Guide to Open a Bank Account in Japan for Foreigner

Guide to Open a Bank Account in Japan for Foreigner

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Firstly, is it possible for foreigners to open a bank account in Japan? The simple answer is yes, they can, but depending on several factors such as their length of stay, not all are able to.


1. What are the requirements for foreigners to open an account?

  • You must own a residence card and certificate of residence (and therefore, cannot open a bank account if you only plan to stay in Japan for 3 months or less, e.g with a temporary visitor/tourist visa), and therefore are required to prove that you will or have stayed in Japan for more than six months, with the purpose of work or study.
  • For those foreigners whose period of stay is more than 3 months, but less than 6 months, you cannot open a normal bank account, but it is possible to open an account called 'non-resident yen deposit' (非居住者円預金=ひきょじゅうしゃえんよきん=hikyojuusha-enyokin). However, it is also important to note that this account has several restrictions regarding what you are able to do with it - in some instances, you may not be given a cash card, are not able to do oversea remittances and etc. Depending on the bank however, these restrictions may differ.

2. What is needed in the process of opening an account?

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  • Documents of Identification
    Apart from your residence card and certificate of residence, you may be required to present your passport, health insurance card and drivers license (if available).
    In addition, some banks may ask for your student ID card, employee ID card or My Number card, so it is recommended that you keep this in mind and prepare accordingly in advance. As for your certificate of residence, some banks may require extra evidence such as utility bill receipts and etc., so please also keep this in mind.
  • Stamp (シール=shiiru, 印鑑=いんかん=inkan,はんこ=hanko)
    Unlike other countries, instead of a signature Japan uses stamps as a way for you to sign official documents. In most cases, you will NOT be able to create bank accounts or have a way of signing other official documents if you do not own a stamp, so it is highly recommended that you make one.
  • Contact Information
    In most cases, banks will ask you for contact informaiton such as a Japanese phone number they can contact. For example, it usually takes time for both your bankbook and cash/debit/credit card to be made = you may get your bankbook on the day you go to create your account, but your cashcard may take additional time and you may be required to go pick it up. In this instance, the bank may call you to notify you of its completion.

3. What banks are easy to access as a foreigner?

In this section, we will now introduce several banks that are easy to access as a foreigner in Japan, and other information that would be good to know when applying to create a new bank account.

3.1 Japan Post Bank (ゆうちょ銀行=ゆうちょぎんこう=yuucho ginkou)【JP Bank】

Documents required to open an account: valid residence card, certificate of residence, passport, stamp
Time it takes to open an account: approximately 2 weeks 
Fee required to open an account: 0yen
ATMs used to access account: Japan Post Bank, Shinsei Bank, Seven Bank, Mizuho Bank, SMBC, Resona Bank, and MUFG
・ATM usage fee: using Japan Post Bank ATMs = free of charge; using other ATMs on weekdays from 8:45am until 6:00pm + Saturdays from 9:00am until 2:00pm =110yen; all the other times at ATMS other than Japan Post Bank = 220yen.
Overseas remittance charge: 3000~7500yen.

JP Bank is said to be the easiest place for foreigners to open a bank account without any problem.
If you have a residence card that proves that you will be staying for more than 6 months, and the necessary documents as stated above, you will be able to open a normal bank account. An attractive feature of this bank is that there are many branches, meaning that even if you move to different places within Japan, you won't need to make a new bank account every time you move. In addition, JP Bank is one of the only banks where minors are able to make their own accounts.

 

3.2 Mitsubishi UFJ Bank (三菱UFJ銀行=みつびしUFJぎんこう=mitsubishi UFJ ginkou) 【MUFG】

Documents required to open an account: valid residence card, certificate of residence, driver's license, stamp, passport
(You may also need to show the bank your health insurance card, student ID card or employee ID card.)
Time it takes to open an account: approximately 1 week
Fee required to open an account: 0yen
ATMs used to access account: MUFG, JP Bank, Seven Bank, Internet (Enet), Lawson ATM and Mitsui Sumitomo plus more.
ATMs usage fee: using MUFG ATM everyday from 8:45am until 9:00pm = free of charge; using MUFG ATM outside of those times = 110yen;  using JP Bank ATM everyday from 8:45am until 6pm = 110yen; using JP Bank ATM outside of those times = 220yen. For more detailed information see this link.
Overseas remittance charge: 2,500~7,500yen

MUFG is the largest bank in Japan, and is very reliable. However, be aware that you may not be able to open an account at a store that is far from your home, school, or work location. At MUFG, you can also apply for internet banking and transfer money 24 hours a day. Using MUFG, you are also able to send and receive money from overseas.

 

3.3 Shinsei Bank (新生銀行=しんせいぎんこう=shinsei ginkou)

Documents required to open an account: a valid residence card with residence period of one year or more, certificate of residence, a driver''s license issued for six months or more, the original receipt or invoice of public utility charges or mobile phone bills, and a mobile phone number for the bank to contact you.
Time it takes to open an account: approximately 1 week
Fee required to open an account: 0yen
ATMs used to access account: Seven Bank, Internet (Enet), Lawson ATM, Aeon Bank, Japan Post Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Aozora Bank, MUFG
ATMs usage fee: as ATMs inside Shinsei Banks are owned by the Seven Bank corporation, there is no 'Shinsei Bank' ATM itself and the usage fee for other ATMs varies. If you are curious, please refer to this link.
Overseas remittance charge: 2000yen~

At Shinsei Bank, you are able to open an account online. Using this account, online banking is also available, and easily accessible as you may browse via not only Japanese but also English. If you choose to make an account online, you can complete the procedure by filling out the necessary documents provided on the Shinsei Bank website, and by mailing the those documents to your local Shinsei Bank.  After the documents are approved of, instead of a bankbook, you will receive a cash card, a security card and a user guide. However, please keep in mind that when you send or receive money from overseas, you will need to go through a separate procedure.

