Type of Accounts
In Japan, you can open a Savings Account (Futsuu-yokin Kouza 普通預金口座) for personal use. A Checking account (Touza-yokin Kouza 当座預金口座) is basically only available for corporate use, whereas you cannot pay for shopping purchases by check. If you want to have an account only for depositing, a Time Deposit Account (Teiki Yokin Kouza 定期預金口座) is available for personal use.
How to open a bank account
To open a bank account, you need to visit a bank and bring the following;
1) Alien Registration Card (Foreign resident registration card)
You are required to register at the local government office in the city you live.
If you have a Japanese national insurance card, you can also use it when opening an account.
2)Hanko (Japanese Seal)
There are cases where you are required to use a Hanko (or called Inkan) instead of signature. It is depends on the bank you apply for.
Hanko (Inkan) is usually required to open an account at Japanese banks.
3) Your name in Katakana
Katakana shows how your name is pronounced in Japanese. For example, John would be like "ジョン".
4) Select a 4 number password
You can select 4 numbers for the password of your cash card (in other countries this numbered password is he same as a PIN: Personal Identification Number) You are not allow to use the simple order of numbers like your birthday date or phone number for security reasons.
5) Deposit Money
You are required to make an initial deposit of cash into your bank account. You should deposit at least 1000 yen.
When your application is accepted, the bank gives you a Bankbook (Yokin Tsuucho) to record your balance at the ATM. Your cash card is sent by registered-mail to your address at a letter date.
A Tips and Reminders
There is an understanding that it is not easy to apply for a bank account by non-Japanese for the following reasons.
- Problems of a fixed address. (In case the place you live is not fixed.)
- Problems with your Hanko (Some banks require Hanko for application. You might not be able to open an account with only a signature.)
- Problems with the length of your stay in Japan. (If your stay is short, you can’t open an account as you are defined as a visitor).
- Problems in completing the application form. (Application forms provided at bank might be only in Japanese.)
To avoid these problems, it is better to go with a Japanese person, like a friend or colleague, who speaks Japanese.
Japanese Bankers Association