I finally sent money back to America last month after building up savings in Japan for 9 months. I built up the courage and figured out the process one afternoon. Corinne and I combined our money and sent it home together, splitting the ¥2,500 ($27) fee.
We sent the transfer to her ING Direct account since it would be easier for her to transfer my portion to my account. Sending money internationally from the post office in Japan takes anywhere from 10 to 21 days.
Unfortunately, I received a letter from the bank around the 14th day. It stated that the funds had not been transferred because the bank we were sending the money to – ING Direct – couldn’t accept international wire transfers.
Thankfully, my home bank does so I went back to the post office the next day and had it re-sent for another ¥1,000 ($11) . The funds eventually arrived in my bank account about a week later.
The situation was a huge pain, but we were lucky. We didn’t need that money to arrive home for a mortgage, credit card bill, or student loan due that week. A lot of international wire transfers do have a sense of urgency to them, though. The money needs to get where it’s going and usually fast. Maybe the transfer needs to fund a vacation, an airplane ticket, a hotel, or an emergency.
Before you go abroad, check with your bank to see if they accept international wire transfers.
Do yourself a favor and take 5 minutes to search your bank’s site for the information. If you can’t find it, call them and ask. If I would’ve done this before I left last July, I would’ve saved having to leave school to go to the bank, having to pay another ¥1,000 to re-send the funds, and a week of headaches.
Below I’ve inserted a cheat sheet for you to check if your bank accepts international wire transfers as well as a link to the page explaining the costs, limitations, and other details of their international wire transfer rules.
Does Your Bank Accept International Wire Transfers?
*Reminder, each bank charges a fee for receiving wires, on top of the fee of sending it*
Chase – Yes, but must sign up
Bank of America – Yes ($15)
Wells Fargo – Yes
Citi – Yes
ING Direct – No
Ally – No (p.4)
FNBO – No
HSBC – Yes ($12)
If your bank isn’t included in the list above, let me know in the comments and I’ll add it.