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Thread: International Banking/Bringing $

  1. #61

    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by singinglupines View Post
    Heads up. USAA is only for military folks. That's why I recommend Schwab.
    That's what I heard, but people kept telling me it's open for everyone now? On the website though it looks like it implies you need to have some sort of military connection...

    For Charles Schwab what kind of debit do you get? And how's transferring money? I looked a bit on the website and it says there's no minimum amount on a checking account either... that sounds too good to be true haha.

  2. #62

    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    If USAA has opened up, I don't think it will necessarily be as good. I know there are different tiers too depending on what kind of military, so officers and such get better rates. But if you have a qualifying military connection, definitely go for USAA. Once you're in, I believe you can keep bringing in future generations of your family whether they are enlisted or not. (Ex: my dad was military, I am not, but I am still a USAA customer.)

  3. #63
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    Default International Banking/Bringing $

    I got my account through my mom, since her dad was in the military. I believe it's restricted to spouses and descendants of account holders, regardless of their own military status. So, you might qualify if your grandparents served. It might be worth looking into since they offer good car insurance and such as well.

  4. #64
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    No hope for a first gen American then

  5. #65
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    I'm just keeping my normal US bank. Usually, my bank requires a minimum deposit of $1,000 per month, or a minimum balance of $1,500 to not get maintenance fees. However, I talked to them and they told me a way around that rule.

    I'm not sure about transferring money back and forth yet, but I know when I was in Japan last summer I could easily get yen from 7-11 ATMs and the exchange rate didn't seem bad. I believe my home bank did charge an international transaction fee, but even that wasn't very large. So, if your only issue is getting the money out​ once you get to Japan, this might be an option.

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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurisuchan View Post
    I'm just keeping my normal US bank. Usually, my bank requires a minimum deposit of $1,000 per month, or a minimum balance of $1,500 to not get maintenance fees. However, I talked to them and they told me a way around that rule.

    I'm not sure about transferring money back and forth yet, but I know when I was in Japan last summer I could easily get yen from 7-11 ATMs and the exchange rate didn't seem bad. I believe my home bank did charge an international transaction fee, but even that wasn't very large. So, if your only issue is getting the money out​ once you get to Japan, this might be an option.
    If you thought the exchange rate was pretty good last summer, than I've got great news for you this summer.

    I never bothered pulling money out of my USA account here. I brought everything over in cash, and trust me, you're going to want to carry more cash around here every day than you ever do back home. You'll have to get used to carrying that wad around sometime, and it might as well be on day 1. Even on the mean streets of shinjuku, you won't get robbed, so try to shake that fear.

    I left some funds in my home account to take care of lingering debts though, which I do recommend. If you have a small credit card debt or the like, anyway, not a student loan.

  7. #67
    Member Kurisuchan's Avatar
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by greyjoy View Post
    If you thought the exchange rate was pretty good last summer, then I've got great news for you this summer.

    I never bothered pulling money out of my USA account here. I brought everything over in cash, and trust me, you're going to want to carry more cash around here every day than you ever do back home. You'll have to get used to carrying that wad around sometime, and it might as well be on day 1. Even on the mean streets of Shinjuku, you won't get robbed, so try to shake that fear.

    I left some funds in my home account to take care of lingering debts though, which I do recommend. If you have a small credit card debt or the like, anyway, not a student loan.
    I'm not quite sure if you were being sarcastic about the exchange rate (that it's going to get or has gotten worse), or if it's going to get better. It doesn't seem that the sentence was fully explained. Please explain what you mean? ^_^

    In my response, I was under the impression that the poster of this thread was mainly concerned with losing their money on the way to Japan, not having it stolen once they get there. That's why I suggested this as an option for them to take a smaller amount to get started and get the rest out from an ATM once they get there.

    I'm aware that it's a cash society. But, I also don't anticipate that I'll often need to carry thousands (referring to U.S. dollar worth, not yen) in order to do basic things like grocery shop. It's my understanding that the poster considers carrying all the money they have to their name at one time is foolish, seeing as if the money is lost somewhere (if they drop their wallet on the plane or in the airport by accident, maybe) they'll be screwed.

  8. #68

    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurisuchan View Post
    I'm not quite sure if you were being sarcastic about the exchange rate (that it's going to get or has gotten worse), or if it's going to get better. It doesn't seem that the sentence was fully explained. Please explain what you mean? ^_^

    In my response, I was under the impression that the poster of this thread was mainly concerned with losing their money on the way to Japan, not having it stolen once they get there. That's why I suggested this as an option for them to take a smaller amount to get started and get the rest out from an ATM once they get there.

    I'm aware that it's a cash society. But, I also don't anticipate that I'll often need to carry thousands (referring to U.S. dollar worth, not yen) in order to do basic things like grocery shop. It's my understanding that the poster considers carrying all the money they have to their name at one time is foolish, seeing as if the money is lost somewhere (if they drop their wallet on the plane or in the airport by accident, maybe) they'll be screwed.
    Yeah I'm mostly worried about losing my wallet somewhere lol. But that's something I'll have to get over because for startup costs, I'll need to have a lot of cash on me so whatever I'll bring a good chunk and then if I need some more I'll just withdraw.

