Better Currency Exchange!

Discussion in 'General Topics - Life in Japan' started by Trekker, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. Trekker

    Trekker TAG Member

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    I'd been told that best idea for currency exchange when arriving is to use the banks at Narita, so I did. Wish I had waited. My Japanese buddy (who I saw on Day 2) told me "best kept secret" are "Discount Ticket Shops" (Daikoku-yu) -- always an orange colored sign.

    Most but not all of them have a money exchange for USD, GBP, Euro, Aus-NZ, PRC, ROK. We checked the rates at several and all were better than Narita, as well as the banks in town.

    Rates vary slightly among them, best we found was in the plaza adjacent to Yurakucho Station (roughly between Ginza and Hibaya Metro stations).

    Wish I knew about them before I did big exchange at Narita!
     
  2. fireman

    fireman TAG Member

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    Daikokuya's rates are posted online. Some of their cash rates are indeed better than Narita. Not all though.

    That said, if you don't have a Japanese bank account, you will get the best exchange rate by using USD traveler's checks (assuming you can get them cheaply overseas) and exchanging them to yen at Narita. With traveler's checks you only lose maybe 1% on the foreign exchange as opposed to the 2-3% you lose with cash.
     
  3. Genji88

    Genji88 TAG Member

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    Will i get a better rate changing Aud into Yen whilst in Tokyo? My current place in Melbourne (united currency exchang) is giving me around 9300¥ per $100 Aud with No fees or costs
     
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  4. split

    splitsplit is a Verified Member TAG Member

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    When the Xe rate is 124.73 I get 124.10 (at worst). Certain Am. credit cards with give bank bulk rates w/o fees.
     
  5. MadeInJapan

    MadeInJapan Verified Agent

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    I've heard that the airport is generally the worst place to change money in most countries (because they can take advantage of people who didn't plan beforehand, I suppose). Dedicated currency exchange places aren't always the best either, since their only profit comes from what they can skim off the top, though they can be good when there's a lot of competition.

    When I lived outside Japan, I generally ordered yen in cash from my own credit union a couple of weeks before leaving. I've heard banks are generally pretty good, particularly if you're already a customer. Sumitomo Bank has a bunch of currency exchange "corners" around Tokyo http://www.smbc.co.jp/kojin/sonota/ryougae/tenpo.html (Japanese site, I believe staff speak at least some English).

    EDIT: Actually Tokyo Cheapo has this article comparing Travelex, Daikokuya and the major banks, it seems like a gamble as to which one is the best http://tokyocheapo.com/business/fin...heapest-places-to-exchange-your-cash-for-yen/
     
  6. Qong02

    Qong02 TAG Member

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    Check with your bank at home, withdrawing straight from the ATM is sometimes the best, i.e my bank does market with no Tx fee. My credit union does market with 1% so even with the Tx fee it might be a better deal.
     
  7. JaquesAfrog

    JaquesAfrog New Member

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    I use my no-fees U.S. bank account ATM card at the Japan Post ATMs. No fees at the Japan Post ATMs... and I get the market rate with 1%.
     
  8. Kasai

    Kasai TAG Member

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    I saw one of these shops near the station between Akhabara and Ueno stations, sorry can't remember the name.

    they were offering 174 for UK £ when a Travelex the same day at Shinagawa station were offering 166.

    before I left the UK I had 175,2 at M&S I used my ATM card once and after the bank charge received 175.5

    the day I actually had to change some cash I only had 162 at Travelex at Yokohama station, the day before when I checked it was 166.
     
  9. MossBoss

    MossBossMossBoss is a Verified Member Hello

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    The rates seem to go up and down more times than a pink salon gal's panties...
     
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  10. basketcase

    basketcase TAG Member

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    I've been lazy, I just use my ATM at the 7/11.. The things are everywhere and damned convenient. I NEVER exchange at a bank or the airport unless I desperately need the 3000 yen for the Narita Express (I always keep some yen from my previous trip in a wallet I use just for Japan). lol.. And I would rot in hell before I ever even thought about using travelers checks. :-P I mean WHY? ATM's are pretty much everywhere in the world at this point. Why on earth would you want to carry a ton of TC's around?

    I should, however, keep my eyes open for a post office if the rates are better there.
     
  11. AnotherTag

    AnotherTag TAG Member

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    Just want to add my recent experience regarding exchanging for Japanese YEN. I have a US no-ATM-fee debit card that can withdraw up to 500 USD a day, but VISA network takes 1% fee.

    I didn't try 7/11 ATM, but I was withdrawing from Japan Post ATMs all the time for 50,000 YEN a day. I also checked out the rates at various Daikokuya during the same day, and every time Japan POST ATMs, even after the 1% fee, would beat out Daikokuya all the time, even if by a fraction. The only time I went to Daikokuya was because I needed more than 50,000 YEN.

    I would never exchange for YEN at the US banks nor the US local tourist currency exchange booths ever again. If I need more YEN at once by the time I reach Japan, I would rather bring cash and exchange at Mizuho Bank booths at Japanese airports. Their rate is always the market rate minus 3 YEN per USD, so at the current exchange rates, that's 2.5% to 3%, and still better than the US banks or the currency exchange booths.

