Let's say I am the prospective student in Japanese University (international student). I have never lived in Japan before and never even travelled there. I am going to the university for a year and I am looking for the best ways to transfer money from home (Russia) to Japan. I ve heard it's very hard to open bank account in Japan for students - you need individual printing and have to live at least half a year in Japan. But how am I supposed to transfer money then? Withdrawing money from Russian card will be very expensive due to high commissions.

I am thinking about some global banks (Citi) or services like Skrill (Moneybookers). Do you have experience with this?

closed as off-topic by Mark Mayo, Vince, Gagravarr, Dirty-flow, user3470 Jul 4 '13 at 16:47

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    Welcome to the site! You've got one answer, but I suspect this is better served on Money and may be closed here. It's also more about moving somewhere (immigration) than travel, as per the help center, that's usually considered off topic. – Mark Mayo Jul 4 '13 at 15:48
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about money, finance and immigration, which is better suited to Money.Stackexchange.com – Mark Mayo Jul 4 '13 at 15:49

I studied in Japan for a year in 2000-2001. My case may have been different because I got a scholarship from the Japanese ministery of education.

A few days after arriving, us international students were taken to a local bank (or maybe a bank employee came to the university, I don't remember) to open accounts to which the scholarship would be paid. This was a routine procedure, and there were no problems. However, it took almost two months for the first scholarship sum to arrive, and we had been advised to bring enough money of our own to last this time. I think I just took cash.

So the first thing you might do is to ask the Japanese university's foreign student department about bank accounts.

As for using international banks (specifically Citibank) to transfer money, this was in fact the recommended procedure back then, since most Japanese banks will not accept foreign cards in their ATMs at all, nevermind fees. The biggest exception is the post office, which does accept debit cards on the Maestro network (at least it did when I returned to Japan in 2005).

As for fees, you have to be aware that they are mainly set by your own bank that issued the card: credit cards companies typically ask percentage fees that can get very expensive on larger sums, but at least here in Germany, bank-issued Maestro debit cards carry only a moderate flat fee of 4.5 EUR per international cash withdrawal. So it might be a good idea to compare Russian banks in this regard.

  • Hello, Michael. Thank you for very detailed answer. I forgot, I also has funding, so I suppose somehow they will open account for me, or at least give me all required documents. – icherevkov Jul 5 '13 at 23:59

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