Japanese Banks = Frustration?
There are several banks in Japan and a small list of the major ones that come to mind:
Of course there are your local banks, but too many to list here.
When using a bank in Japan everyone (including foreigners) will require an Inkan or Hanko to open an account. Customized Inkan’s cost around 500-1000Yen. You can see some here. The inkan is used as signature to verify identity. For common names like Tanaka or Satou, Inkans can be purchased at shops selling pre-made inkans. One thing I don’t get is that it would be very easy to pick up the same inkan as another person and do some bad stuff. But it is the system they swear by, so no immediate change is foreseeable.
NOTE* From Wikipedia: “The increasing ease with which modern technology allows hanko fraud is beginning to cause some concern that the present system will not be able to survive.”
My bank is with Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ. Most Japanese banks are notorious for having strange hours of operation and closing early all the time. UFJ closes at 3pm on weekdays and is closed on weekends. There are times outside of these hours that I cannot even withdraw money from an ATM – which can be frustrating.
Like this for example at UFJ:
My bank back home, TD CanadaTrust, has great customer service and is open till 8pm on weekdays. Awesome.
WTF!!! A.K.A. Frustration Story about Japanese Bank:
Since losing my Japanese bank card while in Canada last month, I have not had the chance to go to my UFJ to cancel my old card and get a new one (I have to go during working hours). Today was the day I would venture to my UFJ bank to get a new card issued to me.
I went over to my bank with my Canadian passport, Inkan and insurance card for I.D. purposes.
Now, I had to fill out 1 paper to say I lost my card and that I want it to be cancelled.
Then I need to get a new card, so another paper to fill out. The new card, I was told, would take 2 weeks to issue after the cancellation of the other card is complete!
I have to wait 10 days for the lost card to be deactivated, then 2 full weeks after that time to be reissued a card. If I wanted a new card issued on the spot, it would cost me 2100yen.
So what do I do in the next 3-4 weeks, without a bank card?
Surely, I can withdraw money from the branch if I speak to a teller and show all my i.d. right? NOPE.
Even if I have my passport, Japanese insurance card, and Inkan, I am not allowed to withdraw money from my account. It is against the bank’s policy to allow customers to withdraw money without either their bankbook or ATM card.
Then I think long and hard for a loophole to withdraw some cash, there is always a loophole.
I’ve got it!
What if I close out my account (they tell me that my passport and inkan would be enough i.d.), thus withdrawing all the remaining money, then reopen an account minutes later?
The teller told me that it would be possible!
Isn’t it the same thing? WTF!
How does that make any sense?
So I didnt end up withdrawing money in the end.
I smiled at the teller, said thank you have a nice day and take care, then I went on my way.
I laughed and got on my bike for a ride back to the office.
*EDIT* I found this blog here that explains why the UFJ bank sucks ass and that its all prehistoric BS rules that govern the system.
To end on a positive note: I learned a new word today 喪失 sou-shitsu そうしつ loss, forfeit (of something) i.e. a bank card. but the more common term would be 紛失 fuun-shitsu ふんしつ losing something.