How much Yen?

Old Mar 2nd, 2017, 01:51 PM
  #1  
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How much Yen?

Hi all

I am excited about my trip to Tokyo-Kyoto March 27th-April 5th. I was wondering how much Yen is advisable i take with me from US? Thanks a lot in advance
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Old Mar 2nd, 2017, 02:25 PM
  #2  
 
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None. Getting foreign currency in the US is the most expensive way to get it. Wait until you are in Japan, and get some at the ATMs airport. I found that I could use credit cards for most - but not all - things. If you get low on yen, go to a post office or a convenience store - their ATMS will accept foreign cards.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2017, 03:06 PM
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Not a f---ing one.

Do what Kathie says. At Narita, there are ATMs right outside the exit when you get out of customs. Likely same for Haneda or KIX - airport maps will tell you.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2017, 05:47 PM
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kja
 
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You can even google the airports to get maps that show the location of the ATMs!

Here's all the info you need:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2208.html
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Old Mar 6th, 2017, 02:12 PM
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Kathie's advice applies to many countries now, with one big caveat: Credit-card use may be more expensive than back home. Just because you have a low-fee or no-fee US card doesn't mean there won't be fees for transactions in foreign countries. You may pay a flat fee for every credit card transaction, or even a percentage. These are imposed by your own bank so read the fine print. Using plastic for small transactions can boost the final cost significantly. Ditto for ATM/debit withdrawals or purchases (if possible.) To save money when abroad I revert to the old days and use cash, taken from an ATM in a substantial amount to even out the charges. Cash is fast, simple, and economical. Lucky you if you have an ATM card that imposes no fee anywhere.
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Old Mar 6th, 2017, 06:47 PM
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I don't know where the OP lives. I am in the US and have ATM, debit and credit cards which charge no foreign conversion fee. I have never been charged a fee for their use outside the US. I did read that 7 Eleven in Japan has a small charge for using their ATM during evening hours but I can't find that reference now and it was a very small amount anyway....
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Old Mar 6th, 2017, 06:54 PM
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http://www.sevenbank.co.jp/english/p...bank/know/fee/

Found it - 108 JPY before 7 am and after 7 pm.....that's about $1 US....
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Old Mar 6th, 2017, 07:24 PM
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No foreign transaction fee credit cards:
The trend is now to add this as a feature to many credit cards. I have a Platiunum Citibank American Airlines card which has no foreign transaction fees, and there are countless others. I have found the exchange rate to be excellent when I use this card. Just make sure that the merchant charges you in the local currency, and not in US dollars.

No fee ATM cards:
There are many cards that reimburse ALL fees, no matter where you are in the world. Charles Schwab and First Republic bank are just two of many.

I would prefer to put my travel money toward hotels and restaurants, and not towards useless fees. Therefore, I make it a point to have with me each of the cards shown above. It's really quite simple.
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Old Mar 6th, 2017, 11:23 PM
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I have nordstrom visa and Alaska credit cards which both waive forensic transaction fees. I will use either anywhere that accepts credit cars.

As for cash, I know that there are lots of places that only take cash. I will need cash. The options are either order from Bank of America or withdraw from the ATM in Tokyo. The BOA accountant told me that they have no ATM banks in Japan so they charge 3% in addition to 5$ withdrawal fee. Based on that it sound more reasonable to order money from US through BOA. I am thinking 1000USD.

Any thoughts?

Thank you very much
Samira
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Old Mar 6th, 2017, 11:46 PM
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I found more need of cash in Japan than in other destinations I've visited - there were many restaurants and cafes that didn't take card, though virtually all of our accommodations did, so the big spends were all on card.

Like everyone else, I used a debit card to withdraw cash at ATMs and credit cards to pay wherever I was able. The rates are better than I can get for currency exchange, no question.

(Do, as California Lady advises, make sure you pay in the local currency, some vendors will ask if you want to convert and pay in your own currency and then you're at the whim of their conversion rate and not that of your banking institution, and their rate is unlikely to compare well!)

We usually do have some cash on arrival though - on our first trip we didn't know how easy it would be to withdraw cash on arrival at the airport, we needed to pick up our JR Passes there and figured we'd be tired too... and for the two trips since then we've had a small amount leftover from the previous trip that we've just kept in our travel change box, so we've got some cash on landing (for vending machine coffees, topping up SUICA cards or whatever).
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 07:09 AM
  #11  
 
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>> The BOA accountant told me that they have no ATM banks in Japan so they charge 3% in addition to 5$ withdrawal fee. Based on that it sound more reasonable to order money from US through BOA. I am thinking 1000USD.
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 07:41 AM
  #12  
 
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The issue is not only the $5 fee and 3% but the exchange rate if you order yen in advance from your bank. The one time I did similar the exchange rate the bank gave me was much higher than the interbank rate that one gets from an ATM withdrawal....