    Japan Post ATMs > Daikokuya > Mizuho >= currency exchange booths? > US banks
     
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  12. MamoruSpain

    MamoruSpain TAG Member

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    Today I went to my savings bank to pick yens that I ordered last week. The clerk told me that his computer showed a message telling me that its better to exchange money in Japan.
     
  13. AnotherTag

    AnotherTag TAG Member

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    Like other people mentioned, Japan Post or 7-Eleven ATMs have the best rates as they are the current market/inter-bank rates at the time (or the day) of the withdrawals.

    Daikokuya has their rates online, but that rates are only for online orders and are not always the same as the shops. Even between Daikokuya shops there can be differences. The shops near tourist areas might have better rates. One time I checked out 3-4 different Daikokuya shops in a day (within a few hours) and they all have different rates. For that day, the shop in near Shinjuku west exit / Uniqlo has better USD-JPY rate than their online shop.

    The exchange rate at Japan airports, if running by Mizuho Bank, is always 3 yen fee per dollar exchanged for yen at the daily market rate or something.

    US banks or the currency exchange booths in the US just suck, period.

    (Looked like I repeated myself here LOL, didn't know I replied before, but whatever!)
     
  14. meiji

    Global Moderator

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    I think I've posted elsewhere, but Narita has very good exchange rates and if your bank charges a fee for international withdrawals, etc, Narita might be a good choice. They have their exchange rates posted on their site so you can compare.
     
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  15. roots reggae

    roots reggae Officially Unverified

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  16. AnotherTag

    AnotherTag TAG Member

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    I think that's only for bank account holders right? Not over the counter exchanges for foreigners.
     
  17. roots reggae

    roots reggae Officially Unverified

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    I believe so.

    However, if you stay in Japan long term, it might make sense to open an account. I briefly read their website. If your company allows, your pay can be automatically deposited with them. Once again, I have a house loan and am not sure of their services.

    Here's a link to their website in English:

    http://www.shinseibank.com/english/
     
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  18. TheWhiteBear

    TheWhiteBear Ambassador of Mars/President of Kenya/Astronaut

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    Tomorrow I'll be going to Shinjuku and was considering Buying 500USD with yen at Travelex, anyone have previous experience with them? Or are there better exchange locations in Shinjuku?
     
  19. BIPSY

    BIPSY CRYSTAL RAINBOW SHOWER

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    When I'm going to the US I usually hit up Mitsubishi UFJ and grab a few hundred USD before I head out. The one near me has an ATM-like machine so its super easy - you just put in how many $100 packs you want and it has you insert the equivalent in JPY and gives you change. I can't remember but you might need an ATM card to use it, though.

    Just did a quick check on the UFJ site and they're selling for 105 JPY on the dollar. The current price on XE is just south of 102, so about a 3% surcharge.
    From a quick check it looks like the Travelex in Shinjuku is about the same - 105 on the dollar.
     
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  20. meiji

    Global Moderator

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    If you are flying to the US, compare their exchange rates to the rates at Narita. I've actually found their exchange rates to be better than a lot of US banks and (obviously) the exchange desks at US airports. They are definitely good buying or selling yen vs the major currencies (USD, Euro, etc). Not so much with less common ones.
     
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  21. TheWhiteBear

    TheWhiteBear Ambassador of Mars/President of Kenya/Astronaut

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    After looking around the best deal I could find was 103 and I went with it, Travelex was at 105 and it's one of the worst deal around the area.
     
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  22. vck_js

    vck_js TAG Member

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    At my day job, we sometimes deal with foreign currency but the volume is so low that management doesn't want to use a special service for that, and we just go to exchange it ourselves once a month at Travelex (there's one in the building next to ours).
    This month, there was a Scottish Pound banknote in the batch and that one was not accepted by Travelex. Is Scottish Pound so different from the British one?
     
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  23. Ken1988

    Ken1988 oh, you again

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    Scottish notes are legal tender in the UK, but people can legally refuse to accept them. Have you tried a branch of World Currency Shop? I think it's all up to if their machines can read Scottish notes though...
    www.tokyo-card.co.jp/exchange/
     
    #23 Ken1988, Sep 23, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
  24. Ken1988

    Ken1988 oh, you again

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    Sorry, Scottish notes are not legal tender but promissory notes. An advice is given (item 9 in the below link: a bit old though) to a visitor to exchange all Scottish notes in possession for Bank of England notes before leaving Scotland. I'm afraid you cannot exchange them in Japan.
    http://www.rampantscotland.com/know/blknow_money.htm
     
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  25. Goshogawara

    Goshogawara TAG Member

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    A trip to Belfast several years ago left me with circa 150 pounds in Bank of Ulster notes. Trying to exchange them in eastern Asia or Russia was futile, so I gave them to a friend who does some research in the occupied counties a few times a year and could use them :confused:
     
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