If you’ve successfully moved to Japan, one of the first things you’ll need upon arrival is a Japanese bank account. Ideally, you should have one set up within your first week in Japan, as it’ll make processes like finding an apartment, and getting a mobile phone plan a lot smoother too.
Here’s a quick guide on how to open a Japanese bank account, plus other useful things to know!
Choose Your Bank
If you’re a foreigner, your best bet is to go with one of the major banks in Japan. They are:
- Mitsui Sumitomo Bank (SMBC)
- Mitsubishi UFJ Bank (MUFJ)
- Mizuho Bank
The advantages of having an account with these banks is that it’s easy to find a branch office or ATM anywhere in the city.
Some banks offer services an online banking in English too, such as SMBC Trust Bank PRESTIA. There are however, fewer branch offices.
Opening a Bank Account
At the Branch Office
What you’ll need:
- Personal Identification (Passport, Foreigner Registration Card zairyu card, or MyNumber card)
- Personal Stamp or hanko (optional depending on the bank)
To open a bank account, make sure you take the above listed items with you. Having personal stamp, or hanko, with your name carved upon it is a rather archaic practice and these days, some banks have shifted to only requiring a person’s signature. To be absolutely safe though, it is best to have one as you will likely be needing it in the future as well.
Go to the bank office of your choice, and a helpful staff member will be with you almost immediately. Tell them you’d like to open a new bank account (口座開設 kouzakaisetsu), and then it’s a smooth but rather long process of getting a number, waiting, and filling up forms. The upside to doing it this way is that you’ll get your bank card the same day, and your account is set up and ready to go immediately.
Some banks may allow you to set up an account online, right from your smartphone! No lines, no hassle. You’ll need an ID with a photograph for this process.
SMBC Bank offers this service (口座開設 ： 三井住友銀行). To open an account, you’ll need to enter in your details, and upload photos of your ID card for verification. Once your application has been sent, it’s just a matter of waiting for it to be approved, and you’ll get your bank card posted to you. The process can take anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks.
ATM Fees : Using an ATM after hours will incur a fee (¥110~) , even if it’s an ATM from your own bank!
Bank Books: Many people in Japan still use bank books, so you may be issued one along with your bank card.
Online Banking: To apply for online banking, mention it to the bank staff when opening your account, or along with your online application.