Do you wish to send money to Japan from the UK? Here’s the help you need in picking the right method.
Relations between the UK and Japan date back to the 1600s. Ties between these two nations witnessed a break from 1641 to 1853, only to resume after the 1854 Anglo-Japanese Friendship Treaty. While the period around World War II saw a hiatus in relations, both regions maintain strong ties even in the present day. It is common for British people to view Japan as Britain of the East, mainly because of the cultural similarities these two island nations share.
As per the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 37,535 Japanese born people lived in the UK in 2001. This number increased to 38,000 in 2010.
Compare International Money Transfers
Case study: Banks versus a specialist global brand
Hiroki Sato moved to the UK because of work. Until his wife and daughter can join him here, he needs to keep sending some money back home periodically. He plans to send around £1,500 each month. While Hiroki has an account with a bank in the UK that allows international fund transfers, he feels he can get a better deal if he compares his options. He takes to the Internet and this is what he finds.
|UK bank||Money transfer service|
|Exchange rate||£1 = ¥159.2640||£1 = ¥169.1360|
|Amount received for £1,500||¥237,462.70||¥253,704.00|
|Transfer time||3-5 days||1-2 days|
|Transfer options||Bank account||Bank account|
By choosing to go with the money transfer company, Hiroki ensured that his wife received some extra money. What also helped is that the money transfer company offered a quicker turnaround time when compared to his bank. From what he saw, Hiroki decided to compare his options before sending money every time.
How do I compare transfer companies when transferring and receiving money via Japan?
You should pay attention to different aspects when comparing money transfer companies.
- Exchange rate and transfer fees. Some money transfer companies that offer highly competitive exchange rates can make up for the same by charging unreasonably high transfer fees. Some, on the other hand, may offer fee-free services along with unfavourable exchange rates. To make a decision, compare how much money the recipient stands to receive.
- Ways to send money. Find out if your bank lets you transfer funds to Japan. If it does, you may be able to initiate the process in person, over the phone or online. Another way to send money in person is through a money transfer company. However, you’ll find that more money transfer companies operate in the online world.
- Ways to receive money. If the recipient has an account with a Japanese bank you can transfer funds directly into the account. The recipient can also receive money by visiting a local cash pickup centre.
- Transfer methods. Some money transfer companies let you carry out scheduled payments, so you don’t have to go through the entire process before every transfer. Forward contracts let you lock-in rates, whereas market orders let you buy currency at the best available price.
- Turnaround time. The time taken for transfers to Japanese bank accounts mainly depends on the business you choose. It can vary from one to 12 days. If you’re sending money to a cash pickup centre, the transfer can take place almost immediately.
- Using the same bank. Usinga bank for the transfer can work well if you and the recipient have accounts with the same bank. In such instances, banks charge reduced or no fees and offer quicker turnaround times.
- Minimum amounts. Some money transfer companies have minimum limits in place, which can vary from £500 to $1,000.
- Customer service. While sending money overseas is fairly simple, you may want to get in touch with a company representative now and again. You should ideally be able to do so over the phone, via chat and via email.
How do I send money to Japan from the UK?
You can send money to Japan from the UK using the services of a bank or a non-banking institution.
- Banks. Several banks in the UK offer international money transfer services, using which you can send money directly into a Japanese bank account. You can purchase a money order from a bank, which you can send to Japan via mail. If you have a chequebook, you can consider sending a cheque via mail as well.
- Non-banks. Non-banking businesses such as Western Union and MoneyGram let you transfer funds to Japanese bank accounts. You can use their services to send money to cash pickup centres too. PayPal allows fund transfers between the UK and Japan. To use its services, both you and the recipient should have PayPal accounts. You can open a new PayPal account in minutes, for free.
How do I receive money from Japan in the UK?
When receiving money from Japan in the UK, you get to choose from multiple options.
