Can a Foreigner Open a Bank Account in Japan

When a foreigner finds a job in the land of the rising sun and begins to live there, they might face some difficult situations, such as finding a place to live or applying for a visa. They might also have to open a bank account.

What You Need to Open a Bank Account in Japan

A foreigner can legally open a bank account in Japan, if they match the requirements mentioned below.

  • Documents Proving the Address—As a foreigner, you need to prove your permission to stay in Japan, so please bring your valid residence card and passport. Also, it is recommended that you bring your health insurance card, special permanent resident certificate, driver’s licence (if you have one), student ID, and employee ID just in case.
  • Address Confirmation -You must show your residence certificate “Zyuminhyo” or a utility bill (gas, electricity, water, NHK, landline, etc.) to demonstrate that you live at the address indicated in the documents presented. Generally, mobile phone and smartphone invoices cannot be used as certificates.
  • Personal Seal (Inkan) – Inkan is one of the oldest cultures in Japan. Overseas, it’s common to write a signature by hand or important contracts, but in Japan, the use of seals is the most traditional way to do it than writing a signature. 

Recently, some banks, such as Mitsubishi UFJ Bank and Resona Bank, have removed the seal from the requirements to open a bank account, but many banks still require a seal.

Since there are many cases where you need an Inkan not only when opening a bank account but also when signing an important contract like a housing contract, we recommend you make your Inkan.

  • Phone number that can be contacted – The bank will need a phone number to keep in touch with you. You can tell them your cell phone number.

Types of Bank Accounts

The most common type of bank account in Japan is a general deposit account known as futsū yokin (普通預金). Interest rates in Japan are currently very low.

  • Using Your Bank Account

Once your account is opened, you’ll receive a cash card in the mail, which you can use to make withdrawals at your bank’s branches. Be aware that making withdrawals at branches of other banks may incur service charges, as well as charges for out-of-hours services.

  • ATM Services

ATMs in Japanese banks and post offices typically offer English menus and sometimes Portuguese. With your PIN number, you can perform various transactions, including withdrawals, deposits, updating your passbook, checking your balance, and making transfers to other accounts.

  • Domestic & Overseas Transfers

You can make overseas transfers either at your bank’s counter or through special machines in your branch. Alternatively, digital wallet services like Jeton are becoming increasingly popular in Japan. Jeton offers potentially cheaper transaction fees and quicker transfer times compared to traditional financial institutions.

By fulfilling these requirements and understanding the banking procedures in Japan, you can smoothly integrate into the financial system and manage your finances effectively during your stay in the country.

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