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How to Open a Bank Account as an Alien?

I never liked the term “alien”, which is used extensively to describe gaijins and foreigners in Japan. Like come on, different skin color or culture doesn’t mean we’re aliens. Genetically our make-up’s the same. Anyway, i am not about to go bitching about a word used to described foreigners in Japan. The purpose of this post is about how to open a bank account as a foreigner in Japan.

You will need your “Alien Registration Card” first and foremost. Then you will need your inkan or signature. That’s pretty much it. Banks are open from 9am to 3pm so please plan your time properly. It is wise to open your own bank account because in Japan, most foreign checks are not accepted. And your ATM card from your country’s bank, even with the PLUS sign may not work although more and more ATM machine in Japans are becoming more accepting towards international ATM cards.

Here is a bank related video. That girl is faster than a machine, yo:

Posted by The Expedited Writer in Bank, Misc, Money | No Comments »


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About Banks in Japan

Signs for Japanese Banks

If you are a foreigne staying for a significant timeframe in Japan, you might want to open a bank account there to store your money and precious goods like, your diamond bracelet or something :P Here’s a little info about Japanese banks in case you are not familiar with the ins and outs of it yet. All banks in Japan usually operates between 9am to 3pm, monday to friday. Remember they close at 3pm, not 4.30pm like all other banks around the world.

And since you’re a foreigner, you will definitely need to present your Alien Registration Card, so that the bank knows that you’re an alien….pfft, i personally think that term “Alien Registration Card” is so weird and kinda foul. Anyway, you will need to have this card if you’re staying in Japan for more than 90 days so bring that and your inkan (personal stamp) if you have one cos you’re going to need your signature as well.

All Japanese banks offers ATM and cash dispenser machines, just like the banks at home. However, some banks, especially the non-major ones, may not provide english subs in their ATM machines. If that’s the case, bring a Japanese friend and have them tell you which button is what. Memorize the characters or LEARN it and you’ll be fine the next time around. At the ATM, you can pay utilities’ bill, withdraw, deposit, transfer money AND pay other bills, while the cash dispensers usually only allow you to withdraw money in most cases. Now this would be very important information, if you’re planning to go on a trip and you need some cash for the weekend, better do it duringthe weekdays as most ATMS and Cash Dispensers are unavailable on the weekends and at night. Don’t take the chances and wait for too long although more and more 24hour ATMS are opening up. The ATM machines found in, say, 7-eleven is usually available all 24 hours unless the 7-eleven closes.

Now I know that you might think if your credit card has the Visa symbol you’re going to be fine taking money out in any ATM, it’s not really true as most Japanese ATM do no accept foreign credit cards. Only the ATMS found in posts offices, some major department stores and airports accept foreign credit cards and debit cards. So beware, either take the money u need out from these places first or have some Japanese currency at hand.

Here is a list of some of the major banks in Japan:

Mizuho Bank
The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
UFJ Bank

Adapted from Japan Guide.

Posted by The Expedited Writer in Bank, Misc | 1 Comment »


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