Using a Japanese Bank Account

Find out about the products and services available from banks in Japan, plus bank opening times...

Cash is widely used in Japan when making a purchase, even for large amounts. However, credit cards and cash cards are gaining in popularity. Not all shops accept credit or debit cards.

Once an account has been opened the following services are available through the bank:

  • Cash card allowing the account holder to check the balance, withdraw and transfer money at the ATMs found at all banks, as well as some supermarkets, convenience stores, and stations
  • Internet banking
  • Telephone banking
  • Automatic bank transfer (koza furikae/jido hikiotoshi): all bills for gas, water, electricity, telephone can be paid via automatic bank transfer. It is necessary to apply for this facility at the bank and there is generally no charge

Customers also receive a bank book (tsucho). All transactions, such as withdrawals and deposits can be printed in the bankbook by using an ATM.

Because bank books are generally used, banks do not usually send bank statements to customers.

Credit cards

Credit cards usually offer various features and services. The card holder can choose the repayment method and may collect points (which can be converted to air miles or used to obtain gifts). A credit card may also come with additional features and services such as travel insurance, depending on the type of card.

ATMs/Cash machines

Usually ATM machines are located within banks, as well as within shopping centres, supermarkets and in some department stores. Opening hours differ from bank to bank and machine to machine, although many ATMs are open 24 hours a day.

There may be a fee for using an ATM machine at the weekend, during a public holiday or if using an ATM of another bank.

Many ATMs do not accept foreign cards, especially outside of large cities. However, Japan Post Bank ATMs usually accept foreign cards.

Cheques

Cheques are generally not used to pay at stores and shops, and there may be a fee for cheque based transactions. Cheque accounts are generally used for business purposes only and it is more complex to open one of these accounts.