New to living in Japan? New job? New house? It is about time to get your bank account sorted as well.
If you are a resident in Japan you should be able to open a bank account – the requirements depend on the bank, though. You cannot open a bank account in Japan on a 90 days tourist visa.
Generally, you are eligible if you are in possession of a working or student visa and you either work full-time at a company with an office in Japan or have resided in Japan for at least 6 months. But if that’s not you, don’t worry; read on and check out the requirements from some of the more lenient banks.
If you are a student, your institution will most likely help you set up an account when you arrive in Japan.
Different Options to Open a Bank Account in Japan
Keep on reading to get to know more about the different banks and options you can choose from to open a bank account in Japan.
SBI Shinsei is one of the most English-friendly banks in Japan, perfect if you are still quite new to the country. The pros with Shinsei include online banking in English and the possibility to use your signature instead of a “hanko” (personal seal) which is usually required in most Japanese banks.
To apply to open an account with Shinsei, you have to:
- Download and fill out the application form directly from the Shinsei website.
- Send the filled application form, ID (Residence card or Special Permanent Resident Certificate), and a copy of one document between a Japanese driver’s license, your Residence Certificate, or an original copy of a utility bill receipt by mail to the bank.
- It can take about 10 working days to 2 weeks after sending the application form to receive your cash card, Internet Security Code Card, and PIN. Please note that it may take longer during busy seasons, so registering for an account early is recommended.
Shinsei also has a comprehensive amount of introductory help videos and How-to-Guides available in English.
SMBC – Sumitomo Mitsui
SMBC is another efficient and English-friendly bank you should consider using when moving to study or work in Japan.
You can open an account both by visiting a branch directly or by applying online.
Two different methods for verification are available online: you can either use your smartphone to upload the required ID and then take a selfie, or you can apply using your PC or tablet (2 different IDs will need to be uploaded).
- Enter the required information. Your name and surname will have to be filled in the exact same way as it is displayed on the residence card.
- Upload all necessary documents: two types of identity verification are required when applying from PC or tablet: Residence Card or Special Permanent Resident Certificate and one document of choice between a Driver’s License, My Number Card or Health Insurance Card.
If you have been in Japan for less than 6 months, you will also need to upload one of the following documents: an employee ID, Health Insurance Card, or a Certificate of Employment provided by your company.
- You will need to have a Japanese sim card with a Japanese mobile number in order to complete the required SMS authentication phase. The registration procedure will not be completed until you authenticate by clicking on the URL that has been sent to your Japanese mobile number.
- After you successfully complete your application it will take you will receive your cash card and PIN at the postal address provided upon registration. This can take a minimum of about 10 working days.
The whole process is also clearly and concisely explained in a video on the SMBC website, and SMBC also has a fully English-language smartphone app.
MUFG is the biggest and leading bank in Japan, with branches in 40 other countries.
MUFG has an online registration program but is unfortunately unavailable for foreigners. Since documentation has to be verified in person, non-Japanese nationals need to visit a branch to open an account.
To open a bank account at a branch, you will have to:
- Book your appointment at the desired branch
- Fill in your personal information and complete the pre-registration form prior to visiting the branch on your appointment
- Print out the completed pre-registration document of point 2 and visit the bank on the day of your appointment. You must bring your residence card, personal seal and your My Number Card (or a document through which your Individual Number can be verified).
- Once the registration procedure is completed at the bank, you will receive your cash card and bank book in around 7~14 days.
Yucho – Japan Post Bank
Japan Post, popular with students, is probably the easiest way of opening a bank account in Japan since there are so many branches all around Japan, and the requirements are more lenient.
To open an account with Japan Post:
- Fill out an application form on the Japan Post Bank website and print it out.
- Visit your nearest Japan Post Branch and bring the application form to the appropriate counter in the post office.
Don’t forget your ID (Residence card and passport) and personal seal.
In addition, you can apply to “Yucho Direct” which is the internet banking service available also in English, through which you can manage your account and transfer money.
Check out Guidable’s guide on how to apply to Yucho direct service.
Are You Ready to Open Your First Bank Account in Japan?
With this brief insight on how to open a bank account, you should have realized that opening a bank account in Japan is not actually hard at all, and there are several English support hassle-free online registration options that save you time and a bad headache. Have all your documents ready, and your bank account will be good to go in no time!