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Best way to tranfer money for a student 2008/8/13 14:46
Hi everybody, this is my first post, I've just joined this forum because I've always found it very helpful, and precisely I'm in need of your help and experience. Please read my situation:

I'm going to Tokyo in about a month, I'll be an exchange student at Sophia University for a year. I have won a scholarship but I've been told I'll have to wait one month before I receive my first stipend, so I'll have to pay the first month from my pocket.

I know Japan is safe an everything, but I really wouldn't like to carry so much cash, so I was thinking about opening a bank account here in my home country (Mexico), in an international bank like citybank or HSBC, then have my parents deposit to my account, and withdraw the money in Tokyo. It's probable I also use this account to send money occasionally from Japan to Mexico, but besides that, I don't think I'll be using it that much, since I plan to manage the scholarship money through a japanese bank account.

So, what are your opinions on this? Think it'll work? Is there a better option? I'll be very thankful if you can give me any advice.

by beto_gp  

If it's only one month 2008/8/13 15:37
If it's only one month of funds that you'll need, why don't you just bring it all with you and deposit it into a Japanese bank account as soon as you get here? It'll save the hassle of having to open an unnecessary bank account and you wouldn't have to pay foreign transaction fees/wiring fees either. If anything, bring the money as Traveler's Cheques so that you're protect just incase you lose it/it gets stolen.
by Dan rate this post as useful

and Japan to Mexico money transfers? 2008/8/13 16:22
Thanks for answering, Dan.

Well, yes, I really won't be needing any more money from my parents after that month, so I might take the risk to carry all in cash. No problem there. (But just in case, would citybank or HSBC work?...just in case...)

But now the concern would be, how can I send money from Japan to Mexico in a safe and convenient way? The thing is, right now the scholarship money is not in my hands, so my parents are covering everything (flight, apartment fees, living expenses...etc.) Once I get the scholarship money I'd like to give them back some of that money. I don't think I'll be able to give them all at once, probably I will have to do it in parts. What's the best way to do so? I thought of wire transfers but, isn't that a little too expensive? That's the reason I was considering the whole Citibank/HSBC thing. I'd like to know what's the best deal.

Thanks again. Your help is very appreciated.

by beto_gp rate this post as useful

. 2008/8/13 16:28
I don't think Citibank would give you a better wire transfer rate then any other bank.

Citibank in Japan is different from Citibank in the US or say Mexico. Pretty much all it does is share the same name. A citibank ATM card from the US used in a Citibank ATM used in Japan will still get charged as "off network".

A safe and easy way that isn't expensive to send money from Japan to Mexico (if it is not a lot of money) is sending a "International Postal Money Order", from Japan. I think the limit is like 70,000 yen (or something like that). But you can send more then one, so I guess thats a mute point.

I know many people in the US send money to mexico via International Postal Money orders. I guess it should be just as safe from Japan to Mexico.
by John rate this post as useful

banking 2008/8/13 19:42
These days the GoLloyds remittance service ( www.golloyds.com ) costs about the same as the post office, and once you have it set up you can send money home from an ATM without any more paperwork. I have been using this service for years, with no complaints. Often if I send money in the morning it will be in my home country by the afternoon.

As above, Citibank in Japan and other countries are not really connected. HSBC may be different but it doesn't have a lot of branches- in fact I can't remember seeing any, so even if it is more connected it won't necessarily be that convenient.

Shinsei is a good bank because you can set up an account with them without visiting a branch (you must be resident in Japan already, i.e. have your alien card), and they have online banking in English.
by Sira rate this post as useful

HSBC 2008/8/13 20:49
HSBC seems to have four branches in Tokyo: Akasaka, Hiroo, Marunouchi and Ginza.
by . rate this post as useful

. 2008/8/13 23:07
I was speaking in the sense of Postal Money Orders (if the repayment value isn't too high), instead of JP Post Account wire transfers.

Postal Money Orders you don't pay high wire transfer fees or anything, since it isn't a wire transfer, but instead you are mailing a money order through the post that has to be cashed in on the other end. Probably the cheapest option you have, of course you need someone on the other end (eg their parents to cash it).

Send it through registered mail (kind of slow, but everywhere it goes, someone has to sign for it, so its somewhat secure), thought not as secure as a regular wire transfer.

International Postal Money Orders cost something like 500yen? Plus shipping costs to mail it, vs. 2000-3000 yen for regular bank wire transfers.

Not the fastest way of doing things, but if you're really on a tight budget its another one of those alternatives out there.
by John rate this post as useful

That was some help! 2008/8/14 03:55
Thanks a lot for your help guys!

Well, looks like now I have some more options and all of them seem to do the job just fine.

I'll consider all options but I'd like to know more about GoLloyds, looks interesting. Does it have support in english? How does it work? Is it just about inputing someone's account information and sending the money? Do they charge a fee?

As I said before, I really won't be using these service that much. In fact, I'll probably use it only two or three times to send like, say, 100,000 (each time), so is not really a problem for me the lack of ATMs as it won't be my regular bank account.

For my japanese bank account, what do you recommend the best, Shinsei or Sumitomo?
by beto_gp rate this post as useful

banking 2008/8/14 08:16
John, I believe that as of a couple of years ago, the cost of sending money through the post office went up to around 2,000 yen, making it no more of a deal than GoLloyds these days, and it requires filling out a form each time.

As for the difference between Sumitomo and Shinsei, as I wrote above, with Shinsei you can open an account without visiting a branch, and can get online and telephone banking in English. Their ATMs are open much longer hours and there are no fees for withdrawals, no matter what the day or time. Not so for Sumitomo, which is a standard Japanese bank, just like Mizuho or Tokyo Mitsubishi-UFJ.
by Sira rate this post as useful

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