PDA

View Full Version : Bills and other financial obligations while in Japan....



Yunishkai
April 9th, 2014, 02:44
Hello all! I am excited yet extremely petrified by being accepted as a ALT for 2014. I have a bit of questions in regards to my financial obligations while in Japan. I am not too sure about many, but I will still have pending credit cards and other monthly bills (in America) that I will have to pay for while in Japan for the next one-to-two years. If there is any sort of advice as to how I will be able to wire the money to the corresponding recipient, please help me out.


Thank you in advance.

Shincantsen
April 9th, 2014, 06:09
I think that most JETs use GoRemit (formerly GoLloyds) to send money back home. They will likely cover it at Tokyo and/or Prefectural Orientation, but if not, their website has pretty decent instructions on how to send money your first time. After the first time it is easy to do.

Edit: This would be to wire money to your own US bank account. It would be more difficult to wire it directly to whoever you're paying. It'd probably be best to set up direct withdrawals from your account while you're in the US to pay the bills.

coop52
April 9th, 2014, 07:10
You can also send home money through the post office bank, but I think GoRemit end ups being cheaper.

webstaa
April 9th, 2014, 08:25
Hello all! I am excited yet extremely petrified by being accepted as a ALT for 2014. I have a bit of questions in regards to my financial obligations while in Japan. I am not too sure about many, but I will still have pending credit cards and other monthly bills (in America) that I will have to pay for while in Japan for the next one-to-two years. If there is any sort of advice as to how I will be able to wire the money to the corresponding recipient, please help me out.


Thank you in advance.


If you pay electronically from your bank account you will be fine. If you don't, its time to join the 21st Century. Use GoRemit or the JPost wire transfer (GoRemit is better 90% of the time) to send money back to your bank account in the states. Furi komi is super easy, GoRemit even has a blurb in Japanese to explain to a bank teller what you need to do if you need help with the ATM. JPost can set up the same thing for you too with the post office ATMs.

The biggest thing is that it will take at least a month before you can send money back (you don't get paid until the end of August/applying to GoRemit takes a week or two.) Also, there is a limit on how much you can wire transfer per week/month. Make sure you have your first couple months payments lined up or ask for forbearance for a couple of months (August-October or so.)

johnny
April 9th, 2014, 08:37
I finally signed up for Go Remit, and their remittance limit is pretty high for JET's. You can send up to 300,000 yen per month, which is more than our salaries.

Page
April 9th, 2014, 09:39
GoRemit is easily the most convenient (costs 2000 a transfer but so does the post office), just make sure you take your information with you when you leave (Acct #, Routing #, etc.) so you can set up the account.

therealwindycity
April 9th, 2014, 09:42
If you can pay by credit/debit card there's also an option of opening a Japanese card and just using that to make payments directly, but you'll have to calculate whether the overseas transaction costs will be any cheaper than remitting money home. Remittances are great when you want to send a lot of money at once, but they're really pricey if you want to send money home every month.

Page
April 9th, 2014, 09:56
Yeah, you should definitely check with your home bank about their fees, BoA (US) charges $12 in wiring fees but I send enough money home to make it worth it. Some people who don't have a lot to send will send a chunk every 3 months to keep from building up in charges. Even if you get a JP card you may be faced with "conversion costs". It's also worth noting that for some things (student loans, most (all?) credit cards in the US) you can't make payments with a credit card, you have to pay with actual money from a bank account.

Yunishkai
April 11th, 2014, 03:33
Thank you very much everyone for your input. I will be contacting my banks (BoA and Navy Federal) within the next month or two and figure out my options accordingly.

Many thanks. :)

word
April 11th, 2014, 08:37
Navy Federal should be pretty good; I dunno about BoA, tho. Check out USAA; they don't charge fees of any kind for incoming overseas transfers, are super-flexible with their overseas customers, and are generally a pretty kickass company all around.

coop52
April 11th, 2014, 10:57
Seconding the USAA recommendation. Their foreign ATM fees are also fairly cheap (they might even be free; I wasn't paying much attention last time I used my card). You have to do foreign transfers over the phone, but it was relatively painless (at least the transfer from USAA to Japan was).

epikzwei
April 12th, 2014, 05:55
Hi Page, was that $12 when you first did it? Just went to my branch and they told me it'd be $18. So with the GoRemit fees, that would be about $40 per transfer, right?

greyjoy
April 12th, 2014, 15:45
Isn't USAA still closed to non-military and their families?

word
April 12th, 2014, 19:03
Nah, their banking services are open to the public! Their insurance is still restricted to military + family members, unfortunately.

Wasabi
April 12th, 2014, 21:45
Does anyone have a certain credit card they'd recommend I check out? What's most commonly accepted there - visa, mastercard, etc? I understand Japan is still heavily cash based, but for online purchases or emergencies I'd like to have something.

coop52
April 12th, 2014, 21:56
Visa and Mastercard should be ok to use anywhere that already accepts cards since they also issue cards in Japan. I've never had issues with shopping online with either of them. I'm not sure about American Express or Discover or any other kind though.

letoastingman
April 13th, 2014, 09:30
citibank has accounts internationally. i wonder if i can just deposit in japan as well. brb research

coop52
April 13th, 2014, 10:08
Citibank, as far as I know, only has branches in Tokyo. You're highly likely to be placed far from those branches.

webstaa
April 14th, 2014, 08:39
Citibank, as far as I know, only has branches in Tokyo. You're highly likely to be placed far from those branches.

Citi also has ATMs in Nagoya (at least in the airport in 2011), so there might be a branch there. https://www.citibank.co.jp/en/banking/branch_atm/pdf/atm.pdf The full list of ATM and bank branches. Looks like outside Tokyo and Osaka/Kyoto you're pretty much SOL.

