Best Savings Rates in Japan

Best Savings Rates in Japan – that will be the topic of this article.

Before beginning, it has to be remembered that it remains our position that saving is a losing game in an era of 0% interest rates, compared to long-term investing.

If you want to invest in more productive assets as an expat, don’t hesitate to contact me, email (advice@adamfayed.com) or use the WhatsApp function below.

Introduction:

Before we get to our main concept, which is about Best Savings Rates in Japan, we will have a look at some of the important definitions and other details.

Savings Account – usually, Savings Accounts are the type of accounts that are provided by banks and other financial institutions. Almost all the savings accounts offer interest on the money that has been deposited.

Because of the returns offered in the form of interest and their safety, people who want to have a steady growth in wealth opt for investing their funds in savings accounts. 

However, savings accounts do not provide higher returns when compared to other modes of investment such as trading with stocks, forex, and other investment vehicles. 

Most of the Savings Accounts offer accessibility to the funds, whenever the person wants to get their funds back. For some other accounts such as a fixed deposit account, there will be an early withdrawal fee if the person wants to get their funds before the period of maturity.

Everything you need to know:

Before a person moves to a country, he or she should take care of things such as acquiring a visa, finding a suitable location to reside, etc. Among all other things, opening a bank account is the most important thing that a person should do after relocating to another country.

Anyhow, the rules for opening a bank account might differ depending on the country in which you are trying to open an account. Some countries might have an extreme set of rules, while some countries make it easy for a person to open a bank account. 

Therefore, we will not only cover the details about the best savings rates in Japan, but we will also discuss the process of opening a bank account in Japan such as required documents, procedures, etc.

If you are a person who is working on a part-time basis in Japan, then you might need to pay a lot of attention to this aspect. However, if you are working in Japan on a full-time basis, your salary would generally be credited into your bank account.

It isn’t limited to that. The usual public services such as rent, utility bills, water bills, and others are also withdrawn from a bank account. Based on the bank you opted for, you might even be able to send money overseas with the help of an ATM.

By the time of writing this article, one Japanese Yen is equivalent to USD 0.0094, GBP 0.0067, and EUR 0.0078.

Conditions – When a foreigner wants to open a bank account in Japan, they would be required to possess a residency card, which is known by the name of ‘Zairyu Card’. 

Along with the Zairyu card, the individuals would also require a residency certificate called ‘Zyuminhyo’. 

People who are visiting Japan as a tourist or have a residence period less than 3 months, then he or she might not be able to get a residence card and residency certificate. 

This means people who want to stay in Japan for a period of fewer than 3 months can’t be able to open a bank account.

On the other hand, people who want to stay in Japan for a period of fewer than 6 months might be able to open a bank account.

Such types of people can create a non-resident yen deposit account, which is called ‘Hi-kyojusha-yen-yokin-kouza’. But they can’t create a normal savings account and therefore cannot transfer their funds overseas.

To make it a bit convenient for the people who want to live in Japan for a period of fewer than 3 months or 6 months, banks like Japan Post Bank allow individuals to create a regular savings account, which is called ‘Futsuu-yokin-kouza’.

The difference – So, what is the difference between a ‘Hi-kyojusha-yen-yokin-kouza’ (non-resident Yen deposit account) and ‘Futsuu-yokin-kouza’ (normal savings account)? 

The major difference is that the normal savings account can be used to remit funds overseas, while the non-resident Yen deposit account might not come in handy for doing so. 

When a person pays rent or any other utility bills using a credit card, the money is generally withdrawn from a normal savings account. People couldn’t be successful in paying those with a non-resident Yen deposit account.

To make it simple for you, a non-resident Yen deposit account can only be used to deposit money or withdraw it from an ATM. 

Opening an account – Any foreigner can open a bank account in Japan if they meet the requirements of opening a bank account in Japan.

Given below are some of the important documents and other requirements for opening a bank account in Japan. However, there might be a necessity for some additional documentation depending on the bank that you choose.

To confirm what is needed, it is better to visit a branch or contact the customer care of the respective bank.

  • Proof of Address

Being a foreigner, you must be able to present your permission to reside in Japan. Therefore, a valid residence and passport are necessary. 

It will be better if you bring along your health insurance card, special permanent residency certificate, student ID, employee ID, and a driver’s license (if available).

Along with those, it is mandatory to provide your residence certificate to make sure that you live at the address that you presented. 

If you can’t provide your residence card, then you will be asked for a utility bill, which can be a gas bill, water bill, NHK, or a landline bill.

Finally, a phone number is needed, with which a bank can get in touch with you if they need to inform you anything.

  • Personal Seal

One of the oldest and most prominent cultures in Japan is ‘Inkan’ (seal). In other countries, people usually sign certain important contracts by hand. In Japan, people make use of a seal instead of a signature.

