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Thread: International Banking/Bringing $

  1. #1

    Default International Banking/Bringing $

    So I'm with Chase right now, but I'm wondering if there's a better option... people on the JET FB page are saying USAA and I think people on here have said positive things about it, too.

    I'll have around 3500-4000$ to go with me to Japan, but I'd honestly feel pretty weird about bringing SO much in cash. If I happen to lose it, wow I'd be pretty screwed. So I'm trying to figure out the best way to go with banking so that I can maybe go with around 2000-2500 and have easy access if I need more in cash.

  2. #2

    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Other people will have more in-depth answers, but I can tell you that if you keep the money in whatever US checking account you currently have, you will be able to pull out more using your debit card at any Japanese post office. There's usually about a $10 surcharge.
    Quote Originally Posted by Libellule View Post
    I really hope Japan doesn't turn me into this.

  3. #3
    Official JET Staff miamicoordinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    You should bring enough money to take care of your immediate needs for the first week or two while in Japan. How much you need to bring really depends on your sitations. Will you be purchasing a new phone in Japan? Doing any traveling before the summer break ends? Need a special piece of furniture? Maybe you are moving into a new apartment and need to pay key money. There are so many different situations that would have an impact of how much money should should bring. Now, everyone should have $2500-$3000 available for the first month of expenses until you get paid with your first check. Sometime people only need to spend a few hundred dollars before being able to open their Japanese post office/bank account. Some people considerably spend more.

    You will not be able to have your BoE deposit money into your American bank account. You are going to need to remit money from your Japanese account to your American account if you need to have money in your U.S. account for loans/payments.

    If you are truly scared about taking a large sum of cash, I would suggest taking at least $1000 cash, and leave the rest in your U.S. account. Then, once you open your Japanese post account, you can use your debit card and take out the money, and deposit however much you need into your Japanese account until your next pay day.
    Anything I say here is my personal opinion. Always consult with your coordinator if you have any doubts, especially if you are applying from a country that is not the United States.

  4. #4

    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    I have Charles Schwab for banking. No international exchange fees and no international atm withdrawal fees. The international money transfer charges were lower as well. It's a brokerage company, but I only use the free checking account. I used them while traveling across Europe and while I lived in Czech Republic until I got my Czech account set up and enough money from teaching.

    For credit cards, I have Discover and Capital One. Both without any yearly fees and they charge no international exchange fees.

  5. #5
    read half. react. BifCarbet's Avatar
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    I've never had a debit card declined in Japan, and I've used accounts with Wells Fargo and Citi. Sure, you'll want to have some cash with you when you arrive, but you can easily get access to your home accounts.

    There are ATMs at Narita Airport and in every 7-11 convenience store. I've flown to Japan with no Japanese cash before, and not had an issue. Taking a big amount of start-up money might be a fine idea if it makes you more comfortable, but as long as you're near a 7-11 or a post office, you're close to your money.
    Last edited by BifCarbet; April 16th, 2015 at 05:31.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Lorenzo's Avatar
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    In everyone's opinion, what's the bare minimum amount you can get away with before you receive your first paycheck? I'm a little concerned because I really don't have much money at all. I'm going to need to sell a few possessions as it is.

  7. #7
    read half. react. BifCarbet's Avatar
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorenzo View Post
    In everyone's opinion, what's the bare minimum amount you can get away with before you receive your first paycheck? I'm a little concerned because I really don't have much money at all. I'm going to need to sell a few possessions as it is.
    You have to live for a whole month. If you really mean bare minimum, and you are willing to put off things like getting internet, getting a car (should the need exist), furnishing, shopping, exploring, partying, etc., you might be able to get by on under $1500. If you need to make a rent deposit, that will be much higher, of course. It's also possible that going super low-budget on everything will cause problems for your contracting organization, but you've gotta do what you've gotta do, right? They can't really FORCE you to spend more money, but there are certain start-up costs.

    If you cover some expenses with a credit card, you'll soon be making enough money to at least cover the initial costs in a couple months, but you might not be able to do that most places.
    Last edited by BifCarbet; April 16th, 2015 at 07:55.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    In some cases your BOE will loan you a little bit of money or may allow you to defer some payments (like rent, etc.). I came in with about $2000 and I lived pretty easily until the first paycheck, but I didn't have many major purchases to deal with.

  9. #9

    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorenzo View Post
    In everyone's opinion, what's the bare minimum amount you can get away with before you receive your first paycheck? I'm a little concerned because I really don't have much money at all. I'm going to need to sell a few possessions as it is.
    I went with about a grand and managed to get through the 3 weeks till payday quite easy, but that was with an unusually cheap situation (no rent / key money, no payments on car till September).

    I ate out every single night and bought quite a lot of shite so could have done it cheaper, I think if you dodge the key money Russian Roulette you should be okay to get through the first few weeks. Not to forget your pounds will go nearly twice as far as mine did in 2011.
    Last edited by mrcharisma; April 16th, 2015 at 08:28.

