Japan, Life

Sending Money Home From Japan – TransferWise

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If you don't like saving a few dollars, I won't say anything, but I'd probably think you are crazy.. Click To Tweet. This will be especially true to me if you live overseas and have to play the transfer game between your bank accounts in two different countries.

Even though I am in Japan, I have to keep my American bank accounts funded while I try to knock out my student loan and credit card debtI was initially using Seven Bank International Money Transfer/Western Union, and while I wasn’t excited about the fees or how much of my money got sucked into a black hole, I have bills to pay, so it had to be done.

One beautiful day on Twitter, between arguments about $200 dates and women having more respect for their future husbands *insert eye roll*, I came across an article about TransferWise and, being that it was almost time to send money to my American accounts again, decided to do a little research.

If you have read my previous posts, you should know I’m not into talking a lot so let’s get straight into the details.

The Problem:

Transferring money home costs an arm and a leg, and I can never figure out why. Well, I can guess (companies need to make profits).

TransferWise’s Solution:
TransferWise came about because the creators were tired of being screwed by bank fees for their own money. The main issue is a lack of transparency between banks and customers with the prices they charge and the rates they use. So, enter TransferWise, a company that believes in fairness, transparency, and helping you keep more of your money in your pocket.


TransferWise uses the mid-market rate, which is the middle ground between the buy and sell rates of a currency when they transfer your money. There are no surprise fees, and all information about your transfer rates are clearly stated to you throughout the process.

My Experience

Sign up was super easy. You can choose to connect your account with Facebook, Google+, or Paypal. The site is easy to navigate both on mobile and computer.

To send money from a Japanese bank account, they will ask you for both your My Number and Japanese identification. I was able to upload clear photos of those from my phone to the site, and it only took a few hours for it to clear, which was great. After this, I set up how much I wanted to transfer between accounts and then the fun started.

For the next step, I had to transfer the yen to TransferWise directly, which did give me first-time jitters. However, TransferWise doesn’t take the money from your accounts automatically, only deposit.  I sent it the money on Oct 30, it was received on Oct 31st,  and then I received a message saying I would have the money in my American bank account by the November 3rd. I received the money on November 1st, which means the process was ridiculously quick. TransferWise says the process is usually completed within 1-4 working days.

In total, I transferred 95,000 yen and received $893.89. The fee for my transaction was 1% of what I sent, 941 yen, which was taken from the total amount sent. The cost for the domestic bank transfer from my Japanese account to theirs was around 260 yen. If I had used Seven Bank International Money Transfer Service, a transfer of that same amount would equate to about $862, which includes the 2,000 yen service fee.


I got to keep about $30 in my wallet. That’s like a week of groceries where I live…so to me, that makes it worth it.

I would 110% use them again, and it will probably become my preferred method for transferring money home.

Have you used TransferWise or any other service to transfer money from abroad home? Let me know your preferred methods or opinions! Also, don’t forget to subscribe!

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