Japan Mobile and Digital Banking Guide for Expats

If you’re an expat living in Japan, you’ll need a Japanese bank account to manage your daily finances, set up necessary utilities, and receive payments.

This article lists the top foreigner-friendly Japan banking to assist you in selecting the appropriate account for your requirements.

Who Can Open A Bank Account In Japan? What Do You Need?

Here is a summary of the main conditions for opening a bank account in Japan that must be met by foreigners seeking to create a Japan digital banking account with the majority of major Japanese banks:

  • You have resided in Japan for a minimum of six months.

You might have to meet FEFTA’s definition of a resident in Japan (Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act). This often indicates that you have been in Japan for at least six months or that you are employed there and have a current visa and work permit. You might be able to create an account with some banks if you haven’t lived there for six months, but it might not offer a complete range of services as it’s frequently the same account that’s available to non-resident clients.

  • You need a residence card (Zairyu)

You must have your Zairyu card, often known as your residence card. Your bank could want that your card’s validity is at least three months old. For instance, Japan Post Bank mandates that if a card’s expiration date is within three months, applicants must hold off until the card has been renewed.

  • You need your Japan address

Your residence in Japan should be able to be verified, frequently with a utility bill or other official document in your name.

  • You need Hanko

Perhaps you’ll require a Hanko- personal seal. However, certain financial institutions, including Shinsei Bank, will let you use a signature in its place.

If you’re unsure if you would be considered a resident under FEFTA, Shinsei Bank has a helpful online simulation that you may use to determine.

Being a Guest in Japan and Using Contactless Payment

The QR Code-based apps mentioned above aren’t accessible to you as a tourist unless you have a Japanese cell number. Currently, Mobal is the only tourist SIM that offers a local number for calls and SMS. You still have a few choices if you don’t have a local number.

Foreign Credit Cards with an EMV Chip

The great news is that EMV is gaining popularity. The unfortunate thing is that it will be only offered by a very limited selection of shops. Also, if you see something on the terminal that resembles the EMV symbol, don’t be deceived; it doesn’t always indicate that you may tap to pay using your foreign credit card. Instead, at the payment terminal, check for the contactless symbol stamp next to the credit card logo. Before you place your card over the terminal, you must ask for the preferred payment option. Requesting “Visa Touch” is generally better, even if you have a Mastercard.

Pasmo and Suica

Anyone can obtain a trip IC card. You may buy them at the automatic ticket machines at any station as a guest, load up to 20,000 yen, and receive a refund on the remaining amount when you depart. If you’re using an iPhone 8 or later, you can even add them to your iPhone wallet, but regrettably not your Google Pay wallet for Japan mobile banking.

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