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Teris (Offline)
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Buying yen? - 06-02-2010, 02:24 AM

Can someone tell me what the best way to exchange US dollars for Yen? I've been told to use ATMs in Japan (7-11 bank), but my bank (Wells Fargo) charges me $5 per transaction. Would I be better off bringing international travelers checks or US cash with m and exchanging at a Japanese bank? Thanks for any help you can offer!
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06-02-2010, 02:42 AM

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Originally Posted by Teris View Post
Can someone tell me what the best way to exchange US dollars for Yen? I've been told to use ATMs in Japan (7-11 bank), but my bank (Wells Fargo) charges me $5 per transaction. Would I be better off bringing international travelers checks or US cash with m and exchanging at a Japanese bank? Thanks for any help you can offer!
I thought I answered this question on one of your other threads, but maybe that was something else.

Do bring: yen in cash, credit cards (VISA seems to be the best)

Do not bring: American cash, traveler's checks, ATM cards, pre-paid VISA cards

Change your cash to yen before you go. You can EASILY lose an entire afternoon trying to find a place that will exchange traveler's checks for cash or an ATM that works with your card.
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06-02-2010, 05:28 AM

Thanks MMM. I did ask how much to bring, so I apologize if you answered this already as I wasn't focused on yen versus dollars until I thought about it today. I'm surprised that ATMs are hard to find with Visa ATM cards. We have Visa cards, so we're set there. Hopefully we can find some yen before we go.
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06-02-2010, 05:45 AM

The banking system in Japan compared to most other developed nations is archaic at best. On the whole cash is king in this country but more and more places are accepting credit cards. Up here in the northern reaches of Japan it's probably worse than in big cities like Tokyo. Definitely change your money in the US into Yen, you'll get much better rates than you'd be able to get here.
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06-02-2010, 03:55 PM

Just a quick update for anyone reading this making the trip to Japan from the US. There is a MUCH better exchange rate at Narita than at my local bank in the US (Wells Fargo). The best bet I'm seeing is to convert cash to travelers checks in the US and change them at Narita to yen if getting travelers checks is free for you or very cheap. There may be even better rates at post offices and other banks in Japan, but that is harder to determine. This differs from much of the advice I've read on the forum, but I've confirmed it with my bank (they told me not to convert to yen in the US at all) and comparing the exchange rates offered at Narita.
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06-02-2010, 05:00 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teris View Post
Just a quick update for anyone reading this making the trip to Japan from the US. There is a MUCH better exchange rate at Narita than at my local bank in the US (Wells Fargo). The best bet I'm seeing is to convert cash to travelers checks in the US and change them at Narita to yen if getting travelers checks is free for you or very cheap. There may be even better rates at post offices and other banks in Japan, but that is harder to determine. This differs from much of the advice I've read on the forum, but I've confirmed it with my bank (they told me not to convert to yen in the US at all) and comparing the exchange rates offered at Narita.
Aren't you getting in late in the evening? Make sure they are open when you arrive.

https://www.foreignexchangeservices....action=convert

Exchange Information

Looking at the Wells Fargo site and the Narita site, the exchange rate is about 1 penny better at the airport.

If that is worth more than the peace of mind knowing you will have the cash ready to get on the train or bus from the airport, then come to the airport with American cash or traveler's checks. But realize if your plane is delayed at all, you will be spending the night in the airport until the exchange counters open in the morning.
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06-02-2010, 05:13 PM

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Originally Posted by MMM View Post
Aren't you getting in late in the evening? Make sure they are open when you arrive.

https://www.foreignexchangeservices....action=convert

Exchange Information

Looking at the Wells Fargo site and the Narita site, the exchange rate is about 1 penny better at the airport.

If that is worth more than the peace of mind knowing you will have the cash ready to get on the train or bus from the airport, then come to the airport with American cash or traveler's checks. But realize if your plane is delayed at all, you will be spending the night in the airport until the exchange counters open in the morning.
Thanks, MMM. You've been a HUGE help in planning this trip for us. Thank you for taking the time to help out travelers to Japan. As I mentioned in that other thread, I was mistaken about my arrival time. I get in late in the afternoon.

For $100 at Wells Fargo in the US, I get 8,785.80 yen. At Narita, I get 9032 yen (from travelers checks). So yeah, it's really not too much of a difference.
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06-02-2010, 05:51 PM

My pleasure.

What you are going to want to find out is, 1) Does that bank in Japan actually accept traveler's checks (not all do) and 2) Is there a hidden fee for processing we don't see there? At the rate you are being quoted for TC, it is practically charity work for the bank...they are making almost no money on the exchange, so I can't help but wonder what the motivation would be.

Charging 3 yen/pennies on the dollar is pretty standard. Personally, after a long flight like that the last thing I would want to have to do is one more thing that I could have done back at home.
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06-02-2010, 08:34 PM

No, I understand. I called my bank and there are no local banks that even have yen. They need to order them. So I don't even have the option to bring yen with me. I'll report back when I return how it all worked out. Thanks again.
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06-02-2010, 08:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teris View Post
No, I understand. I called my bank and there are no local banks that even have yen. They need to order them. So I don't even have the option to bring yen with me. I'll report back when I return how it all worked out. Thanks again.
They can't get it in a day or so? Make sure they aren't just being lazy.
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