  10. #10

    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorenzo View Post
    In everyone's opinion, what's the bare minimum amount you can get away with before you receive your first paycheck? I'm a little concerned because I really don't have much money at all. I'm going to need to sell a few possessions as it is.
    ESID.

    Each BoE pays at different times of the month. Mine pays on the 16th, and my first rent check was due on the twentieth, so I think I managed <300$ before my first payday (the apartment was already fully furnished, which helped). However, I also knew people who had to go through the larger part of 2000$. There's really no way to tell how much you'll need until you get your placement/in contact with your pred.
    Last edited by Cbill1; April 16th, 2015 at 08:35.

  11. #11
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    I came in with about $2000 and I lived pretty easily until the first paycheck, but I didn't have many major purchases to deal with.
    Same here.
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    I would assume you're going to need $2000 'til you hear from your CO/predecessor. Banking on the idea that you're going to get placed in an inexpensive situation is gambling. The last time I was on JET, I spent $2500 in the first two weeks. I had to get a new apartment with a ridiculous deposit, cell phone, and had to furnish the apartment. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

  13. #13

    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    If I were to assume the very worst scenario money-wise - Tokyo city, new apartment (unfurnished), deposit, new furniture, key money, new internet connection, a car, one whole month until next payday - what kind of ballpark figure would I need? $5000ish?

    Am I going to need to start selling myself on the streets?

  14. #14
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by quis View Post
    If I were to assume the very worst scenario money-wise - Tokyo city, new apartment (unfurnished), deposit, new furniture, key money, new internet connection, a car, one whole month until next payday - what kind of ballpark figure would I need? $5000ish?
    Probably a safe estimate? Don't worry, though. You'll be okay even if you show up with nothing--you may not be in a particularly ideal situation for a while; you might even be downright miserable, bored, and a burden to those around you... but you're not going to starve or be forced into selling yourself on the streets, LOL.

    Bring what you can based on the best estimates provided to you. Your pred, should you have one, will probably be your most valuable source of information in this regard.
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  15. #15

    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorenzo View Post
    In everyone's opinion, what's the bare minimum amount you can get away with before you receive your first paycheck? I'm a little concerned because I really don't have much money at all. I'm going to need to sell a few possessions as it is.
    Best advice is to ask your predecessor when you get that info. It'll vary based on the dozens of possible variables like cars, rent, furnishings, internet and phone, as well as fees for prefectural/local orientation etc. Especially for rent - quite a few BoEs subsidize housing or pay it outright as a part of your salary.

    My experience was something like this. I brought a little under $2000 in yen with me. Pretty much all the money I had at the time. I got my student loan payments deferred for 4 months due to the international move, which saved my bacon. I got my phone (using my credit card) and set up my bank account on the first day at my town. You might need to deposit a little cash into the bank to open your account - mine was ¥2000. Next day I transferred the car I bought to my town, paid for insurance, which was a bit much, but I don't recall how much I paid (I could look it up, but I'm lazy. I might look it up when I get home from work.) Other than that, I didn't make any major purchases until after my first paycheck. I still had quite a lot left. But I didn't go traveling/shopping as soon as I hit the ground like a number of newcomers do. I also didn't have to make a rent payment or parking payment the first month. And the local orientation fee (for use of the grounds etc was less than ¥5000 as well.) I spent close to maybe ¥4-5man total.

    Get set up with a remittance service asap - investigate which is going to be the cheapest for you. Post office, GoRemit, 7 Bank, direct international transfer etc. Hell, some folks even use cryptocurrencies. Especially if you have to pay student loans. Personally I use GoRemit, as it's cheaper in 98% of my remittances and I don't have to fill out paperwork each time or schedule regular remittances.

  16. #16
    Senior Member ambrosse's Avatar
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    I'm only going to be screwed if my pred tries to rip me off, or I get put in a new Tokyo placement...in which I pay for everything (happened to someone I know).

  17. #17

    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Its pretty safe to say that an urban or super urban placement (like Tokyo) is going to be a lot more costly than an remote placement. Even without a car in the mix.

    And Tokyo doubly so, as they're still adding new JETs. Who have to deal with brand new apartments (probably empty) etc.

  18. #18
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Keep an eye on Tokyo Craigslist, Tokyo newbs. You could probably have a pretty kickass setup for dirt cheap within a month (although I assume demand is gonna far outstrip supply come August).

    No other Craigslists in Japan are particularly active, but Tokyo isn't bad, and people give away a lot of sh*t on there, generally the only catch being that you hafta go pick it up.
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    I brought $2500 worth of yen and didn't have to withdraw any additional funds until after I received my second pay check. I made no real attempt to save money. Assuming you don't have key money, even if you come into a bare bones apartment and need to get one of everything, even a car, you shouldn't have much real trouble getting by on the ¥250000 they tell you to bring. You may need to skip a few parties, but it's really pretty easy to save money in most parts of japan.

  20. #20
    Perpetually confused. johnny's Avatar
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    I would really love if we could hear from some of the Tokyo Jets and hear their stories. It would be really interesting.

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