transfer, I didn't stop nagging until they told me where it's from. They blamed it on an intermediate bank that handled the transaction (IIRC Sumitomo Mitsui) and it was out of their powers to do anything about it. I always used a local broker from my home country instead of Shinsei though. Got me more Yen for my eurotrash. :S

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sleepycat View Post
                    When I made my first "pocket money" transfer, I didn't stop nagging until they told me where it's from. They blamed it on an intermediate bank that handled the transaction (IIRC Sumitomo Mitsui) and it was out of their powers to do anything about it. I always used a local broker from my home country instead of Shinsei though. Got me more Yen for my eurotrash. :S
                    It does indeed sound like an intermediary bank fee. It seems the receiving bank may have the break down of the fees on the SWIFT message that they receive, in which case they should be able to tell you about it. But it seems in some cases (?) intermediary banks can refrain from including the details of the fee on the SWIFT message as well.

                    I had it happen to me twice recently, in one case I was the recipeint and the bank was able to tell me what the fees were. In the second case I was making a transfer to someone else, and they denied they deducted fees (and told me to ask the sending bank about it). In hindsight I should have pestered the receiving side more about it, but once the fees are taken I figure it's a waste of time.

                    The only sure way to avoid these appears to be minimizing transfer frequency.

                    I'm interested in seeing how use of bitcoins goes in this area. As a store of value I don't want bitcoins, but there may be potential there for making international transfers cheaper than via the banks. Only for the transfer part though, not the currency exchange. If it becomes possible to use bitcoins or something similar to complete an international transfer (say USD in Japan to USD overseas) in under a minute then I'll probably be sold.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by johnnyG View Post
                      Two things going for Shinsei:

                      When you first make a transfer in person, you can tick a box that you want to register the destination account with them. Then the next time you want to make a transfer to that account, you can do it on the phone, without having to visit a branch. While it's usually about a 10+ minute call (they reconfirm the acct details, and also have to ask if the funds are intended for, or will be used to support certain blacklisted countries or nasty actions), but it's still easier than a physical visit. ((I'm not sure if you can register more than one such acct, either.))

                      Second, if you have enough money with them (in something other than just yen savings, which in my case these days is a large enough balance in dollars), you get free wire transfers (one per month?). The usual 4000 yen fee is waived.
                      Citibank is similar, but in fact you can set up the payee account information via "e-Form" on their Online banking. No need to visit the bank for this at all, as far as I recall. Overseas transfers are free there too if you have enough money.

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                      • #12
                        Another note: When I transfer Shinsei dollars to my brokerage acct in the US (via their acct at Citi in NYC), there are no intermediary charges/fees. What I ask Shinsei to send, is exactly what shows up on the other end.

                        So I'd guess that it's your receiving bank's inbound transfer policy (their own fees), along with its relationship with the int'l transfer system that determines how much they'll deduct in supposed 'mystery' fees. Maybe it's one fee, that they'll share with an intermediary, or maybe you'll get nicked twice. (but no such details will be given, it'll just be $25-40 or so less than you 'sent')
                        Last edited by johnnyG; 2013-05-04, 05:17 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by johnnyG View Post
                          Second, if you have enough money with them (in something other than just yen savings, which in my case these days is a large enough balance in dollars), you get free wire transfers (one per month?). The usual 4000 yen fee is waived.
                          Looking on their website it would be the Platinum Stage, which you get if you have 20mil in your account, or 3mil in "Bank designated investment product", i.e. foreign currency balance (or a homeloan).

                          Thats a fair chunk of money tied up with little to no interest, just to save 4000yen!

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                          • #14
                            I was considering making another thread for this question, but I'll try asking here first.

                            I have a Shinsei account with about 20,000 USD in it. I would like to send the lion's share of it to my father's account in America. Should I expect any difficulty? I don't mind if they ask what it's for or if they need time to confirm with my father's bank, but would it be wise to break it down into two transfers to stay below 10,000 and avoid standing out to the government?

                            Thanks.
                            Last edited by SamIAm; 2013-06-27, 04:43 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SamIAm View Post
                              I was considering making another thread for this question, but I'll try asking here first.

                              I have a Shinsei account with about 20,000 USD in it. I would like to send the lion's share of it to my father's account in America. Should I expect any difficulty? I don't mind if they ask what it's for or if they need time to confirm with my father's bank, but would it be wise to break it down into two transfers to stay below 10,000 and avoid standing out to the government?

                              Thanks.
                              Breaking up transfers to avoid reporting requirements (AKA structuring) is a violation of bank secrecy laws, so youfll have turned an innocent transaction into a crime for no reason. Ifd say the only trouble you might have is if the IRS thinks this is your fatherfs income during an audit.

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