Whether you’re a Japanese national living in Hong Kong trying to support a family back home, or an Hong Kong buying a property or car in Japan, there’s never been a better time to need to transfer money to the land of the rising sun. There are now many banks and money transfer services available to help you send money overseas to Japan without high exchange rates and high fees.
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Compare international money transfer companies which allow transfers to Japan
You can use the table below to sort through different money transfer options to Japan. Use the table headings to sort through fees, minimum transfer amounts, transfer methods and more. If you’d like to find out more about a product, click the “More” link, or if you’d like to register with the service click on “Go to Site”.
Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.
There is no single best way to send money overseas, and the best way for you may not be the best for someone else.
This is because there are other factors to consider when sending an international money transfer in addition to the exchange rate, including the transfer fees, the payment method, the speed of delivery and the level of customer service. One person may prioritise the exchange rate, while someone else may prioritise the payment method.
You should consider a range of products when deciding which provider is most suited to your personal money transfer needs.
Banks vs money transfer companies
The Japanese company that Haruto works for has asked him to oversee their operations in Hong Kong. He agrees to the new position, but with young children in school does not think that an overseas move is in their best interest. Instead he decides to investigate ways in which he can continue to support them financially by sending money home weekly.
Haruto starts by comparing a bank’s money transfer services with a money transfer service company to see which will give him the most value for his money:
Money transfer service
The exchange rate offered by the bank is 0.0716 Hong Kong dollar for every Yen.
The exchange rate offered by the money transfer service is 0.0712 Hong Kong dollar for every Yen.
There is a HKD$65 fee per transfer. Check with your Japanese bank to see if they charge additional money when accepting the transfer.
There is a $0 transfer fee charged.
Amount received for $10,000 HKD
Including the transfer fee, Haruto’s wife will receive 138,756.98 Yen when he sends $9,935 Hong Kong dollars.
Haruto’s wife will receive 140,475.44 Yen when he sends $10,000 Hong Kong dollars.
Typically three to five business days.
The money is received within minutes after it is sent if it is to be pick up. For bank transfers it will take one to two days before the funds get to the bank.
This is a bank to bank service only.
This company will allow for transfers to be picked up in person or sent to a bank account in Japan.
Difference. There is a difference of 1,718.46 Yen. As shown, there is a significant difference in fees and transfer time.
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Japan
As you can clearly see from Haruto’s case study, it pays to do your homework when considering transferring money from Hong Kong to Japan. Especially in a situation such as his where he plans on making weekly money transfers. Look closely at the following when comparing money transfer service providers to avoid paying more than you have to:
Exchange rate. This is where you have the most opportunity to lose money without even knowing it. Check these carefully from provider to provider to find the one that gives the best* rates.
Fees. Calculate the fees as well and figure them into the difference. While on the surface of the case study it appears that the fees of the transfer service are exorbitant, they still don’t make up the difference in the amount of money lost in the exchange rate.
Pickup methods. This depends on your personal situation and that of the person who you are sending the money to. The flexibility of having options within one company can make things easier, especially if the money is needed immediately.
Transfer time. For regular payments, waiting a few days may not be a problem but when you need the money fast you may like the option of a quicker transfer.
Transfer amount. If you have plans of sending large amounts of money at a time, you will want to check with the provider first. Most will have a limit on the amount you can send per transaction.
Definition: Best* exchange rate
There is no single best exchange rate, and the best exchange rate for you may not be the best for someone else. Exchange rates are also affected by wider economic factors. Previous performance isn’t an indication of future performance. You should consider a range of products when deciding which provider is most suited to your personal money transfer needs.
Japanese nationals have many options available to them for sending money back home including:
Banks. Almost all Hong Kong banks which offer international money transfers will allow you to transfer funds to Japan. Some bank accounts, such as multi currency accounts, can be used to keep your funds in JPY and convert them to other currencies when you want to, and others, such as Citibank Global Transfers will allow you to send free money transfers from your internet banking.
Money transfer services. Transfer services including the ones mentioned in the table above, and others including Western Union and MoneyGram allow you to make transfers to Japan. Some of these services allow you to schedule regular transfers, forward contracts and limit orders.
Hong Kong visitors to Japan can also take advantage of money transfer services if they suddenly find themselves without any cash:
Money transfer companies. Even non-residents of Japan are permitted to pick up money if a family member or friend sends them emergency funds from Hong Kong. So long as you have the transfer number and passport you should be able to easily retrieve this money.
Travel insurance. When travelling overseas, it is essential that you purchase a travel insurance policy. This can help you with quick access to money if you are the victim of a crime or lose your wallet while visiting Japan.
Japan is a safe vacation destination for Hong Kong travellers. You should, however, exercise caution when picking up your cash. If possible go during the day and use a taxi or hotel-supplied form of transportation to get to the pickup location.
How to send money to Japan
Sending money from Hong Kong to Japan will be relatively easy once you learn the steps. If you have set up a bank account for these transactions you can typically do the transfer online. For money transfer service providers be prepared with the following information:
Recipient name. With cash transfers it is important that the name you send the money to matches perfectly with the recipient’s identification. Double check that the agent made no errors before leaving the location.
Amount sent. The agent at the pickup location is going to ask a number of questions to make sure that the money is being given to the individual it was intended for. Make sure that you let your family member know the exact amount.
Tracking number. Transfers are tracked using a distinct set of numbers. For security purposes the recipient will need to give these numbers at the pickup agency.
Your name. The recipient should also know your name and contact information.
You will be given documentation once the transaction is complete. Provide your recipient with the correct information and keep those papers in case there is a problem with picking up the money.
Finding a reliable company to send your money from Hong Kong to Japan can provide you with peace of mind that your family is always being taken care of. Explore the options available, both banks and transfer companies, to find the one that meets your needs for the best price
Lorria Sahmet is a writer for Finder, specialising in money transfers.
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