An easy way to transfer money overseas from Japan

by Paul Goodchild

A question that arises time and time again is for an easy and cost-effective method to transfer money overseas from your Japanese Yen.  Go to any bank and you can do it.  Whether you need an account with that particular bank/branch is something I don’t know at this point, but there is a convenient alternative altogether in the form of GoLloyds.


Lloyds TSB have for many years now been providing a service called the GoLloyds Overseas Remittance Service.  They basically allow you to register a bank account that you have overseas, most likely the current account you used in your previous domicile.  Once they can confirm the details and connectivity to the specified account, they will provide you with details on how to get money to it.

It’s really very easy, and for only a little bit of ground work at the beginning you can have a superbly easy service at your fingertips.  Not only that, if you took heed of the banking for foreigners article you’ll even have online banking in English through which you can setup a bank transfer contact and be able to make a transfer to GoLloyds within minutes.

How to sign up

This can be done online… well… not completely, but they make it as easy for you as can realistically be done.  Follow the guide on the site itself and you will be set up in no-time.  Then simply perform a bank-transfer/furikomi (振込) to the details that are provided for you after sign-up is confirmed and after a day or so, the money should appear in your target account.

How it works and the costs involved

This system simply works by them creating a bank account, or a virtual account, for you on the GoLloyds side into which you transfer the cash.  Their systems will then notice the money you have sent there and by your registration know where the money needs to be then forwarded to.  GoLloyds receive their payment by deducting their standard fee from your transferred amount and performing the remittance.  Here are typical costs involved:

  • Bank transfer charge from your account to GoLloyds
  • GoLloyds service fee: 2000 yen
  • A fee will likely be charged on the far end of the transfer by your target bank.  This fee will be detailed to you by GoLloyds at the time of account setup
  • Exchange rate: not a fee as such, but you need to take into the account the current exchange rates as provided by GoLloyds for that day

Just a note on the exchange rates: they apply for that day up to 3:00pm only, and are generally fair rates.  They are usually a few percentage points away from the “real” rate of the day, but never excessively so.

When you would not use this service

There is no point in registering for this service if you don’t have a need to regularly send money to the same place.  Granted, with GoLloyds, you can set up another beneficiary for your account but it’s not practical to do this everytime, though there is no limit with GoLloyds and to do this is free.

Another reason you may not use this is if you’re traveling to the place you are sending the money and you believe that you can obtain better rates using the services provided by citibank and Shinsei with Foreign Currency Deposits service.  That way you can just send the money into one of those deposit accounts and then withdraw the cash directly as you need it when you’re there.

Personal note

The articles I write on this site are based on my own experience living in Japan.  There are ways to make your life more comfortable and efficient here and I believe this is one of them and since setting up your account is free, where’s the harm?  I hope you find it as useful as I have.

If you think this article is useful, GoLloyds run a ‘Introduce a friend’ promotion… feel free to say we’re friends during your application process – my name is Paul Goodchild.  Of course, if you’d rather not, that’s fine too and I hope you find the GoLloyds experience as beneficial as I have! 🙂

Disclaimer: and its authors are not affiliated in any way with any banking institution mentioned on this site.  We absolutely do not accept any responsibility for your financial management and any costs, liability, implications, complications or otherwise from your reading of any material on this site.  The information here is provided as-is with no implied warranty or otherwise.  In saying that though, I hope you find it useful.

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