Sending Money Home via Japan Post

  1. Preparations
    • Before you head off to a post office to send money home, you will need the following information to fill out the International Remittance form. You will only need this information if you are sending money to a bank account.
      • Bank Account Number
      • Bank Name
      • Bank Branch Name or Branch Code
      • Bank Branch Address
      • Bank Code or Routing Number
  2. Find a JP Post Office that offers International Remittance
    • Search Online
      • One way is to visit the Okinawa map on the JP Post website, click your area and click on the closest post office to you. Under the “貯金・ATM” tab (green tab) scroll down to the “取り扱い内容” (Services Offered) and see if they have a circle next to “国際送金” (kokusai soukin, International Remittance). If they do, check their hours and head there right away.
    • Ask the Bank Teller
      • If you’re already at a JP Post Office, you can ask the bank teller something on the lines of “kokusai soukin dekimasu ka (Can I send an international remittance here?)” If yes, they will probably hand your a form to fill out.
  3. Filling out the Form
    • There are two types of International Remittance
      • 住所あて送金 (jyuusho ate soukin, Remittance to Address) – this one will require a recipient at the address.
      • 口座あて送金 (kouza ate soukin, Remittance to Bank Account)
    • The best part of this process is that the form has English on it!
      • InternationalRemittance
    • Under purpose, write 生活費 which means “living expenses”
  4. Applying for the International Remittance
    • Give the bank teller the application form, the money, and your residence card. They will take a few minutes to confirm the bank account (if you are send to a bank account). Afterwards they will give you the breakdown of the exchange rate and service fee (2,500 yen). After all that is taken care of, they will give you a receipt and in a week or two your money will arrive in your home bank account.

Sending Money Home via GoRemit

The most widely known and used method is GoRemit. It means opening a remittance account GoRemit, which specialize in expat banking services. Sending money with GoRemit costs 2000 yen, not including the transfer fee from your Japanese bank account to your GoRemit account. On the other hand, most banks charge a 2500-3000 yen fee to receive the funds, so the total for using GoRemit could be more. In addition, unlike the post office, if you send before 3pm, the money is meant to be remitted same day. That’s a major plus over other methods.

(credit: survivingnjapan)

Sending Money Home via Western Union

The biggest drawback of using Western Union to receive money (i.e. you can’t in most locations) doesn’t apply when you want to transfer money. Indeed, you can transfer money out of Japan:

a) At one of the 8,700 Family Marts in Japan, whom Western Union has partnered with. (Search for one here, so long as you can read Japanese. Using a browser translation tool or Rikaichan or Rikaikun might help with this.)
b) At 7-11 ATMs, with whom Western Union has also joined forces. (Find an ATM here, in English.)

The more locations you can use Western Union, the more convenient it obviously is.

The details for using Western Union at Family Mart are available here. Keep in mind:
  • You need to register first, and if you want to use 7-11 must do so again separately.
  • You can only transfer money in person, but can add possible recipients to your account online.
  • The fees associated with the service are available here, and depend on the amount you send. (If you transfer less than 10,000 yen, the fee is 990 yen.)
  • The annual limit is 5 million yen (see here for other currency limits.)
The details for using Western Union at Seven Bank are available here. Keep in mind:
  • Again, if you do transfer money with Western Union, you’re not told the foreign exchange rate until after the funds arrive.
  • The annual total for sending money through Seven Bank is 8 million yen (see here for other currency limits.)
  • The fees are the same as Family Mart’s.
However, one major drawback is that with neither service are you told the exchange rate beforehand. This could leave you vulnerable to receive a bad rate. There’s also the fact that, to actually send money, you must go in person.
(credit: survivingnjapan)

Sending Money Home via your Japan Bank Account

it’s possible to transfer money overseas from many banks in Japan, although the specifics and costs of each varies. Some banks may require you to sign up for overseas remittance as a separate service. Also, some may only be able to remit to certain countries.
Fees will depend on the bank, although it will likely be more expensive than some of the other options mentioned above (3500 yen and up seems to be common). Unless you use a bank that provides these services in English, you’ll have to navigate the process in Japanese.

(credit: survivingnjapan)