    With the money transferring/withdrawing I'm a little concerned about losing money because of the fees from my bank, it's like 3% or something so if I'm withdrawing a few thousand that's like at least 50-100$ which is kind of annoying... especially when I start having to send money home for loans and stuff since the value of what I'm sending over will drop pretty significantly if the yen doesn't get better...

    I think greyjoy means you'll be happy with the exchange rate going over there though, because your dollar's gonna go a pretty long way which is kinda nice. Just not nice for transferring money back to the states.

  9. #69
    Senior Member Penguee's Avatar
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurisuchan View Post
    I'm not quite sure if you were being sarcastic about the exchange rate (that it's going to get or has gotten worse), or if it's going to get better. It doesn't seem that the sentence was fully explained. Please explain what you mean? ^_^

    In my response, I was under the impression that the poster of this thread was mainly concerned with losing their money on the way to Japan, not having it stolen once they get there. That's why I suggested this as an option for them to take a smaller amount to get started and get the rest out from an ATM once they get there.

    I'm aware that it's a cash society. But, I also don't anticipate that I'll often need to carry thousands (referring to U.S. dollar worth, not yen) in order to do basic things like grocery shop. It's my understanding that the poster considers carrying all the money they have to their name at one time is foolish, seeing as if the money is lost somewhere (if they drop their wallet on the plane or in the airport by accident, maybe) they'll be screwed.
    Pretty sure Grey Joy was being positive. The yen is really weak right now so you will get WAY more yen now for your dollars because the exchange rate shows a weak yen. Yay!
    And no, he's being serious. Some business men regularly carry around what the equivalent of a thousand dollars
    would be in America and they usually don't have a problem. I dropped my wallet in Tokyo, folks, and it came back to me with all the money in it. I usually don't feel comfortable if I carry less than what equals $100 on me at all times.

    I suggest bringing about 50,000 yen cash and then using the ATM and taking it out as needed from your American bank account. Post Office or 7-11s are everywhere! And you get a good rate!

  10. #70

    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by Penguee View Post
    Pretty sure Grey Joy was being positive. The yen is really weak right now so you will get WAY more yen now for your dollars because the exchange rate shows a weak yen. Yay!
    And his JET salary will be worth a good 40% less than what it was three years back, meaning if he wants to send money home or undertake any international travel he'll have to fork out more.

    "Yay!" is an overly short-term way of looking at it.
    Last edited by mrcharisma; April 19th, 2015 at 01:45.

  11. #71

    Default International Banking/Bringing $

    I spent about $1000 on a car, $250 to my pred for various items, set up Internet, phone, car insurance. Then had rent at the end. Total minimum cost was around $1700 not including food. I brought more than this. Once again, ask your predecessor for things like furnishings, car cost etc. They will be your best source for total costs. The first month cost me a lot. (Not as much as the new Tokyo ALTs).

    Now I live off less than $400 a month for all my bills/rent. So plenty to save and spend on food and travel. ESID though.
    Last edited by Jedirust; April 19th, 2015 at 15:48.
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    I have a banking question that probably comes up very rarely. When I was in Japan for studying abroad I had a part time job through the school that required me opening a Japanese bank account. I still have the bank card, my PIN number, etc. The account was through SMBC and when I left I had a grand total of around 500円.
    Do Japanese bank accounts ever close or get locked due to disuse or should it still be waiting for me after I submit change of address and such?
    Obviously if no one knows it's not a big deal, I'll figure it out when I get there, but if anyone has input that'd be great.

  13. #73
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by mrcharisma View Post
    And his JET salary will be worth a good 40% less than what it was three years back, meaning if he wants to send money home or undertake any international travel he'll have to fork out more.

    "Yay!" is an overly short-term way of looking at it.
    I'm hoping the yen stays weak until I get my money converted and then inexplicably skyrockets in value over the dollar.

  14. #74
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by mrcharisma View Post
    And his JET salary will be worth a good 40% less than what it was three years back, meaning if he wants to send money home or undertake any international travel he'll have to fork out more.

    "Yay!" is an overly short-term way of looking at it.
    I've been living in Japan for the last 3 years. I have loans to pay and it sucks to send money home and to travel at all. I'm bleeding money every month. Doesn't mean I can't be positive for someone who will have a bit of good luck due to the weak yen.

  15. #75
    Senior Member Penguee's Avatar
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by Penguinonfire View Post
    I have a banking question that probably comes up very rarely. When I was in Japan for studying abroad I had a part time job through the school that required me opening a Japanese bank account. I still have the bank card, my PIN number, etc. The account was through SMBC and when I left I had a grand total of around 500円.
    Do Japanese bank accounts ever close or get locked due to disuse or should it still be waiting for me after I submit change of address and such?
    Obviously if no one knows it's not a big deal, I'll figure it out when I get there, but if anyone has input that'd be great.
    I had the same situation and had no problem using the account when I came back. You should be okay unless something got demagnetized and as long as you have your Hanko you shouldn't have any problem and could have everything reissued as far as I know.

