How to send money from my Japanese bank account when overseas?
October 17, 2013 12:17 PM   Subscribe

I was living in Japan for a while, and have some cash stuck in my Japanese post office bank account (Yuucho Ginkou) - not an exorbitant amount, but enough for me to care about - that I did not withdraw when traveling home to America since I was planning to return to Japan soon anyway. My plan to return fell through, and I will be staying in America longer than planned - I would like to reclaim said money, but am unsure as to how I can do so.

I have both the bank card and checking book with me. I've considered mailing the card or book to someone in Japan that I trust - they could then take the money out and send it to me, but I am unsure as to the legality of this.

Any other good ideas? Is there a way to get it sent online? It is a cash card with an IC chip installed, and I don't think any ATM's over here would read this.

Thanks in advance!
posted by Kamelot123 to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is there a reason you can't write yourself a check from the Japanese account and deposit it in your US bank account?
posted by Grither at 12:25 PM on October 17, 2013

Is there a reason you can't write yourself a check from the Japanese account and deposit it in your US bank account?

Japan does not use personal cheques.

Quite honestly, in your scenario, sending the ATM card to someone you trust in Japan is about the easiest thing to do (I've done this a bunch). Otherwise, you're looking at a bunch of complicated paperwork... that has to be requested and set up *in Japan.*

I don't know if it is illegal, but in Japan if you have a "hanko" chop stamp, that's often the only ID you need to make a withdrawal, and I suspect an ATM and PIN works the same way (ie, risk is low). One thing to consider is that it's often illegal to bring in, undeclared, cash amounts greater than $10,000 into the US and Canada.

For future readers of this post, Citibank has an arrangement with Japan Postal Bank that allows you to link your Japan Postal Bank account with a Citibank account that can be accessed in both Japan and North America. We have this system set up (there is a minimum balance, though, of $1000).

For people *in Japan* who need to access a North American bank via an ATM *in Japan*, Japan Postal Bank ATM's *often, but not always* accept Interac debit cards.

I must say that one of the happiest times of my life was during a recent visit to Japan, when I found a convenience store waaay out in the country that accepted by chip-enable Visa credit card. I was able to buy a case of beer.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:32 PM on October 17, 2013 [3 favorites]

Do you have online access to your Japanese bank account? (I've never had a Japanese account, so sorry if this is totally unapplicable!) If so, you could use an online foreign exchange service, such as USForEx. I've used the Canadian branch of this company and had a good experience. I set up a CanForEx account (I had to provide ID and prove my phone number and address), used my online account access to wire the money to the service from my Australian bank account, and received a deposit into my Canadian bank account. The exchange rate I got was much better than directly wiring myself the money.

Also, for that matter: can you wire yourself the money? You would get a bad exchange rate and might pay a higher fee. I've been able to wire myself money from one country to another (Canada to Australia) by phone or online.
posted by snorkmaiden at 1:51 PM on October 17, 2013

Just mailing the card and passbook to a friend is probably the only practical way to go. Not sure if it is legal, but it isn't uncommon for people other than the account holder to use an ATM in that way.
posted by Gotanda at 4:15 PM on October 17, 2013

I recently transferred some money from my American account to a German travel agency using XE Trade and got a decent exchange rate and didn't have to pay any transfer fees.
posted by naturalog at 6:23 PM on October 17, 2013

Im not sure about sending money to yourself, but i sent money from the US to Japan via Paypal, and i didnt notice any exchange rate. It was a seamless exchange from USD to JPY. It seams if you linked your Japanese account to your paypal you might be able to have full access to it...maybe...
posted by Sprocket at 4:54 PM on October 18, 2013

« Older What does a jack of all trades, master of none...   |   Help me get the best deal when I (maybe?) buy-out... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.