With $1000 the cost difference can be quite a bit.....
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 08:27 AM
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Yes, they aren't mentioning that if you order yen from them they will give you a very poor exchange rate, and you will lose 8-10% on it. That makes $5 + 3% look like a bargain.

Do you travel internationally at least annually? If so, it's time to shop for a new checking account - maybe one you only use for travel. Small banks and credit unions often waive foreign ATM fees. Do you have a brokerage account? Many brokerage accounts will reimburse you for any ATM fees and they often charge only 1% foreign exchange fee.
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 08:48 AM
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>

Yeah, two.

(1) Open a separate travel account at a credit union or Cap One or similar banker that charges 0-1% as forex fees and will give you an ATM.

(2) You're wrong.

Here is your reality check:

If you "order money from US through BOA" - which I guess means you will obtain yen in the US from BOA - you WILL suffer an 8-10% hit or more on the transaction because BOA will exchange to its advantage. Today's REAL yen rate is 114+/$1 and you'll get less than 104 per with BOA. Travelex (which runs the exchange bureaus you see in US airports) is offering 101.25 yen/dollar. So using the Travelex number (which is about what you'd probably get at BOA) that's a loss of 13000 yen over 1000 USD, or the equivalent of paying about $114 dollars for not having a bank account with a debit card that will cut your losses. In other words, an 11.4% loss to you.

Understand this: BOA will not exchange your dollars into yen at the actual exchange rate. It will exchange your money at a rate favorable to it. You are an individual and BOA is not a charity. Minor transactions like this cost BOA banker time and administrative hassle. To individuals $1000 is a lot of money, to BOA it's an ant walking next to an elephant.

Even with your bad deal at BOA, you will get the interbank exchange rate (the REAL rate) and then be charged $5 plus 3%. Taking out 35000 yen in three transactions will cost $15 in fees plus 3% of the conversion cost, which means 1050 yen per transaction - that's another 3150 yen total or $27.65 or so at today's rate for a total withdrawal and forex fee of $42.65. Note that you probably can't withdraw the equivalent of $1000 in one ATM trip, and you should minimize your total withdrawals to save on fees, thus three 35k-yen withdrawals will be about $1000 and fewer $5 per pop hits. This means that even with your crappy deal at BOA, you'll save more than $70 by using the ATMs in Japan and not buying yen here.

Get it?
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 10:30 AM
  #15  
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That was pretty comprehensive. Thank you!
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 11:21 AM
  #16  
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Did you mean that ATMs in Japan have lower exchange rate than BOA?
Thanks
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 11:37 AM
  #17  
 
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Bank ATMs in Japan (and everywhere else) will give you the bank exchange rate. Check sites like xe.com to see the current bank rate. The bank rate will be MUCH better than the rate you would get at BOA, which gives you a lower exchange rate to build in profit for them. Travelex builds even more profit into the rate they give you. If you ask the bank, they will often tell you there are "no fees" for ordering currency, but they don't tell you that they use a different (unfavorable to you) exchange rate that will cost you 8-10% of the amount you are exchanging.
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 12:30 PM
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Here's a way to test that: Ask your bank to tell you how much in yen they will give you if you ask them to give you $1000 worth. Ask them to figure in all fees (I expect they will tell you there are no fees). Now compare that with what xe.com say is $1000 worth.

Right now (and the rate changes in real time) XE says you would get 114,027.58 yen for your $1000.
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 01:25 PM
  #19  
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Thanks much. I am heading to the bank in one hour and will definitely ask the same question right there
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 02:33 PM
  #20  
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Just returned from the bank. It comes down to 109000 compared to 114027 that kathie said. That means it is less costly to get it from the ATM using my debit card and placing its PIN number. I think i have to give the bank a travel notice to make sure the card works there. It makes me a bit nervous to have only one option for cash but i guess it is the wisest way to go.

If I can get cash from Narita airport then i will do it there before catching the taxi. Is there a preferred ATM at the airport? Otherwise hopefully next to my hotel, Palace Tokyo.

Thanks again
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