Japan Today

Money transfer platform TransferWise launches in Japan


TransferWise announced Wednesday the official launch of its innovative peer-to-peer money transfer platform in Japan, providing customers here with a service that is safe, faster and up to three times cheaper than what’s offered by banks and traditional foreign exchange companies. TransferWise said it is always transparent about pricing, without any hidden fees, and is fully regulated by Kanto Local Financial Bureau (KLFB).

Japan represents a key market for TransferWise, and the company said it is dedicated to offering people here with new and fair way to transfer money across continents and currencies. There are 1.31 million Japanese people living abroad and 2.23 million people from overseas who call Japan their home. And Japan continues to internationalize, as it evolves as a one of the fasted-growing tourist destinations in Asia, aiming to grow the number of international visitors to 40 million in 2020 for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

TransferWise Japan officially launched its inbound/outbound money transfer solution in Japanese, available at the company’s homepage (www.transferwise.com), which offers interface and customer support in a total of nine languages. Japan is a key country for TransferWise, and the company will continue to invest into the market, with three employees currently based there it aims to build the team to 10 in 2017.

Today TransferWise is helping over a million people around the world transfer more than 1.1 billion each month, saving themselves $50 million every month. The service provides over 645 routes, via 38 currencies. TransferWise currently handles over 600,000 transactions each month, and can deliver to around 90% of the world's bank accounts; money can be sent from 36 countries and to 55 countries. Originating in the UK and Europe, in 2015 the company launched in the U.S. and Australia. So far in 2016 TransferWise has launched in Canada and Brazil and has launched to China and to Korea. New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong will be launched later this year.

How it works

To use TransferWise, customers simply register by selecting the desired currencies, inputting contact and payment details, and uploading the amount they wish to transfer. The simple three-step verification process includes: 1) ID check 2) My Number check and 3) address verification.

Next money is then transmitted to TransferWise to facilitate transfer of money to the beneficiary. TransferWise supports multiple payment options including bank transfers and 3D secure debit card payments. The transaction is processed and a final notification is sent when the payment has been completed.

TransferWise converts the user’s money at the mid-market rate, using a peer-to-peer platform so money never crosses borders. This means banking charges are avoided. For example, Japanese banks use transaction charges and hidden charges of up to 10% of the amount to be sent and take 2-5 days to complete. However with TransferWise that transaction is typically three times cheaper – charging about 1%, and within 1-2 business days.

TransferWise Japan was established in June 4, 2014, and currently offers interface and customer support in a total of nine languages (including English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Magyar, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish).

© Japan Today

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Magyar and Hungarian are the same. That's why there are ten languages listed but it says only nine.

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"charging about 1%"

1% of what? That could be quite a significant fee depending on the amount. There are loads of ways to transfer money, but the cheapest way often depends on the amount you want to move.

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Finally it has launched in Japan. So sick of Japan's absurd international transfer fees and time wastage..

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Western Union is fast and cheap as well, why should I use a service that takes 1-2 days.

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@drlucifer: Western Union is cheap and fast, however the recipient needs to collect in cash at some Western Union agent on the other end, which is incredibly inconvenient. Also, if it's a large amount, they will have a lot of trouble finding a place that'll cash out. TransferWise appears to transfer directly to accounts

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Sounds interesting, but unfortunately 1% is more than what my bank charges for the one payment I make overseas monthly.

I wonder if they have a variable rate, or a cap. I'll definitely be looking into it further.

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I signed up, This beats having to receive a phone call from Mizuho every time a transaction comes in from HSBC

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Looks like they have a JPY1M upper limit for transfers :/

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Looks like they have a JPY1M upper limit for transfers :/

Good to know. But at a 10,000yen fee (1%) for transferring that much, I'm guessing any bank would be cheaper.

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I think the sales point is that you get a better exchange rate, so the 1% could very well work out cheaper with these guys. Depends on what rate the bank gives. Online is also another plus, takes me over 30 minutes at various banks to just do a single overseas transfer. Also, might be possible to just do multiple transfers of a million yen, but then they also seem to have an annual cap on transfers (200K for US). Looking at trustpilot reviews, a lot of one star reviews complaining about them.

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I think what most people don't reliase and what these guys are trying to address today are:

1) Most bank end of charging recepient /medium bank fee 2) Most bank /remmitence brokers hide commision withn own FX rate. (i.e. TTS rate) - sometimes they say "commsion free" 3) TransferWise only charges 1% + real market rate. - which isn't bad deal at all

It's important to compare with "provided rate" vs "market rate (i.e Reuters/Google) and how much commsion + meidum bank, recepient bank fee.

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