Could this be the one we've been looking for?
Anyone wanting to transfer money abroad has run into the expense and hassle of traditional transfer methods.
The exchange rates are terrible.
The paperwork is annoying.
The people in the bank don't know how to do the transfer.
You forgot to bring <random document> with you.
It takes ages to transfer the money.
Sound familiar? Well, in that case a service called TransferWise might be of interest.
It's designed to avoid the fees and inflated exchange rates that plague other international money transfers.
How it works is you make a domestic transfer to the TransferWise account in Japan, and they make a domestic transfer to the account abroad you are sending money to from their account in that country. It's quick, cheap, and most of all painless once you have registered.
Registration is easy, you go to their website, type in your information, upload a photo of your ID (drivers license or zairyu card) front and back, and your My Number card, paper card, or jyuuminhyou, and wait for them to check the details. Took me about five minutes to complete the process, and about six hours for them to confirm my ID.
You can even use your Google, Facebook, or Paypal account to log in.
Once you are registered to the system you can easily make transfers online to 38 countries. Best of all, sending money to a new account doesn't take hours of paperwork...
I sent 100,000 yen to my account in the UK, and it arrived safely a couple of business days later.
This is by far the best way of doing international money transfers that I have seen. Big shout out to Good and Bad Japan for bringing it to my attention.
Edit: The GoRemit service (confusingly, also run by Shinsei) seems to be the second best in terms of exchange rate, ease of use, and fees. It appears to be slightly worse than TransferWise in terms of costs (fixed fee instead of 1% makes it better for larger amounts, but the worse exchange rate and possible fees from receiving banks edges it out).
The next best option in my opinion is Japan Post's system, but it is a poor second. The fee is higher, the exchange rate worse, you have to go to the branch and fill out paperwork, and you need the international transfer information (IBAN, BIC, etc.) which is sometimes difficult to get.
Shinsei Bank's international money transfer is mostly worse (higher fee of 4,000 yen unless you are a Platinum custumer) but you can register each destination account individually (which takes an hour or so at the branch in my experience) and then make transfers by telephone.
Sign up with this link to get a free transfer with TransferWise and let me know what you think of the service.
Any other good ways to transfer money?