- Banks. By providing the sender with your bank account details, you can receive funds directly in your account. The sender can transfer funds in your account using a bank or a money transfer company. You can also ask the sender to mail you a bank-issued cheque or money order.
- Non-banks. Money transfer companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram have a considerable presence in the UK, so you can collect transferred money by visiting a cash pickup centre. You can also receive money through PayPal. Once the money gets to your PayPal account, you can withdraw it into your UK bank account easily.
Emergency cash transfers in Japan
If you find yourself without your wallet when you’re in Japan, make sure you report your debit and credit cards as stolen without wasting any time. Next, you can think about getting some emergency money in different ways.
- Cash pickup. Locate a cash pickup centre nearby and pass this information onto a friend or family member who is willing to send you some money.
- Credit card cash advance. If you have an existing American Express, MasterCard or Visa credit card you can think about getting an emergency cash advance by visiting a local participating financial institution.
- Travel insurance. Getting the right kind of travel insurance can help in more ways than one. It can give you access to emergency funds to deal with instances such as unexpected medical expenses, flight delays and cancellations as well as lost and misplaced luggage.
Western Union / MoneyGram branches in Japan
Western Union and MoneyGram have a number of cash pickup centres in Japan. When collecting cash from any such centre you’ll have to provide a reference number along with a suitable form of identification such as your passport or driver’s license. If you plan to collect a large sum, consider calling in advance to confirm availability of funds. Here are some cash pickup centres in popular Japanese cities.
4f 108 Bldg 1 25 32 Takadanob
Shinjuku Ku, Tokyo 169 0075
Open 10am to 6:30pm, Monday to Friday, 11am to 6:30pm, Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Kaneshiro International Co L
New Town Okubo 1f
Shinjuku Ku, Tokyo 169-0072
Open 10am to 7pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Kannai Ekimae Branch
1f Kannai Ekimae Daiichi Bldg
2 12 Masago Cho Naka Ku
Yokohama City, Kanagawa 231 0016
Open 10am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday,
Closed on Saturday and Sunday
- J Market Kannaiekimae Ten
1f Kannaikowa Bldg
2 9 4 Minatocho Naka Ku
Yokohama Shi, Kanagawa 231 0017
Open 10am to 3pm, Monday to Sunday
- Kyodai Remittance
1 F Root Bldg.
Open 10:30m to 6:30pm, Monday to Friday, 10:30am to 5:30am Saturday and Sunday
- Digitel – Tokyo
Musashino Bldg Ll 2f
Open 8am to 10pm, Monday to Sunday
- Fukubayashi Shokai
Monaco Bldg. 2f
Open 10am to 7pm, Monday to Saturday, closed on Sunday
- Kyodai Remittance
601 6f Coi Gotanda Bldg
Open 10am to 6pm, Monday to Sunday
Tips for picking up cash in Japan
In 2014, around 220,000 British nationals visited Japan, and most of these visits remained free of trouble. There is an incessant risk of earthquakes and tsunamis in this country. You can find latest warnings and advisories on the Japan Meteorological Agency website. During times of emergency, you may have trouble accessing cash pickup centres.
Crime levels in Japan are low. Walking at night and using public transport is generally safe. However, you should exercise the same level of caution as you would in the UK. The entertainment districts of Tokyo such as Kabuki-cho and Roppongi are higher crime risk areas. Here, reports of crimes that target foreign nationals are not uncommon.
What are the steps to send money to Japan?
This essentially depends on the method you choose.
- Transfer to bank account. You’ll have to provide the recipient’s name, account number, name of the bank and the bank’s SWIFT code. Depending on the service provider you choose, you may have to provide details of your bank account, debit card or credit card. Not all money transfer companies accept payments from credit cards.
- Cash pickup. If you’re sending cash from a physical location you’ll have to provide the recipient’s name and a desired pickup centre. In all other instances, you’ll have to provide your bank account, debit card or credit card details. Once you initiate the transfer you get a reference number, which the recipient will need to collect cash.