Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.
How to send money to Japan
Find out how you can save money and enjoy fast transfers when you send money to Japan from South Africa.
The best way to send money to Japan largely depends on how much you’re sending and your payment method. Large transfers through WorldRemit and Currencies Direct are often competitive, while widely known providers like PayPal can be expensive. 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.
Compare international money transfers
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 WorldRemit 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 R10,000 to Japan
Let’s say you need to send R10,000 to family in Japan. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of December 6, 2020.
|Digital money transfer service||Cash transfer||Bank transfer|
|Fee||R0||R50||R250 + additional correspondent bank fees|
|Exchange rate||1 ZAR = 6.81 JPY||1 ZAR = 6.56 JPY||1 ZaR = 5.98 JPY|
|Transfer speed||1-2 day||Same day||2-5 days|
|Amount received||JPY 68,100||JPY 65,272||JPY 58,305|
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 9,795 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.
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 SA banks will allow you to send money to Japan.
- Money transfer providers. Providers like Currencies Direct and WorldRemit 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 SA to Japan.
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 ZAR-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 South African rand.
- 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 ZAR-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 South African rand, but the ZAR-JPY relationship typically doesn’t make sharp, drastic movements. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Documents needed for sending to and receiving money in Japan
To send money to Japan from South Africa, you’ll need a government-issued ID and other documents, while the documents needed to pick up money in Japan may differ by company.
Documents to send money from South Africa
To send money from SA to Japan, you’ll need documentation and details that include:
- Identification. Most services require a driver’s license, passport or other government-issued ID.
- 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
When you send money to friends or family members in Japan, the money may be subject to taxes but it depends on a lot of variables. Keep in mind that exchange control regulations state that individuals are only allowed to send up to R1 million per year out of South Africa, and up to R10 million a year in investments.
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.
More guides on Finder
Gemini vs Coinbase
We compare these two large cryptocurrency exchanges to see how their fees, features and customer support stack up.
How to invest in the Didi Chuxing IPO from South Africa
Everything we know about the Didi Chuxing IPO, plus information on how to buy in.
How to buy Robinhood stock from South Africa
Robinhood is expected to go public, here’s what you need to know if you’re looking to buy in from South Africa.
Fees and features to consider before signing up for a Firstrade brokerage account.
ZAR to SZL Exchange Rate
Live exchange rates South African Rand to Swazi Lilangeni. Historic exchange rates for 10 days ✔ 10 months ✔ 10 years ✔ Calculate your money transfer to SZL.
ZAR to PKR Exchange Rate
Live exchange rates South African Rand to Pakistani Rupee. Historic exchange rates for 10 days ✔ 10 months ✔ 10 years ✔ Calculate your money transfer to PKR.
ZAR to MZN Exchange Rate
Live exchange rates South African Rand to Mozambican Metical. Historic exchange rates for 10 days ✔ 10 months ✔ 10 years ✔ Calculate your money transfer to MZN.
ZAR to KES exchange rate
Live exchange rates South African Rand to Kenyan Shilling. Historic exchange rates for 10 days ✔ 10 months ✔ 10 years ✔ Calculate your money transfer to KES.
ZAR to BGN Exchange Rate
Live exchange rates South African Rand to Bulgarian Lev. Historic exchange rates for 10 days ✔ 10 months ✔ 10 years ✔ Calculate your money transfer to BGN.
ZAR to NZD Exchange Rate
Live exchange rates for the South African rand to the New Zealand Dollar. Historic exchange rates for 10 days ✔ 10 months ✔ 10 years ✔ Calculate your money transfer to NZD.
Ask an Expert