In this article, you will learn how to open a Japan Post Bank account, what possible problems you might face, and how to go through the process quickly and smoothly.
You might need a Japanese Bank Account when you stay longer in Japan for several reasons. First of all, Japanese employers require it as it’s very problematic for them to send money to a foreign account. Sometimes they even refuse to send money to an unknown bank and make you open a Japanese bank account anyway. Another reason is that you will also get a debit card for free, with which you can pay in Japanese stores without any commission. Also, it can be a unique experience to open a bank account in another country.
There are several banks in Japan that you can open a bank account in, but I highly recommend opening a Japan Post Bank (ゆうちょ銀行) account.
Why a Japan Post Bank Account?
- It’s free
There is no fee for opening a standard Japan Post Bank account. You will immediately get your bankbook and cash card. I also recommend applying for a Mijica card, which is a debit card you can pay by at stores – also completely free.
- You can open it anytime (no six months rule)
In most popular Japanese banks such as Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho, etc., you can’t open a bank account unless you have already been staying in Japan for more than six months. It’s inconvenient for most foreigners, especially for people coming on a Working Holiday visa since they can stay just for one year in total. In Japan Post Bank none of these rules apply – you can open your account just after finding a place to stay.
- Easy to find
Finding a JP Bank branch or ATM is really easy, as you can find it at almost every post office in Japan.
How to open a Japan Post Bank Account
Opening a Japan Post Bank account is an easy process, but it needs some preparations and knowledge of how to go through it. Here are the steps how to open a JP Bank Account:
Prepare necessary things
There are some things you will need to have with you when opening a bank account.
- Inkan (also known as Hanko) – personal stamp
If you still don’t have one, simply search for a “hanko” store in your area. You will need it many times during your stay in Japan – to get not only a bank account but also a phone number, to sign an apartment contract, job contract, etc. The sooner you get it, the better.
- Residence Card
If you are not coming as a tourist, you probably got your Residence Card (Zairyu card) at the airport. Don’t forget to bring it with you to the bank.
A Residence Card is not enough to securely identify you by the JP Bank. You are still obliged to carry your passport with you – keep this in mind.
It’s good to already have a Japanese phone number (you can get it without a Japanese bank account by registering an international card, e.g. Revolut), but it’s not necessary.
Go directly to your closest branch
You can probably find a Japan Post Bank near your place of stay – simply go there and ask for help with opening a new bank account.
All you need to do is to show the necessary things mentioned above to the bank’s employee and to fill the form. Then, after about 20-30 minutes your account should be ready and you can start using it immediately.
Although, there can be some problems during this process. These are the most common ones:
Problem with the form
The bank account opening form contains several pages, but it’s not very difficult to fill. It’s all in Japanese, but the office staff should always tell you where you put your name, address, etc. They also offer to fill some complicated parts of the form for you.
Sometimes there is someone who speaks English, and sometimes there isn’t. It may happen that in the branch you visited there is no one who can clearly explain the form to you. But don’t worry – everybody will try to help you for sure. If you feel you can’t communicate properly, you can always go to another branch of Japan Post Bank – in centers of bigger cities like Tokyo or Osaka there are plenty of them!
Problem with the necessary things
The bank employees might get a little bit confused about the account opening process for a foreign person. Sometimes you might be the first foreigner they ever dealt with. They might ask you for additional documents, such as your apartment contract, a job contract, My Number Card, etc. You don’t need to have it or show it to them. If they insist, simply go to another JP Bank branch near you and try one more time.
In my case, in the first JP Bank office I went to, I was told to show my Japanese job contract, which I didn’t have yet. I went to another one, but I was told that I can open an account only in the branch which is the nearest to my place of stay. I didn’t give up – I walked 300 meters to another office nearby and I was able to open an account within 20 minutes.
I hope now you feel more confident about dealing with Japanese banks and opening a bank account in Japan Post Bank. Don’t forget to apply for a Mijica card, as it’s highly convenient and also totally free. Good luck!