Over the recent years, banks like Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, Resona Bank, etc., removed the requirement of a seal from their list of necessities to open a bank account. 

Nonetheless, most other banks in Japan still require a seal from a person to open an account.

Not only while opening a bank account, but an Inkan is also necessary for most other important contracts such as housing contracts. Therefore, it is better to have an Inkan when you relocate to Japan.

Japanese Banks – There is an availability of a wide range of banks to choose from when you are new in Japan. You can go for government banks such as Japan Post Bank or megabanks such as Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFG, or local banks like Chiba Bank. 

If you a person who has been attached to some other international bank, you can choose from the branches of international banks such as Deutsche Bank, Barclays, BNP Paribas, HSBC, Credit Suisse, Bank of America, and others.

Most of the banks located in Japan need you to have a better understanding of the Japanese language, while some banks have a lower limit for the requirement of the Japanese language (such as Japan Post Bank).

As a new person in Japan, you don’t need to worry about the accessibility of banks. ATMs are usually present in streets, convenience stores, and even train stations. 

Be careful while you withdraw money from an ATM other than the ATM of your relevant bank. There is a possibility of additional charges, which can range between 100 yen to 200 yen or more. 

Banks in Japan don’t operate during long holidays like Golden Week, Summer Break, etc. People who have an account with Japan Post Bank can access ATMs located inside the post office, which might be closed or have limited hours during such days.

ATMs – As we have discussed earlier, it is very easy for a person to access an ATM, and generally ATMs in Japan are available 24/7. There is no major difference between ATMs in Japan and ATMs in other countries.

One major advantage of ATMs in Japan is that people can update their passbooks with the help of their ATMs.

If you want to use an ATM issued in your country, you will have to inform your bank in your country before arriving in Japan. Some of the banks in Japan would not allow withdrawal from such ATM cards because they think of it as a fraud.

When you make use of the ATM card that has been issued in your country, you will be subject to an exchange rate as well as an international withdrawal fee. Visa cards or Master cards won’t necessarily have any problems with overseas withdrawals.

Most of the ATMs in Japan will have English translation from 7 AM to 11 PM, while some other ATMs might even have the availability of languages such as Korean and Chinese.

Credit Cards – If you are a foreigner in Japan, it might be very hard for you to get your hands on a credit card. Many banks impose strict rules when it comes to becoming eligible for a credit card. If you don’t have a permanent residence, it is likely that your request for a credit card will be denied.

Bank/Wire Transfers – The most common method of making payments or transfers in Japan is with the help of a bank transfer. Almost all the banks change the sender with an amount of 250 yens for each transaction, regardless of how much the transaction is.

Although a transfer can be made with help of internet banking or by approaching a bank, one of the most preferable ways is to transfer with an ATM. 

The ATMs will have menus in English along with languages such as Portuguese or Korean. However, if you have difficulty in understanding Kanji, you might face issues related to selecting the right bank or the particular branch.

If you can’t read Kanji, there is no need to panic. You can go to a bank during the opening hours and an employee working there will be able to assist you. 

Basically, transfers won’t take a lot of time. To be more specific, if the transaction has been done before 2 PM, the transfer will be done on the same day. Local transfers can be made easily, while international transfers require a lot of time and effort.

International transfers can turn out to be quite costly and there will be a lot of form filling activity. You can get all the necessary information by contacting a teller at a bank located in Japan. 

You can even exchange foreign currencies at a Japanese bank, for which the rates would be quite reasonable. 

Monthly Payments – As we discussed, almost all the payments have to made with the help of a bank account. This is usually done with the help of regular savings accounts provided by the banks in Japan.

If you also want to make monthly payments using your bank account, you will be asked to fill the necessary forms from each supplier. After that, money in your bank account will be successfully withdrawn for making payments.

Closing an account – A banknote, ATM card, and residence card are necessary for closing an account. If you were asked for a seal while creating a bank account, you might need it to close the account as well.

Best Savings Rates:

Given below are some of the best Savings Rates that are considered to be the best, especially for foreigners. Some of these banks are also the best for the citizens of Japan too.

On average, the time deposit accounts in Japan have interest rates ranging between 0.002% to 0.003% depending on the term (1 month to 10 years).

The average interest rate for savings deposits as well as ordinary deposits is 0.001%.  

Usually, the savings rates in Japan are considered to be drastically low compared to the savings rates in most other countries of the world. Please note that we have covered the details of the banks that are native to Japan.

  1. Nomura Savings Account – 0.02%

Nomura is one of the banks in Japan that offers a higher interest rate. Almost all other banks offer a lower interest rate compared to Nomura. 

One of the major aspects that need to be taken into consideration is that the interest rate is before taxes, and the accumulated interest is subject to a tax rate of 20.315% (15.315% national tax and 5% local tax) along with a separate withholding tax. 

The applicable interest rate offered by Nomura Savings Account is 0.02%, which is an annual rate. 