EDIT #2: You can apparently make Citi deposits through JPost and 7/11 ATMs for 100 to 200 yen in fees.

Lianwen
April 14th, 2014, 08:54
citibank has accounts internationally. i wonder if i can just deposit in japan as well. brb research

As a longtime credit card and banking citibank customer (for the past 8 years), this was the first thing I called and asked about. I know Webstaa provided a link, but Citibank views those ATMs as out of network and doesn't acknowledge them as NA Citibank ATMs, so unfortunately besides view your balance and pull money, that's all you can do with the ATMs in Tokyo. With the new fees, it's anywhere between 2.50$-4$ to pull money from a Citibank Japan ATM, even if you have free withdrawals from any Citibank ATM.



EDIT #2: You can apparently make Citi deposits through JPost and 7/11 ATMs for 100 to 200 yen in fees.

I had heard this too, from gaijinpot, but when I called the international line the other day, the woman had no idea what I was talking about. Do you happen to have a source?

Another thing about Citibank, and I'm sure this applies to other credit card and banks, but make sure you tell them you're going abroad. With Citibank, you have to notify them every 90days (or at least that's what I'm told). And, if you get a fraud notification (because you purchased something online but it raises a flag), my experience with Citibank is you should call right away...I didn't because I just ended up paying for my order via COD and Citibank closed my credit card account because they hadn't heard from me until I went to try and pay my monthly statement.

I have the biggest lovehate relationship with CITI.

Page
April 14th, 2014, 10:24
Hi Page, was that $12 when you first did it? Just went to my branch and they told me it'd be $18. So with the GoRemit fees, that would be about $40 per transfer, right?

Sorry, I always confuse the monthly maintenance fee and wire fee. I pay $15 per transfer according to my online transactions!

I called once before I came but tbh I haven't used my card (in Japan) since my 1st year so I don't know if there's a window or anything (I just told them for a year when I initially called). The only times I've used my card have been when I'm home or on US websites.

greyjoy
April 14th, 2014, 14:19
It seems like everyone sends money to their US bank account with at least some regularity. Is there any particular reason to do this if I have no bills or debt to pay off? I'm planning on selling my car, so the only real issue would be my credit cards, which I pay off month to month, so that won't linger for long. I guess if I continue to use my credit card, I would have to transfer money to my US account, and pay from there, would that be right? But if I just paid for everything in cash, then I could just keep all my funds in my Japanese account until the end of my contract, or until the Yen jumps to parity with USD, whichever happens first.

webstaa
April 14th, 2014, 14:22
I had heard this too, from gaijinpot, but when I called the international line the other day, the woman had no idea what I was talking about. Do you happen to have a source?

Its the last box in the .pdf I linked earlier. I don't have any actual experience with Citi, other than using one of their ATMs at Chubu in 2011.


Is there any particular reason to do this if I have no bills or debt to pay off?

At least for the US, there are extra loops to jump through if you are wiring more than 300,000 yen/month. Also, going in or out of the US with $10,000 or more means paperwork and dealing with customs.

epikzwei
April 15th, 2014, 13:23
Sorry, I always confuse the monthly maintenance fee and wire fee. I pay $15 per transfer according to my online transactions!

I called once before I came but tbh I haven't used my card (in Japan) since my 1st year so I don't know if there's a window or anything (I just told them for a year when I initially called). The only times I've used my card have been when I'm home or on US websites.
Thanks!


It seems like everyone sends money to their US bank account with at least some regularity. Is there any particular reason to do this if I have no bills or debt to pay off? I'm planning on selling my car, so the only real issue would be my credit cards, which I pay off month to month, so that won't linger for long. I guess if I continue to use my credit card, I would have to transfer money to my US account, and pay from there, would that be right? But if I just paid for everything in cash, then I could just keep all my funds in my Japanese account until the end of my contract, or until the Yen jumps to parity with USD, whichever happens first.
Yeah, I actually don't expect to need to send money home at all...I might end up wiring everything at the end (or in chunks up to the limit, if necessary).

Gizmotech
April 15th, 2014, 15:38
Thanks!


Yeah, I actually don't expect to need to send money home at all...I might end up wiring everything at the end (or in chunks up to the limit, if necessary).

Keep in mind Japan has some strange rules for bringing money into and out of the country. It is far easier to remit progressively than it is to do it in chunks. For instance, GoRemit allows a monthly total of 300,000 (3k usd approx), and to go over requires a lot of calling, paper signing, and random stupidity. Also your home country will have wire transfer rules as well which can cause problems.

Wasabi
April 15th, 2014, 19:40
If I recall correctly, 3k (or 5k?) is the 'red flag' limit at US institutions. When you do any transaction at or over that amount, it's subject to increased scrutiny. They check your name & anyone involved against the OFAC list (basically a list of terrorists and other bad guys). Little known fact, this is all thanks to the Patriot act which stipulates that we can't fund/support terrorism activities. It's all on the bank's end in the US though, I don't believe you should have to do too much on that side of things.

greyjoy
April 15th, 2014, 20:32
There's a basic flag for most monetary transactions, outside of regular purchases, at $3,000, and another one at $10,000. Even regular domestic transfers will hit some level of scrutiny at these marks. I don't know that it's all the result of the Patriot Act, as money laundering was certainly a problem before that. There are other issues with moving that much money around that causes the government no end of grief as well, though certainly they've been awfully focused on terrorism since 2001. But aside from some possible delays and extra paperwork, there shouldn't be any real drawback to transferring in one lump sum. So long as no JETs have been supplementing their income with drug money.

Page
April 16th, 2014, 11:10
It'll depend on he service you go through, basically. I've never sent transfers with the post office, but if you go with GoRemit you'll have to submit special paperwork to be able to transfer more than 300000 in a month (even if they're separate transactions).