Japan Post Bank international transfer: Fees, rates and transfer time

24.02.18
8 minute read
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With Japan Post Bank you can transfer money abroad through some local post offices. However, you can’t organise your international money transfer at every single post office branch, so it’s worth checking whether your local branch has this service. There are also some limitations on where you can send currency, and which countries can transfer money into Japan Post Bank accounts.

Understanding your options means that you can pick the best service based on your needs, avoiding surprises and unnecessary fees. And, likely, using a service like TransferWise could save you even more money. But more on that later.


A quick example before we get started.

A theoretical bank transfer sending ¥150,000 from Japan to a pound sterling bank account in the UK.

While the prices between the two may look comparable, what isn’t often mentioned is that, on average, banks and money transfer providers often mark up an exchange rate by 4-6% to make money on converting your currency. Which means it’s a good idea to compare the exchange rate you’re offered with an online currency converter to find out how much your international transfer is really costing you.

In addition, nearly all transfers sent internationally are sent via SWIFT. Which means there are likely 1-3 intermediary banks as well as the recipient bank that may levy fees of their own. Costing you even more.

Provider Fee Exchange Rate Total Cost
Japan Post Bank ¥2,000 Exchange rate + markup ¥2,000 + exchange rate markup + likely fees from both intermediary and recipient banks
TransferWise ¥1,190 The real exchange rate - the same one you find on Google ¥1,190

Now that you know a little more about how much an international transfer really costs, here’s what you should know about making an international transfer - also known as an international remittance - with Japan Post Bank.

What are the fees for an international remittance with Japan Post Bank?

Japan Post Bank’s normal international money transfer rates are below. However, there are limitations on which countries you can send money to, and also which countries can send money into Japan. The bank advises that you visit their branch or a post office with the remittance service, to talk to the advisors there.

(Source 22 January 2018)

Japan Post Bank International transfer fees table

Japan Post Bank Transaction Fee
Incoming international transfer Japan Post Bank list a fixed fee of ¥2,500, with a comment that other intermediary banks might also take fixed fees depending on the nature of the transfer. There are fees of USD10 for transfers exceeding USD100, or EUR5 for transfers exceeding EUR100.
Outgoing international transfer Using online banking - ¥2,000Using a Japan Post Bank branch directly - ¥2,500In either case, the website advises customers to visit an advisor in one of the post offices offering remittance services to get tailored advice
Additional fees may apply See additional fees section

(Source 22 January 2018)

Japan Post Bank exchange rates

Japan Post Bank warns customers about a few charges that will impact their transfer, but it’s not only the flat fees which are important. If you’re sending money through Japan Post Bank, you also need to know if the exchange rate used is fair. Here’s a translation of the bank’s policy on calculating exchange rates, as detailed on their website:

>The exchange rate is changed every business day, for the US dollar at 11 am, for other currencies at noon. If the exchange rate fluctuates dramatically after the change, we may change again even if it is on the same day.

So in most cases, you’ll be able to find out Japan Post Bank’s exchange rate for the day when you place your transfer. However, it’s important to realise it’s not always Japan Post Bank that sets the rate used in an international transfer. Depending on the details of your transaction, an intermediary bank might choose the exchange rate to apply. There’s no guarantee that the rate used will be the same as the exchange rate given on Google. In fact, if an intermediary picks your rate, you’re unlikely to find out about the deal you’re getting until after the payment has been completed.