Not only the savings rates, but the time deposit rates for Nomura are quite good as well. The interest rates for time deposit accounts range between 0.05% and 0.07% while the term period varies from 1 month to 3 years. 

When a person opts for a premature withdrawal, the interest would be provided as per the interest rate set by the company. 

  1. Mizuho Bank – 0.01%

There are two types of deposit accounts available at Mizuho Bank namely, Yen Deposit and Foreign Currency Deposit. 

The interest rate for the Yen deposit account is 0.001%, which is subject to taxes. In the case of separate taxation, the tax rate is 20%, while the special reconstruction income tax rate is 20.315%  

For the super regular time deposit accounts as well as the large time deposit accounts, the interest rate is 0.02%. 

Not only that, but the interest rate for the scheduled time deposit, floating-rate time deposit, property accumulation deposit, and property accumulation deposit plus, the interest rate remains 0.002%. 

Only the savings deposit account of Mizuho offers an interest rate of 0.001%, which is regardless of the amount deposited. 

There might be a change in the interest rates depending on the changes in the financial conditions. 

On the other hand, foreign currency savings accounts offer an interest rate of 0.001% for all the currencies except for the USD, for which the interest rate is 0.010%

The foreign currency time deposit has varying interest rates on the basis of the term for which the amount has been deposited.

  • USD:

1 month: 0.100

2 months: 0.100

3 months: 0.150

6 months: 0.200

1 year: 0.250

  • GBP:

1 month: 0.010

2 months: 0.010

3 months: 0.030

6 months: 0.030

1 year: 0.050

  • Euro:

1 month: 0.020

2 months: 0.020

3 months: 0.020

6 months: 0.020

1 year: 0.020

  • AUD:

1 month: 0.010

2 months: 0.010

3 months: 0.030

6 months: 0.030

1 year: 0.050

Foreign currency deposits at Mizuho Bank have a risk of losing money on the basis of yen and exchange rate fluctuations. To make it a bit more inconvenient, there will be exchange fees as well.

There are 120 main branches located in more than 40 countries. Mizuho Bank is among the big banks of Japan while having 800 branches and 50,000 ATMs (including alliance financial institutions).

  1. MUFG – 0.001%

The smart account at MUFG Bank is not available for people who don’t have Japanese nationality. 

The foreign currency fixed-term offers varying interest rates. For example,

  • USD:

1 month: 3.5%

3 months: 1.2%

1 year: 0.6%

  • AUD:

1 month: 4%

3 months: 1%

1 year: 0.2%

These interest rates are subject to tax with a tax rate of 20.315% on the interest obtained. 

There is no necessity for an inkan while opening an account at Mitsubishi UFG. As MUFG is one of the primary banks in Japan, it is quite famous for stability and credibility.

There are more than 75,000 ATMs of MUFG bank, which are located in Japan. These are not just the ATMs of MUFG, but also comprise Seven Bank and Lawson Bank ATM.

  1. Japan Post Bank – 0.001%

The interest rate of normal savings account at Japan Post Bank is 0.001%, which is the same as most other banks.

Japan Post Bank is the most preferred choice among foreigners as well as nationals. There are more than 32,000 ATMs of Japan Post Bank and 24,000 bank tellers in Japan. 

One of the primary benefits of Japan Post Bank is that people won’t be charged extra fees for using ATM services, even on weekends.

People who live in Japan for a period of just 3 months might be able to open an account with Japan Post Bank. 

The international transfer fees can be around 3,000 yens for online banking and 7,500 for transferring by approaching a bank. 

There might be a possibility of markup fees and intermediary bank fees while banking with Japan Post Bank. 

If an international transfer has been made from some other country, there will fees for that as well. For example, the usual rates for international transfers (received) would be €5 or $10.

  1. Shinsei Bank – 0.001%

For Yen Savings Deposit Account at Shinsei bank, the interest rates differ on the basis of the type of account. 


Less than 1 million yen1 million yen to 3 million yen3 million yen to 10 million yenMore than 10 million yen
Standard0.001%0.001%0.001%0.002%
Gold0.001%0.001%0.001%0.002%
Platinum0.001%0.002%0.002%0.003%

The documents required for opening an account at Shinsei Bank are a Residence Card and Driving License/Certificate of Residence.

International remittances can be made using Shinsei Bank’s smartphone app. The fees for the Shinsei PowerFlex JPY account are 2,000 yen and for Shinsei PowerFlex foreign currency account are 4,000 yen.

In order to receive funds from another country, the fees would be around 2,000 yen along with additional intermediary charges. There is a possibility for markup fees when it comes to exchange rates.

Final word:

Hoping that you were able to find the information provided in this article to be useful. If you are moving to Japan and need help with your permanent residency or second passport, we got you covered.

Additionally, if you need a person to take care of all your financial needs such as investment advice or wealth management, you can get the best-in-class services offered by us.

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