How to Send Money Home From Japan (Part 1)

Update: Hey Gang! This is a quick note to let you know that GoLloyd’s is now GoRemit a service owned by Shinesei Bank. To register you can go to the English version of the site here: Looks like some more updates are in order ;)

When people consider moving to Japan, one of the biggest concerns is taking care of those outstanding bills/debts from back home.  You know, the car payments, credit-card bills, student loans, etc.  This often makes people feel like they are tethered to their home countries; it’s a major reason people avoid making extended trips abroad.  I know because I’ve been there.  I remember being so worried about how I was going to handle my financial obligations if I came to Japan to live and work…for an entire year no less.  I nearly let my doubt get the better of me, and came incredibly close to missing one the most fulfilling experiences of my life.  Despite the worries, assured myself that everything would be fine and I came to Japan anyway.

So, I had a stable job, and was making enough to pay my bills…but…getting money to the US was a real hassle.  I had a hard time finding a service that would do it easily.  I searched and searched….and searched, but everything was either too expensive, or took too long.  In the mean time, bills were coming due, and they had to be paid.  Banks and student loan companies weren’t going to wait for me to finish searching for a convenient way to pay them.

My initial solution was 1) sending money to my family members via the Japan Post, 2) getting them to deposit it in my bank account, and then 3) finally making payments.  For some banks, you can also send the money order directly to them, but that still takes a bit of time.  The good thing about doing it this way is that it wasn’t so expensive.  After doing it the hard way a few times, though…waiting in line, filling out paper work for every transaction, paying for postage, etc., I thought to myself “There has to be a better way!!”

I ended up speaking to one of my American co-workers (and now good friends) and learned that it’s really not as hard as it seems.  I was introduced to a service called GoLloyd’s (

  • What is GoLloyd’s?   GoLloyds is the largest retail bank in the United Kingdom, it specializes in foreign currency deposits  and overseas remittances, but also does corporate and institutional banking.  The Tokyo Branch has been around since 1974.
  • How much does it cost to transfer money? There are three fees to consider when sending money overseas: 1) the domestic remittance fee to GoLloyds (from your bank here in Japan), 2) the ¥2000 GoLloyds commission fee, and 3) your home country’s wire fee. Yes, I know it’s sounds a bit scary, right.  But I’m telling your from experience…don’t worry…it’s not as bad as it seems. Here’s a real example:


My last transfer was on September 1, 2010, for ¥14,000.  I’ll show you a breakdown of the fees:

-¥14,000-¥525 (Domestic remittance to GoLloyds)= ¥13,475

-¥13,475-¥2000 (GoLloyds Commision Fee)= ¥11,475

The amount I received in my US bank account for this transaction was $130.00.

-$130.00-$15.00 (Home bank, domestic wire transfer)= $115.00

So there is some expense involved, but depending on your home country’s exchange rate, sometimes you may lose a bit, and sometimes you may make a bit (the latter is always nice).


  • How fast is it?  I am from America, and if I make a transfer at 10:30 on weekday morning, it’s there by 10:30 pm the same day.  This may vary depending on your bank and country, but it’s really fast and efficient.
  • What do you need in order to sign up?
  1. An account to send your funds to (your bank account back home)
  2. A copy of your passport’s photo page
  3. A copy of a card with your official address (one of the following: Japanese Drivers License, Alien Registration Card, Inhabitant Certificate (issued within the last 3 months, or a Health Insurance Certificate)
  4. Home Bank Name and Address (I called my bank’s customer service department and found out in about 1 minute…don’t worry)
  5. Home Bank Branch/Routing Number and your account number (if you don’t have this info in Japan, you can get it pretty easily.  If you have online access to your account your can find this info, or…again, your bank’s customer service line should be able to help you)
  • How do I sign up?
  1. Visit the GoLloyds website
  2. Fill out the online application or simply print the PDF file.
  3. Mail your signed, original application along with the copies of your passport’s photo page, and one card with your official Japan address (please refer to the “What do you need in order to sign up?” section above).
  4. Wait 7-10 business days for your Welcome Pack.

This company was simply a godsend!  After filling out the brief application, and waiting about 2 weeks, I got my welcome pack in the mail.  Now, sending money home has never been easier.  I go to my branch bank ATM and within 2 minutes, my transaction is done.

(to be continued)…

Donald Ash

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Donald Ash is an ATLien expat who has been living in a Japanese time warp for the last six years. While in aforesaid time warp, he discovered that he absolutely loves writing, blogging, and sharing. Donald is the creator, writer, designer, editor, programmer, and occasional bad artist of blog (that's just way too many hats, dude). Wanna know more about this guy? Check out his "What's Your Story" page.
  • Amanda

    Yeah I need to do this, my trouble is finding a printer doh! Technically I’m not supposed to print at work buuut… :D

    • Donald Ash

      I hope it helps. Not being able to send money home can be a SEVERE hassle. I have definitely been there. If you have questions, let me know.

  • Ben

    Your method seems quite expensive. I have previously used for transfers between France and the UK. I know it doesn’t currently support JPY though… The British government offers some advice:

    • Donald Ash

      Thanks for the link, Ben :)

      Go Lloyds may have fees that are a tad high, but reasonable. With the yen being so strong in recent years it’s been working out quite nicely. Lloyd’s often has special deals and things that help you to get free remittances, it’s not as expensive as it seems.

  • Tuba

    I am a student from India and I too want to send money home for my student loan installments every month. But when I asked JP post where I have an account they said I could not because I was a student. Do u have any details for this. Or anyone you know of who can give me information on this. I am a Govt. Scholar here !!

    • Donald Ash

      Yeah, that sucks, Tuba. So let me get this right, did they say you couldn’t open an account because you’re a student? That’s weird. Honestly, though, I have never sent money home via my Japan post account. I actually have a separate bank account that I send money home with. Hmm…have you looked into any other banks?

  • The fees for using Go Lloyd’s are not bad. They are certainly better than Western Union, and transferring directly to your account will save family the hassle of depositing to your account for you. The standard fee for most banks here is 2,000, so it’s the same. I’d recommend sending enough for bills for three months, that way you only have to pay the fee once every so often. Thanks for maintaining such a great resource, Donald! You’ve been a great help to me!

    • Donald Ash

      Hey Ryan!

      That’s a great recommendation to save some money on the fees, thanks for putting it up.
      It is truly my pleasure. I hope to make it even better. Stay tuned :D

    • AH

      What???! This is an appalling method! It must be a covert advert for GoLloyds dressed up as a happy customer testimonial:(

      Look at the embarrassing facts of the transaction: First Donald loses 18% of his money with GoLloyds in Japan, then a further 12% of the rump gets shaven off in the US.

      Anyone would think that the banks hold us for optimistic fools…. Oh, ok.

      I use Xe to transfer £200 to Germany for just £4 cost, but they don’t cover Japan. If anyone gets any bright ideas for Japan please post it here. PayPal? Google wallet? ?????

  • Lorraine

    Hi.. how do you send money home at Japan Post Office bank?

  • Chelsea

    Thank you so much for sharing your tips! Also i wanna share with you one more my favorate money transfer tip in Japan. It is [Online MoneyGram]. in japanese moneygram branch ENREMIT serve the fastest online service in Japan. I usually send or receive money with It is so convenient and cheapest moneygram transfer service in japan. up to 100000JPY, just pnline apply and payment, that’s all. over to 100000jpy, before you need to register to them. i dont need to go theri office just online apply and online payment. receiving money too! they can send my money to my bank account. (every japanese bank they can send)

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