Seven Bank international transfer: Fees, rates and transfer time


Seven Bank offers different methods of making an international money transfer, depending on where you want your money to go. If you’re looking to transfer funds to the Philippines or to China, you have the option of making a bank to bank transfer. However, in other circumstances, the bank recommends you use their money transfer service operated by Western Union. This means that your recipient will have to go to a Western Union outlet to collect their cash.

Whichever option you choose, it’s a good idea to know a bit about how Seven Bank works when it comes to moving your money. That way you can pick the best service for your needs, and avoid any unexpected fees. You could likely also save money by using a specialist transfer service like Wise. But more on that later.

A quick example before we get started.

A theoretical bank transfer sending ¥150,000 from Japan to a pound sterling bank account in the UK.

While the prices between the two may look comparable, what isn’t often mentioned is that, on average, banks and money transfer providers often mark up an exchange rate by 4-6% to make money on converting your currency. Which means it’s a good idea to compare the exchange rate you’re offered with an online currency converter to find out how much your international transfer is really costing you.

Seven Bank uses Western Union for most of their international transfers. And Western Union clearly states on their own website that*:*

> Western Union also makes money from currency exchange. When choosing a money transmitter, carefully compare both transfer fees and exchange rates.

ProviderFeeExchange RateTotal Cost
Seven Bank (Japan - Western Union)¥990 - ¥6500Exchange rate + markupfrom ¥990 to ¥6500 + exchange rate markup
Wise¥1,190The real exchange rate - the same one you find on Google¥1,190

(Source 1, Source 2 22 January 2018)

Now that you have a little better idea of how much an international money transfer will really cost, here’s all you need to know about making an international transfer with Seven Bank.

What are the fees for an international money transfer with Seven Bank in Japan?

Seven Bank’s normal international money transfer rates via Western Union are calculated depending on the amount you’re transferring and the country your cash is headed to. You can use the online calculator to see the fees in your case, although the bank does note that the exchange rate applied might change by the time you actually process the transfer.

Bank to bank remittances to China and to the Philippines have a different charging structure.

(Source 1, Source 2, 22 January 2018)

Seven Bank International transfer fees table

Seven Bank TransactionRegular Fee
Incoming international transferFees will depend on how the sender has structured the transfer with Western Union, and whether they choose to pay some of the fees themselves or have it deducted from the transfer amount
Outgoing international transferBank to bank transfers to the Philippines cost between ¥950 and ¥2000 depending on the amount transferred.Bank to bank transfers to China cost ¥2000 Western Union offers a calculator to help you check the fees for transfers using their service. Depending on the amount transferred you can pay from ¥990 to ¥6500.
Additional fees may applySee additional fees section

(Source 1, Source 2, Source 3 22 January 2018)

Seven Bank exchange rates

Seven Bank warns customers about a few charges that will impact their transfer, but it’s not only the flat fees which are important. If you’re sending money through Seven Bank, you also need to know if the exchange rate used is fair. You can run a simulation of the exchange rate and fees, based on your transaction details, on the bank’s website or app. However, this simulation can only be relied on ‘as a general rule’, according to the bank’s own small print. This is what the detailed information says about transfers using the Western Union service:

> In certain payout countries, however, the actual rate applied and/or amount received may differ from those confirmed by the customer due to reasons such as (1) currency conversion made to the payout currency with the Bank's prescribed exchange rate as at the time of payment or at the time of credit to the Receiver's Bank Account, etc. (2) taxes and/or fees imposed upon payment of the money transfer or upon credit to the Receiver's Bank Account, or (3) the payment currency is converted to the Bank's prescribed currency at a rate equivalent to the Bank's prescribed foreign exchange rate as at the time of payment or at the time of credit to the Receiver's Bank Account, etc.

Basically, this means that although you can simulate the transfer, to try to work out what it’ll be worth after the conversion is done, you can’t be certain until the money has actually landed in the recipient’s account. Depending on the details of your transaction, an intermediary bank might choose the exchange rate to apply. There’s no guarantee that the rate used will be the same as the exchange rate given on Google. In fact, if an intermediary picks your rate, you’re unlikely to find that you’re getting a great deal.

Even if you do get the rate quoted by Seven Bank, it includes a margin for their profit. Here’s how they explain this on their website in small print:

> The exchange rates that Seven Bank uses for currency conversion for the International Money Transfer Service include Seven Bank margins.

When it comes to bank transfers to the Philippines, Seven Bank sets the rate and will tell you what it is at the time of the transaction being processed.

(Source 1, Source 2 22 January 2018)

Additional fees from Seven Bank

As the small print detailed above shows, there is the possibility that fees will be added to your transaction by banks other than Seven Bank if you use the Western Union option. This is likely, too, if your transfer is processed using the SWIFT system.