(Source 22 January 2018)

Additional fees from Japan Post Bank

International transfers with Japan Post Bank Additional fees
Intermediary/Recipient bank fees If your transfer is processed using the SWIFT system, banks other than Japan Post Bank can also add their own flat fees. Japan Post Bank list some of the intermediary fees here, so you can see you’ll have a $10 charge for USD transfers above $100, for example. This is on top of any fees you have already paid to Japan Post Bank, and usually removed from the transfer amount as it passes through the system.
Other fees for outgoing transfers Japan Post Bank lists a possible registration fee (handling fee taken by receiving organization) or brokerage fee (fee taken by intermediary bank mediating remittance processing) - however, these can not be confirmed at the point of processing your transfer
Remittance from overseas made in USD USD10 fee for any transfers over USD100, in addition to any other fees, levied
Remittance from overseas made in EUR EUR5 fee for any transfer over EUR100, in addition to any other fees, levied

(Source 1, Source 2 22 January 2018)

A cheap and transparent alternative: TransferWise

There are some limitations on which transfers can be processed through Japan Post Bank, which means it’s not the right service for everyone. If it doesn’t suit your needs then it’s worth understanding all your options. In many cases, you can move your money for less, and with less stress, using a specialist in international money transfers like TransferWise.

If you need to do international money transfers frequently, or you live or work abroad, a TransferWise borderless multi-currency account can help. With it, you can hold money in several different currencies, and then exchange it when it suits you. If you’re paid in the EU, the UK, Australia or the US but don’t live there, you can get paid using local bank details with a borderless account. That means that there’s no international payment involved at all, so you don’t need to worry about potential hidden fees.

See for yourself if you can get a better deal with TransferWise.

How do you make an international bank transfer (international remittance) with Japan Post Bank?

You can make an international money transfer via Japan Post Bank at some post office branches. If you want to place your transfer in person, you need to check if your local post office branch can offer this service, as it’s not available at every post office.

Newer accounts might not have the remittance function activated yet, so you’ll have to set this service up the first time you use it. There are also some limits on where you can transfer money to, and which countries can send cash into a Japan Post Bank account. The bank suggests that you talk to an advisor at one of their branches, for more advice about your specific circumstance.

(Source 22 January 2018)

What do I need in order to make an international money transfer?

The exact information you’re asked for will depend on the details of the transfer - but you can expect to need the following:

  • The transfer amount
  • The full name of the person you’re sending the money to, as written on the account
  • The recipient’s IBAN if you’re sending to Europe, or destination country, account number and branch details if not
  • Depending on where your money is being transferred to, you might need the SWIFT/BIC code, or routing code if you’re transferring to the USA

(Source 22 January 2018)

What do I need or what should I give to the sender in order to receive an international bank transfer?

If you’re expecting to receive an international money transfer with Japan Post Bank you’ll need to give the sender the following:

  • Your full name and address
  • Your complete account details, which consist of your account number, and the bank branch details - including full address
  • The intermediary bank details, if the transfer is being made in USD or EUR
  • The correct SWIFT/BIC code
  • The amount to be transferred - and the currency to be used. Don’t forget to take into account any charges when you agree on the amount.

You might find that the bank asks for the contact phone number for both you and the person initiating the transfer, as under anti-corruption legislation they can call to confirm the purpose of the payment.

Japanese banks don’t use the IBAN system, which is common across Europe. For this reason, you need to make sure you give as much detail as possible about your account and the bank it’s held with. Using the right SWIFT/BIC code is crucial as well - use this helpful tool to find, or check your SWIFT/BIC code.

(Source 1, Source 2 22 January 2018)

How long does an international bank transfer with Japan Post Bank take?

The length of time taken to complete an international money transfer depends on the destination and currency being used. It can take anything from a day or two to a week or more.

(Source 22 January 2018)

Is there any way to make a faster transfer for an extra fee?

The bank doesn’t offer any way to speed up payments.

Contact / Help - More questions around your transfer?

If you have specific questions about your transfer, you can talk to the advisors at Japan Post Bank. Your best bet is to get help in person, at a post office offering remittance services. Because there are some limits on what transactions can be carried out, talking to an expert is a smart idea.

If you need to make an international money transfer in or out of Japan, it pays to know your options. Using your regular bank might not be the best idea, in terms of both price and convenience. Do a little research in advance, and choose the right, safe, efficient and fairly priced international money transfer service for your needs. When you compare all the costs, you might find that you can get a good deal when you use TransferWise for your international payment.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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