Nearest Banks and ATMs from OIST
- Bank of Okinawa (沖縄銀行)
Address: 2491-1 Onna, Onna-son
- Bank of the Ryukyus (琉球銀行)
Address:: 2-23-6 Ishikawa, Uruma-shi
- Japan Post Bank (ゆうちょ銀行)
Address:: 107 Nakadomari, Onna-son
- Bank of Okinawa (沖縄銀行)
Level C, OIST Center Building
- Family Mart (ファミリーマート)
Address:: 1917 Tancha, Onna-son
TEL: 098- 965-6550
- Lawson (ローソン)
Address:: 2581 Onna, Onna-son
You can pay most bills by taking the invoice to a bank or convenience store (Lawson, FamilyMart, etc.) and paying in cash. Or, you can set up an automatic bank payment at your bank. To set up an automatic bill payment for rent and water, please check with your landlord/realtor. For electricity and gas, you need to bring an invoice, ID, and your inkan to your bank. Phone (cell phone) bills can be arranged at the time you apply for your line.
If there is not enough money in your account at the time of automatic payment, usually the company will send out a notice stating that it tried unsuccessfully to withdraw money from your account, and will make a second attempt later. You may need to pay directly at the bank in cases of insufficient funds or overdue bills.
Loans and Credit Cards
1. Bank Loans
It is difficult, though possible, to get a bank loan in Japan as a foreigner. You must be employed in Japan, and you will need to bring such documents as your passport, Residence Card or Alien Registration Card, and proof of employment (consult your bank to find out what is necessary). You must also find a guarantor. The bank may ask to see a permanent residence permit. Some banks offer loans to foreigners more readily than others. Please check with the various banks for requirements.
2. Credit Cards
Japan is very much a cash-based society and credit cards are not used as widely as in the West. This is especially true in Okinawa. It is very difficult for non-Japanese to obtain a credit card from a Japanese bank or credit company. You can still use your credit card from your country. However, some places will not accept a credit card issued outside of Japan.
Because OIST is enrolled in Private School Mutual Aid, employees, students and their dependents who are enrolled in this scheme are eligible to receive a PSMA credit card.
Sending Money Overseas
1. GoLloyds Remittance
GoLloyds is offered by Lloyds TSB Japan (a UK-based bank). You must send at least ¥150,000 every time you send money. The money will be deposited by Lloyds in a foreign bank account that you specify. Lloyds charges ¥2000 for handling your money. Your bank in Japan will charge as small fee (around ¥500) to transfer the money to Lloyds, and the bank where you are sending the money may also charge a fee. The total can be ¥3000 to ¥4000. This is similar to other remittance services, but GoLloyds offers very competitive exchange rates. Therefore, on the whole, it may be the cheapest option. The money should arrive in the bank account that you specify one business day after you transfer the money to Lloyds.
To use GoLloyds, visit their website, download and print out the application，and send it to the Lloyds TSB office in Tokyo. GoLloyds will send you a reply letter with instructions on making transfers from your bank's ATM. The instructions are written in English and Japanese, so you can simply show these to a bank employee if you are not able to operate the ATM yourself.
2. Bank Remittance Checks
Bank Remittances vary from bank to bank. This method is safe but slow, and requires the cooperation of a friend or relative in the country you are sending the money to if you want to deposit the money in your own account. At the Japanese bank，yen or foreign currency is written as a check that you can mail to anyone. It may take 4 to 5 days for the bank to prepare the check. The recipient can then cash the check at a bank you specify，and deposit it as per your instructions. On the Japanese side, you may be charged fees of ¥2500 to ¥5000. There may be additional fees at the bank where the check is deposited.
3. Telegraphic Transfer
Japanese banks can also send money directly to an account you specify. The Japanese bank will take a commission of ¥4000 to ¥5000 (or more depending on the connections between banks), and you will have to exchange currencies at the bank's exchange rate. Your bank, or other intermediary banks, may charge additional fees. Telegraphic transfers should get your money to the recipient account quite quickly. If you have a Japanese bank account, applying for online banking may give you access to a slightly less expensive way to send funds overseas (around ¥3,000 per transfer, depending on the destination country).
4. International Postal Money Order
The post office can write postal money orders that can be cashed at foreign post offices. You must exchange yen for the appropriate foreign currency. One postal money order is limited to a set amount (for example USD 700.00.) The post office will send the postal money order for you by registered mail. Still this method can take approximately 5 to 14 days to reach its destination. (However, it has been known to take up to six weeks for some countries). However, you can send as many money orders as you want. Each money order costs ¥2500, and further charges may be deducted from the money you send.
You can exchange foreign currencies at banks and exchange shops. Also there is an exchange machine at AEON for U.S. dollars to Yen. Exchange shops offer better rates than banks. Edoya, one of the major exchange shops in Okinawa, deals with 32 currencies.
1-3-4 Mihama, Chatan-cho 098-987-5280
1-22-18 Chuo, Okinawa-shi 098-937-1333
*Please call ahead and confirm they have the currencies you would like to exchange in stock.