Wednesday, April 06, 2011

GoLloyds: 2000yen International Bank Transfers with GoLloyds Japan (see below for more options). It's also the cheapest I've seen at 2,000yen a time.

GoLloyds is a go-between from Japan to your home-country bank account. You transfer money domestically from your Japanese account to GL, who will then send it to your chosen target. Because it's a domestic transfer initially, it shouldn't cost you anything other than the GL surcharge.

  1. Go to this GoLlyods webpage and download the application form,
  2. Send GL a printed copy of the form, along with 
    1. a copy of your passport  
    2. AND a copy of one of the following (showing your address). Don't forget to copy both sides.
      1. your gaijin card
      2. health insurance card
      3. driving licence
      4. inhabitant certificate
  3. Write Dominic Beverley as your referrer!
    The address is
    GoLloyds Registrations
    Lloyds TSB Bank plc.

    ATT, New Tower (5F)
    2-11-7 Akasaka
    Tokyo 107-0052
    〒107-0052 東京都港区赤坂2-11-7 赤坂ツインタワー新館 5F

    It might be worth checking all this information on their website before applying.

    Transfering Money
    1. GL will send you a letter, in English, with the instructions for how to send money,
    2. Take the letter to your bank (any branch is ok) ATM
    3. On the ATM, choose the 振込 option (furikomi/bank transfer)
    4. Follow the letter's instructions for number input etc
      1. Remember that sending after 3pm will use the next day's exchange rates
    5. Save your bank details to the ATM when prompted (if you want)
    6. Wait 24-36 hours and check your foreign bank

    As all banks will, GL skims a little off your money through their exchange rate. It's pretty much the same as anywhere else, but if you're sending a vast amount of cash then you might want to shop around to be sure you're getting the best rate.

    • Currency website used to have a good service for this, but it no longer serves Japan.
    • CitiBank also offers this service with almost immediate transfer. You don't even need to have an account with them. The charge is 3,500 yen. More info on their site.
    • Some people have also reported being able to use a PayPal account linked to two personal bank accounts in different countries; paying into one and withdrawing from another.


    1. Word on the street is that money Western Union is in a deal with 7-11's banking division so that you will be able to recieve and (possibly)transfer cash via in-store ATM. A few other companies are also taking advantage of the 2006 revision of the Funds Settlement Law that allowed non-Japanese firms into the local market. Seeing as how I have seemingly nothing to do all day, I will try and do some internet sloothing.

    2. The Post Office is still a better option than Lloyds - it's cheaper. Shinsei Bank is better than all of them because they offer 24hr. English support.

    3. SofJ: Last time I used the PO it was 2,500, and Shinsei Bank is 3,500 if I remember rightly. I wrote this post was after continually screwing up the overly-complex forms at the PO. The main advantage of GL is the simplicity. It's a piece of cake.

    4. GL is really easy and simple, cheap, you can check rates online and go when it is best for you.
      Shinsei Bank is a good option due to the English support if you have one near you. My nearest one is an hour by train, then a bit of a walk. Not a good option for me!
      The post office is good, but closes at 4pm. So unless you have the time during weekdays it involves begging for time off, or sneaking out of work during the day.

      All options are good, I guess it all depends on personal circumstances.

    5. Thanks soab.

      Those of us working as teachers have the right to take off time for the post office, bank etc. as long as it doesn't interfere with lessons - just ask kyoto sensei. Everyone else... ganbatte.

    6. I don't understand the comment by SofJ that the Post Office is cheaper. From what I can tell, the P.O. charges 2,500 yen and Lloyds charges 2,000 yen. In either case, there will be an additional charge by the intermediary bank in the destination country. For example, in the case of sending money to the US, an intermediary bank charges $10.00, and this seems to be the same whether you use the P.O. or Lloyds. Am I missing something?

    7. Don't forget to check the rate used by the institution. Plenty of places will offer a low fee to draw customers in but will adjust their TTS/TTB rates even as much as a couple yen. If you are transferring fairly large amounts of cash (say, in the 1,000s of dollars or 100,000s of yen range), a 2.00 difference in the TTS/TTB rate would cost you as much or more than a 2,000 yen fee.

      Furthermore, the rate reported by each financial institution differs. e.g. Right now, the TTS/TTB at Citi is 81.70/79.70, but over at Lloyds it's 81.42/79.42. Citi and Lloyds happen to use the same margin (TTS is 1.00 up from the middle rate, and TTB is 1.00 down.) But, Shinsei's margins are a bit smaller: On TTS 0.50 up and on TTB 0.50 down. Also, customers with preferred accounts at Shinsei (e.g. a large balance in the bank) are able to use a TTS/TTB a little bit closer to the middle rate.