 

3.4 Sumishin SBI Net Bank (住信SBIネット銀行=すみしんSBIねっとぎんこう=sumishin SBI netto ginkou)

Documents required to open an account: residence card, certificate of residence (*passport, student ID and employee ID card are not accepted.)
Time it takes to open an account: approximately 1 week
Fee required to open an account: 0yen
ATMs used to access account: Seven Bank, the Internet (Enet), Lawson ATM, Aeon Bank, Japan Post Bank
ATMs usage fee: free of charge for a total of 2 ~ 15 times per month depending on your 'Smart Phone Ranking', which is determined automatically by the goods and services that you buy. After the free withdrawal limit is reached, usage fee costs 110yen.
Overseas remittance charge: Not possible

Mitsui Sumitomo Trust Bank and SBI Holdings have invested in SBI Sumishin Net Bank, a bank that consistently ranks high in customer satisfaction. You can open an account online and don''t need to send documents to SBI in real life. There is no real store to go to in order to apply, and if you pass the examination, your cash card will simply be sent to you. Upon recieving it, usually it will be necessary to prove your identity with some form of ID. When using SBI net bank, there are more deposit interest rates and free transfer fees in comparison to other banks, and you are able to receive money from overseas. It is important to keep in mind however, that you will not be able to send money overseas.

 

3.5 Jibun Bank (じぶん銀行=じぶんぎんこう=jibun ginkou)

Documents required to open an account: valid residence card, certificate of residence, health insurance card, mobile phone number, e-mail address
Time it takes to open an account: approximately 2 weeks
Fee required to open an account: 0yen
ATMs used to access account:  Seven Bank, Internet (Enet), Lawson ATM, Japan Post Bank and MUFG
ATMs usage fee: no charge for up to 3 times per month at MUFG, Seven Bank, Japan Post Bank and convenience store (110yen for the 4th time and after)
Overseas remittance charge: Not possible

Jibun Bank is an online bank jointly managed by MUFG and mobile phone company au. An attractive feature of this bank is that the transfer fees are low and the deposit interest is high because there are no real stores and in-house ATMs. Similarly to the SBI net bank, you should keep in mind that you cannot send or receive money from overseas.

 

3.6 Resona Bank (りそな銀行=りそなぎんこう=risona ginkou)

Documents required to open an account: valid residence card, certificate of residence, driver's license, passport, other certificates issued by public institutions with a photograph of your face, Health insurance card, mobile phone number, and e-mail address
Time it takes to open an account: approximately 2 to 3 weeks if mailing ID documents to store, and approximately 30 minutes if opened at a local branch
Fee required to open an account: 0yen
ATMs used to access account:  Seven Bank, Internet (Enet), Japan Post Bank, Resona Bank, Mizuho Bank, Aeon Bank
ATMs usage fee: using Resona Bank ATMs = free of charge, using Japan Post Bank and convenience store ATMs = 110yen from 8:45am to 6:00pm on weekdays, and 220 yen outside of those hours.
Overseas remittance charge: 2000~7000yen

At Resona bank, it is possible to open an account without a stamp, and also to withdraw money from ATMs all over the country, as well as send and receive money overseas. There is also an internet banking service available at Resona, that you may sign up for and use when no ATMs are available nearby.

 

3.7 Mizuho Bank (みずほ銀行=みずほぎんこう=mizuho ginkou)

Documents required to open an account: alien registration certificate (copy), residence card, certificate of residence, stamp, mobile phone bill or original receipt for utility charges
Time it takes to open an account: approximately 1 to 2 weeks
Fee required to open an account: 0yen
ATMs used to access account:  Mizuho Bank Bank, Seven Bank, Internet (Enet), Aeon Bank, Japan Post Bank, Echinaka ATM, ATM at stations, Suruga Bank
ATMs usage fee:  using Mizuho Bank and Aeon Banks ATMs = free of charge from 8:45am to 6:00pm on weekdays; 110yen for Japan Post Bank, Echinaka ATMs, Suruga Bank and ATMs at convenience stores from 8:45am to 6:00pm, outside hours = 220yen
Overseas remittance charge:  2,500 yen per 1 transaction

Mizuho is a bank that has branches all over Japan, and one is able to send money to and receive money from overseas, making it another easily accessible choice for foreigners in Japan.

 

4. Conclusion

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As a final reminder, please remember that you can only open a bank account at these banks if you have proof that you are staying for more than 6 months. In addition, the documents necessary for submission depend one each bank, so please make sure to have them prepared in advanced. Another thing to keep in mind is that before going back to your country, you should remember to close your bank account - some banks require an account maintenance fee if the account isn't closed, so please be careful. When closing your account, you need your bankbook, cash card, a document to verify your identity and your stamp, and it may take approximately 2 weeks.

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