Friday, December 30, 2011
Banking in Japan #4: Internet Banking and Net Banks
In this section we will explain how to bank online in Japan as well as the various net-banking options.
Setting up Online Banking
After opening up a bank account you will be able to sign up for online banking if your institution offers it. In order to set up online banking you must apply either in person or fill out the forms by hand and mail them in. Every bank has different rules so make sure you inquire when you open an account.
Generally speaking, after processing your application your bank will send you a card that usually has a unique log in code which you can use to start setting up your online banking. Other banks have additional security including a string of random numbers attached to certain characters that you must enter before completing online transactions. In the event that you do lose or forget something you can always ask your bank to send another copy although it may take several days.
This service is not necessarily free. Be prepared to shell out 100yen or more a month.
Finally, many online banking services are not open 24 hours. As nutty as that sounds, many banks shut off various services in the evening and late a night. Hours vary by bank, but generally speaking inter-bank transfers stop at 3:00 and can be reserved for the next business day until some time in the evening. Balance checks generally stop before midnight. Make sure to ask your bank about their schedule as well as their maintenance times.
In the last few years banks that operate only on the internet have become increasingly popular. Some of the big players include Japan Net Bank, Rakuten Bank, and Sumishin SBI Netbank. In addition to operating entirely online, these banks offer cheap bank transfers and superior online banking portals geared towards people who engage in a lot of e-commerce.
That being said, net banks are still subject to the same rules and regulations as regular banks so you usually have to sign up manually. You'll still need to request and complete the forms by hand. Some banks may require additional information to verify your address such as a recent utility receipt or tax slip.
Generally speaking, putting money in and taking money out is done via bank transfers although some net banks have deals with convenience store ATMs and other big banks that allow you to use their network for deposits and withdraws (for a fee).
Other Posts in This Series
# 1 The Basics
# 2 Opening an Account
# 3 Savings and Fixed Deposits
# 4 Internet Banking and Net Banks
# 5 J-Debit and Pay Easy
# 6 ATMs
# 7 Domestic Money Transfers
# 8 International Money Transfers