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Using ATM Cards Vs. Bringing Cash 2009/11/16 06:47
United States
OK, so I know that a lot of US banks' ATM cards will work in Japan, but is there a fee involved for using the card and exchanging the money?

I'm trying to figure out if it would be cheaper for my wife and I just to bring cash or if our ATM cards would work the same way. We're kind of wary about carrying a bunch of cash with us.

Also, if there isn't a fee for using ATM cards, would we be able to use those at the post offices in Japan?
by tcatsninfan  

atm 2009/11/17 15:18
OK, so I know that a lot of US banks' ATM cards will work in Japan, but is there a fee involved for using the card and exchanging the money?

Usually yes. My bank (Bank of America) charges $3.50 per transaction with a $300 per day atm withdrawal limit.

I'm trying to figure out if it would be cheaper for my wife and I just to bring cash or if our ATM cards would work the same way. We're kind of wary about carrying a bunch of cash with us.

You could use them as a credit card but again check the fees. My bank charges 3% for foreign transactions making withdrawing cash from an atm more economical.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Yes, if you are careful 2009/11/18 11:24
Many of the US Navy Credit Union ATMs have no fees if you will be near joint bases. In some cases, they are on the street (Yokosuka), and you don't even have to be able to enter the base. I have also had luck with ATMs at shopping malls (Narita). Overall, I'd have to recommend bringing a fair amount of cash for basic expenses, and only using ATMs to replenish your supply when you run short (when, not if).
Best wishes.
by CIH (guest) rate this post as useful

ATM and credit cards 2009/11/18 12:55
I have a credit card that does not charge a foreign currency transaction fee - Capital One. Also my TD Ameritrade Debit Card doesn't charge one either. You need to check with your bank and credit card companies - they are the ones that charge the fees.

The Japan Post Office doesn't have a fee and I haven't been charged one in a 711 Store although I read there sometimes is a nominal fee for withdrawals there....
by Maranyc rate this post as useful

ATM 2009/11/19 06:51
I have been travelling to Japan many times and only take 10 000 Yen max for the first day. I pay for hotels and bigger purchases with a credit card and get cash with an ATM card, at a 7-11 since they started accepting foreign cards.
The fees paid are nominal compared to the price of a drink here, a snack there. this is part and parcel of travelling.

On Friday December 31, 1999, when everyone was worrying about all the computers crashing at the first minute of Jan. 1, 2000, my buddy came to my workplace with my suitcase, one of my suits etc. big belated birthday surprise!
We arrived on January 1 in Paris . I had no French money at all, only 50 $ cash and the banks were closed.
The first ATM I tried worked just fine.
Ever since I had rather use ATM and credit cards than carry huge wads of cash.
by Red frog (guest) rate this post as useful

Try the postoffice ATM 2009/11/21 01:45
I think the best way (and I didn't see it posted) is by going to a Japanese post office (Yuubinkyouku)ATM to draw out money. I don't think they charge anything for the transaction besides doing the money conversion(or if they do it's probably only a few bucks to do it because my statements only show what I convert out on the charge). You can select to pull out money in English if you are not very good with Japanese, and I've been able to pull out over 700 dollars worth of yen at one time before, so it's a pretty good safegard on being sure you have money on call. I use BofA back home, and its the only place I can pull out money. I think its a lot easier doing it in increments though, especially because there are post offices near every station, and they are pretty easy to find normally with their obnoxious orange signs. Be careful on sundays though, they only have a few ATM's open around Tokyo then, and even if they are you can't take OUT money, just put it in.
by Eimi (guest) rate this post as useful

There is more than fee... 2009/11/21 04:50
Hi,
I just want to mention that fee is one thing. But banks use also different exchange rates. So maybe you find an ATM with none or low fees but maybe this ATM/bank has a bad exchange rate...
by B. Slager (guest) rate this post as useful

ATM Vs Cash 2009/11/24 14:11
--------I'm trying to figure out if it would be cheaper for my wife and I just to bring cash or if our ATM cards would work the same way. We're kind of wary about carrying a bunch of cash with us.--------

The way I see it, with current weak dollar, ATM will cost more than cash for an exchange no matter how you look at it.
It would less cost effective to carry cash and use your credit card for large payments such as for hotels, etc as others here mentioned previously. Cash is relatively safe to carry if you guarded but don't recommend carry it all in one place. Traveler's Cheque is one way to secure and carry your cash. It can be
replaced if you loose it.
Cash or travelers cheques can be easily exchanged at foreign exchange location at the airport upon your arrival, their exchange rate is closest to current.
by BOBO (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/11/24 17:50
As someone else mentioned, the best thing to do is to get a Capital One credit card. They're the only ones that doesn't charge the 3% foreign exchange fee and credit cards have the best exchange rate.

A relative of mine just came here last week and he said the exchange rate at the airport was $1 = 79 yen--pretty awful. I would use the Post Office ATM if you need to use cash.
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

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