  16. #76
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by Penguinonfire View Post
    I have a banking question that probably comes up very rarely. When I was in Japan for studying abroad I had a part time job through the school that required me opening a Japanese bank account. I still have the bank card, my PIN number, etc. The account was through SMBC and when I left I had a grand total of around 500円.
    Do Japanese bank accounts ever close or get locked due to disuse or should it still be waiting for me after I submit change of address and such?
    Obviously if no one knows it's not a big deal, I'll figure it out when I get there, but if anyone has input that'd be great.
    I have an open account that I've left basically untouched since summer 2012, but I go back and use it once or twice a year. I have not had a fee in three years, so it basically just stays the same. Actually, my BOE made a random deposit of 10,000 yen a year after my contract ended. It's a smaller, rural bank, but my experience is that the account sits untouched, and no fees are charged. Something like SMBC may be different.
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  17. #77
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by BifCarbet View Post
    I have an open account that I've left basically untouched since summer 2012, but I go back and use it once or twice a year. I have not had a fee in three years, so it basically just stays the same. Actually, my BOE made a random deposit of 10,000 yen a year after my contract ended. It's a smaller, rural bank, but my experience is that the account sits untouched, and no fees are charged. Something like SMBC may be different.
    That is good to hear, I have a JP Bank account that I left with ~500 yen, so hopefully it is still there.

  18. #78

    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by weepinbell View Post
    That's what I heard, but people kept telling me it's open for everyone now? On the website though it looks like it implies you need to have some sort of military connection...

    I was looking at it for car rental discounts and found that it is no longer open.

    For Charles Schwab what kind of debit do you get? And how's transferring money? I looked a bit on the website and it says there's no minimum amount on a checking account either... that sounds too good to be true haha.
    So far, I only transferred money from my primary US account to Schwab. While I was abroad I still had enough in my primary to pay loans. The customer service was great though in sending me the wire transfer info though when I thought I might.

    There is no minimum which is fantastic. I think have about $200 in it now and have dropped it down to $20 with no problem. It is a Visa debit card. You open a brokerage account and get the checking account with it, all for free. I have never used the brokerage account and upon signing up I told them I had no immediate plans to start trading. The interest rate is horrible but that wasn't important to me, haha.

    Otherwise I have used the card regularly in Europe to withdraw from various ATMs. All my ATM fees where refunded within a month. The exchange rate was comparable to the current market rate. And no exchange fees as my primary bank charges 1.5%. I prefer to withdraw money as needed rather than carry a lump sum.

    I had also had a friend who used Schwab while studying abroad in Isreal with no problems.
    Last edited by singinglupines; April 20th, 2015 at 07:24.

  19. #79

    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Quote Originally Posted by singinglupines View Post
    So far, I only transferred money from my primary US account to Schwab. While I was abroad I still had enough in my primary to pay loans. The customer service was great though in sending me the wire transfer info though when I thought I might.

    There is no minimum which is fantastic. I think have about $200 in it now and have dropped it down to $20 with no problem. It is a Visa debit card. You open a brokerage account and get the checking account with it, all for free. I have never used the brokerage account and upon signing up I told them I had no immediate plans to start trading. The interest rate is horrible but that wasn't important to me, haha.

    Otherwise I have used the card regularly in Europe to withdraw from various ATMs. All my ATM fees where refunded within a month. The exchange rate was comparable to the current market rate. And no exchange fees as my primary bank charges 1.5%. I prefer to withdraw money as needed rather than carry a lump sum.

    I had also had a friend who used Schwab while studying abroad in Isreal with no problems.
    So if I'm understanding correctly, you use Schwab to get a better exchange rate/less fees on your debit for withdrawing internationally? My current bank charges 3% for withdrawing abroad. Maybe it'd also work well to transfer money from Japan to and then into my primary account if I needed to? If that's the case, sounds like a smart move...

  20. #80
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    Default Re: International Banking/Bringing $

    Guys, I would in no way plan your banking around the ability to withdraw cash in Japan more than once (even then, why bother?). I came over with 1500$ in cash, had no troubles, used quite a bit of it on various things, and never worried. After your first pay check, you shouldn't even need to use your foreign account.

    Unlike a study abroad or travel program, you are getting paid here eh? You will have an income (a rather sizable one at that likely compared to anything you've earned before), and you won't need your foreign accounts.

    That being said, IF you find out you are going to have to spend 2-3k when you get here of your own money to buy car, etc... DON'T WORRY ABOUT YOUR BANK. If you need to take out cash from back home, just do it once, bite the bullet on the potential 60-80$ charge on a 3000$ withdrawl, and never worry again.

    Also, as for old bank accounts here, do no be surprised if your employer requests you to initially use a local bank that they have a working relationship with. This is rather common, as they want to make sure you actually GET your paycheck and can access it appropriately. If at a later date you want to switch to whatever old account you had (not that I could see any reason unless you had a Shinsei bank account) then you can, but there are usually better options than things like smbc and jpost these days (real internet banking, english support, 24/7 free withdrawls, etc...)
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