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Send money to Japan
Affordable and straightforward ways to transfer money to the Land of the Rising Sun.
Updated . What changed?
The best way to send money to Japan largely depends on how much you’re sending and your payment method. Large transfers through XE and OFX are often competitive, while widely known providers like PayPal or Xoom can be expensive. TransferWise stands out for strong exchange rates, and cash delivery is possible through Western Union and MoneyGram, among others. Compare digital money specialists now to save money and time on your next remittance.
Send money to Japan with XE
Offering no maximum and no minimum limit transfers with $0 fees.
- Send money to 130+ countries
- Competitive exchange rates that are often better than banks'
- XE doesn’t charge any transaction fees, commissions or ongoing fees
Compare international money transfers
Quickly compare what your transfer to Japan could cost with our comparison table by entering the amount you want to send and clicking Calculate.
What's in this guide?
- What's the best way to send money to Japan?
- How to send money to Japan online
- What are the ways that I can send money to Japan
- How to get the most out of your money transfer to Japan
- Japan's exchange rates explained
- Documents needed for sending to and receiving money in Japan
- What to watch out for
- Bottom line
What’s the best way to send money to Japan?
Online money transfer providers typically offer the strongest exchange rates and lowest fees on money transfers to Japan. Some offer cash pickup in as little as a few minutes, while others seamlessly transfer to bank accounts. Sending money through PayPal or your bank is also an option, but you’ll typically face higher fees and weaker exchange rates when going that route.
Digital money transfer services
Companies like XE specialize in foreign currencies, making them some of the most cost-effective transfers. Most offer transfers directly to your recipient’s Japanese bank account, often in as little as a day or two.
Services like MoneyGram and Western Union allow you to transfer cash for pickup at a local branch in Japan — often in 15 minutes. While it’s a fast way to send money, you’ll pay for the convenience in weak exchange rates and high fees.
Japanese yen are a popular currency, so your local bank may be able to exchange them. If your bank supports Japanse yen, beware of high fees and wide margins on the exchange rate compared to digital and other options when sending a wire transfer to Japan.
Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $1,000 to Japan
Let’s say you need to send $1,000 to family in Japan. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of June 9, 2020.
|Digital money transfer service||Cash transfer||Bank transfer|
|Fee||$0||$5||$25 + additional correspondent bank fees|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 106.891 JPY||1 USD = 106.133 JPY||1 USD = 102.190 JPY|
|Transfer speed||1-2 day||Same day||2-5 days|
|Amount received||JPY 106,891||JPY 105,603||JPY 99,635|
The bank option ends up being both the slowest and gets the smallest amount of money to your recipient in Japan. If you go with the digital money transfer service, your recipient ends up with JPY 7,256 more than the bank offers. If speed is crucial, or your recipient wants to pick up cash, a cash transfer can typically have your transfer to Japan in as little as an hour. Confirm there is a cash pickup location near your recipient before sending.
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How to send money to Japan online
Sign up and send money with a digital money transfer specialist in four steps:
- Sign up for a free account. Pick a provider and sign up for a free online account using your contact information, proof of ID and preferred payment method.
- Provide transfer details. Submit your recipient’s contact information and pick a delivery method. If transferring to a bank, you’ll need their Japanese bank account information.
- Confirm transfer details. Double-check your payment method, expected fees and destination.
- Save your receipt. Record your receipt’s confirmation number to track the progress of your transfer to Japan. Some money transfer providers send a text or email when your transfer is complete.
What are the ways that I can send money to Japan
- Bank transfers. Many major US banks will allow you to send money to Japan.
- Money transfer providers. Providers like XE and TransferWise can help you quickly and easily transfer your money online.
- Providers with cash pickup. Western Union and MoneyGram allow you to send funds for cash pickup at agent locations.
- PayPal. Electronic payment giant PayPal allows you to send money from the US to Japan.
- Checks and money orders. Although not a quick option, you could send an international check overseas, obtained from your bank or US Postal Service.
How to get the most out of your money transfer to Japan
Weigh costs and fees against convenience to learn how to compare money transfer providers that send to Japan to best meet your needs:
- Exchange rates. The USD-JPY relationship fluctuates often, so using a service that allows you to lock-in exchange prices may help you save money down the line if the Japanese yen rises against the US dollar.
- Transfer fees. Transferring money overseas nearly always requires fees, but they might be hidden in the exchange rate. When sending large amounts, it may be cheaper to pay a flat fee to secure a stronger USD-JPY exchange rate.
- Transfer limits. How much you can send varies by company, and different amounts can attract higher or lower fees. Shop around for the best deal on the amount of Japanese yen you’re sending to Japan.
- Turnaround. Transferring money through a local bank can take a business week or longer. If you need the funds delivered quickly, seek out a digital specialist that offers instant transfers to Japan.
- Sending limits. Comparing prices for one large transfer instead of many small transfers is typically easier, so picking the service you use based on how much you’re sending is a valid strategy for saving money.
- Transfer methods. Whether you want money sent to a Japanese bank account or picked up as cash at a local agent, narrow down a company that matches your preferred delivery method.
Emergency cash transfer to Japan
When urgency trumps cost to get your money to Japan quickly, look for money transfer companies that support cash pickup in minutes. You can pay with a credit or debit card for fast pickup, but fees are higher than other methods.
How to send money to Japan without a bank account
Cash transfer services can help you if you don’t have a bank account, look for a local company that supports storefronts for cash payments. These services include agent locations in other countries that allow your recipient to pick up cash without a bank account.
Japan’s exchange rates explained
The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another country’s currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weaker currency. Japan’s exchange rate is flexible compared to the US dollar, but the USD-JPY relationship typically doesn’t make sharp, drastic movements. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Track how the Japanese yen trades against the US dollar in our historical rate chart.
Documents needed for sending to and receiving money in Japan
To send money to Japan from the US, you’ll need government-issued ID and other documents, while documents needed to pick up money in Japan may differ by company.
Documents to send money from the US
To send money from the US to Japan, you’ll need documentation and details that include:
- Identification. Most services require a driver’s license, passport or other government-issued ID. Some services allow you to send transfers without ID, but they may require your SSN.
- Payment method. Your service may accept credit or debit cards, cash, bank accounts or personal checks.
- Recipient information. Submit your recipient’s name as it appears on their ID, along with their phone number and Japanese bank account information.
Documents to receive money in Japan
To pick up money in person, documentation can include:
- Transfer number. The person sending you money can forward the transfer’s confirmation details — called a PIN, an MTCN, a reference number or a tracking number, depending on the company.
- Government-issued ID. A Japanese Passport, Japanese ID or similar official ID may be required to pick up your transfer.
- Amount sent. You may need to know how much was sent, usually within 10% of the total.
- Sender’s information. Take along your sender’s full name, the sending country and their address, if known.
What to watch out for
Sending money to Japan may be subject to taxes on the money transfer, but it depends on a lot of variables. In general, any large transfers being sent from the US to Japan should be filed with the IRS to avoid any penalties. To learn more about what penalties you may face by failing to file your transfer, read our guide on large transfers to Japan for large specific rules and regulations.
Sending your hard-earned money to Japan shouldn’t cost a fortune. Compare money transfer companies that specialize in foreign transactions for the strongest rates, lowest fees and flexible delivery. For transfers to other countries, rely on our country specific guides the next time you need to make a transfer.
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