Cutting back on freebies
I've been a big fan of Shinsei Bank for a long time now (for banking, not investing or mortgages). They have an English language website, fairly decent online interface and service, foreign currency deposit accounts, free cash withdrawals from ATMs in Japan and abroad, and monthly free domestic and international transfers (depending on your status with them). I've had an account for about ten years now and have been very satisfied with it.
It was therefore very disappointing to see that they are planning to start charging for ATM withdrawals. Standard level customers will pay 108 yen per ATM transaction going forwards.
Going forward I think there are two possible reactions to this from Shinsei customers:
- find a way to reach at least the Gold level in order to keep free domestic ATM use
- find another bank
For 1.) above, right now the best solution I have found is to put at least 300,000 yen into a foreign currency deposit account. This should be enough to get to and maintain Gold stage status. Actually, maybe put slightly more than 300,000 yen in to account for currency fluctuations.
In terms of alternative accounts, Sony Bank looks pretty good according to this review. It seems they have free withdrawals at Seven Bank (7-11) and four free withdrawals a month with other banks, as well as a free monthly bank transfer.
I am planning to keep my Shinsei account and make sure I am Gold going forward by keeping a few thousand Euros in my account.
How about you? Any other good ways to get Gold or Platinum status easily with Shinsei? Any other decent alternative banks?