How to send money to Japan from USA

By   |   Verified by Andrew Boyd   |   Updated Aug. 8, 2023

USA to JPY (Japan)
  • Looking to do an international transfer money to Japan?
  • Discover cheaper ways to do currency transfers USD to JPY (Japanese Yen) than most US banks.
  • Learn what to look for when choosing the best way to transfer money.

Are you looking for ways to send money from the USA to Japan? This article gives you a brief outline of what you need to know to get your international transaction done.

Common reasons people transfer money overseas to Japan

Since 2017, over $4 billion of remittances have been sent to Japan annually. Money is transferred to Japan for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Sending family money back home in Japan.
  • Purchasing property or vehicles.
  • Covering business expenses.
  • Funding immigration or emigration costs.
  • Subsidizing school fees in Japan.
  • Paying for a marriage ceremony.
  • Making charitable donations.

Why you shouldn't send money overseas using your bank

Using your bank to send money to Japan from the US is the most expensive option. You'll end up paying a bundle in fees and experience the longest transfer times.

Your bank might end up charging you anywhere from $25 to $65 on the sending side of the transaction. The institution may also charge from $15 to $30 on the recipient's side. On top, you may also end up waiting for up to 5 days for the funds to clear in the recipient's account.

If you're sending small amounts under $7,000, it's a good idea to investigate other options like retail money exchanges, e-wallets, and cryptocurrencies for competitive rates.

Is it safe to use a money transfer company?

Yes, providing you're using one of the accredited partners on the Finty list, you won't have any issues processing your transaction. All these institutions conduct encrypted transfers, ensuring you get your money safely to Japan.

USD / JPY exchange rates

If you want to send money to Japan from the USA, you'll need to check the currency "spot" rate. The spot price is the inter-bank lending rate on the currency pair.

For instance, you could have $1 equal to 100 Japanese Yen (these are not accurate figures, just example amounts), which would be the spot price.

However, the bank or retail exchange will charge you a margin or "spread" above that price. In our example, they might offer you an exchange rate of $1 = 98 Yen, the difference in the pricing is the margin or spread in the deal.

Cryptocurrencies and e-wallets typically offer you lower spreads and faster transaction times in the deal.

What are the fees?

If you're sending money to Japan from the USA, you'll need to use a third party for the transaction, and they will charge you fees for the service; here are some estimates of what you can expect to pay in fees for processing the transaction.

What is a typical fee?

If you're sending money using your bank, they may charge you around 5% of the transfer amount as a fee. They may also add a transaction cost of between $25 to $65, depending on the institution's terms and conditions.

The recipient will receive the money directly into their bank account. However, they'll also pay a few between $15 to $30 for the transaction. It depends on the amount and the terms and conditions of the institution processing the transaction.

Cryptocurrencies and e-wallets have the lowest transaction fees, and you could end up paying anything from a fraction of a percent to 4.5%, depending on the method you choose and amount you transfer.

Can fees be avoided?

You can avoid or reduce the costs of sending money to Japan from the USA using e-wallets or cryptocurrency. These vehicles offer you faster transaction times and lower fees.

Minimum and maximum transfer amounts

Rates and transfer limitations differ between financial services providers. If you're sending large amounts, say $10,000 or more to Japan, a bank wire is the safest option. Using a retail money exchange for this transaction is less secure and risky.

Typically, retail money exchanges like Wise have maximum limits on transactions of between $7,000 to $10,000, depending on the organization. These retail exchanges may also have minimum requirements between $500 to $1,000, depending on the company.

Using e-wallet services requires you to verify your account with KYC, requiring you to furnish proof of your identity and address, before you can send larger amounts. Cryptocurrency exchanges also need you to verify your identity for sending amounts over $10,000, in most cases.

Alternative ways to send money to Japan

Using the bank or retail money exchanges is the more traditional way of sending money internationally. It's an inefficient and expensive process. Today, you have options like e-wallets and cryptocurrencies for sending money from the US to Japan.

These facilities have lower transaction costs and faster transaction times. Sure, they might seem somewhat intimidating to use at first. However, it's remarkably easy and efficient to send money internationally using these vehicles after you understand the process.

Business vs. personal considerations

If you're sending money to a business or as a business, the bank can help you process a wire transaction. However, suppose you're using a retail money exchange like Western Union.

In that case, you'll have to leave personal details like a copy of your ID or passport, as well as your cell phone number, and perhaps a proof of address like a utility bill.

When the recipient goes to collect, they'll be doing so on behalf of the business. Therefore, the money exchange retail partner or outlet will require the recipient's details for collection, not the company.

This process helps stop money laundering transactions. The recipient will also need to leave a copy of their ID or passport, along with their cellphone number.


How can I fund my money transfer?

You can fund a money transfer from the US to Japan using a variety of vehicles. You have options for SWIFT bank transfers, retail money exchanges, e-wallets like Stripe and Venmo, and cryptocurrencies.

How fast can my money transfer be sent to Japan?

It depends on the method you use to send the currency. Using a bank can take up to five working days, while a money exchange service can take anywhere from one to three days. Crypto and e-wallet transactions are the fastest, with transaction time taking anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours.

What are the money collection options?

If you're sending through the bank, your recipient will receive the funds directly in their account. Depending on the retail money exchange you use, the recipient will receive the money in their bank account or they will have to visit a partner retail outlet in their destination country. Check the listing in your area for the closest retail outlet to you.

Are there any tax considerations?

There are tax implications involved in sending money to Japan. For 2021, the IRS has a $15,000 gift allowance for individuals ($30,000 for couples); exceeding these amounts will require you to pay tax on the money you send from the US to Japan.