These are on top of any fees you have already paid to Seven Bank and can be taken from the transfer amount as it passes through the system. Unfortunately, Seven Bank might not be able to tell you ahead of time, exactly what other fees might be applied.

International transfers with Seven BankAdditional fees
Intermediary and recipient feesSeven Bank warn that extra fees might be added depending on the country you’re sending money to
Using an ATM to process and international paymentSeven Bank says: “For money transfer through a Seven Bank ATM, the ATM Service (Withdrawal) Fee will also be charged in addition to the Send Charge, depending on the time of day (such ATM Service (Withdrawal) Fee will be described as "ATM fee for off-hours use" on the ATM screen and on the transaction statement (receipt) issued at the time when money is sent in the International Money Transfer Service).”

(Source 22 January 2018)

A cheap and transparent alternative: Wise

If you need to make an international money transfer to or from Japan, then it’s worth understanding all your options. You might well find that you can move your money for less, and with less hassle, using a specialist in international money transfers like Wise. Wise use the real exchange rate to process your transfer and add only a small transparent cost per transaction.

If you need to do international money transfers frequently, or you live or work abroad, a Wise borderless multi-currency account is another useful tool. With it, you can hold your money in several different currencies, and then exchange it whenever you need it. If you’re paid in the EU, the UK, Australia or the US but don’t actually live there, you can get your salary using local bank details with a borderless account. That means that there’s no international payment involved at all, so you don’t need to worry about potential hidden fees.

See for yourself if you can get a better deal with Wise.

How do you make an international bank transfer (or Western Union transfer) with Seven Bank?

Depending on the service options you choose, you’ll be able to make an international money transfer via Seven Bank using their International Money Transfer App, online or at a Seven Bank ATM. Most of the international payment options are operated alongside Western Union, although you can also transfer money to the Philippines and China via Seven Bank’s local partner banks. You have to set up your internet banking service in advance of using the money transfer service.

If you’re arranging a transfer via Western Union, your money will have to be collected by the recipient, rather than going directly into their bank account.

You should be aware that there are some countries which have upper limits in terms of the amount you can transfer or the number of transfers you can make in a day.

(Source 1, Source 2 22 January 2018)

What do I need in order to make an international money transfer?

The exact information you’re asked for will depend on the details of the transfer. A bank to bank transfer is processed differently than a Western Union transfer. For a Western Union transfer, you’ll have to register the person you’re sending money to first as a receiver, before setting up the transfer. If your recipient is in China they may need to show their ID documents to get the money from the pickup location or set a password which they then give to the agent.

If you’re doing a bank to bank transfer you can expect to need the following:

  • The transfer amount
  • The full name of the person you’re sending the money to, as written on the account
  • The recipient’s IBAN if you’re sending to Europe, or destination country, account number and branch details if not
  • Depending on where your money is being transferred to, you might need the SWIFT/BIC code, or routing code if you’re transferring to the USA

(Source 1, Source 2 22 January 2018)

What do I need or what should I give to the sender in order to receive an international bank transfer?

If you’re expecting to receive an international money transfer with Seven Bank, you’ll need to use the Western Union system. That means that the sender will process the money transfer with their bank or a Western Union Agent. They may then give you a code that you’ll need to receive the money at your local Western Union outlet. The agent will then give you the money which has been transferred, minus any fees. If you’re the recipient and you’re in China you might also have to show identification to collect your cash, depending on how the sender has structured the transfer.

(Source 22 January 2018)

How long does an international bank transfer with Seven Bank take?

If you’re using Western Union, your remittance can be collected straight after you’ve sent it, as long as the recipient has all the details and can visit the pickup location. For bank to bank transfers to China and the Philippines, the time taken depends on the recipient bank and can take up to two working days.

(Source 22 January 2018)

Is there any way to make a faster transfer for an extra fee?

The bank doesn’t offer any way to speed up payments.

Contact / Help - More questions around your transfer?

If you have specific questions about your transfer, you can talk to the advisors at Seven Bank, or at Western Union.

  • You can call their customer center for international money transfers which operates from Sunday to Friday, 10:00 am-8:00 pm, on 0120-033-253 if you need an English speaking operator, or 0120-000-277 for Japanese
  • If you need to talk to the Western Union customer service center you can do so from Japan on 0034-800-400-733, or +61-2-9226-9554 from overseas
  • There’s also a lot of helpful information in the FAQ page on the Seven Bank website

If you need to make an international money transfer you have a few options - and using your bank might not be the best choice available. By doing a bit of research in advance, you can save yourself unnecessary fees and hassle, and be sure you’re getting the best possible deal for your transfer.

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