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Best way to exchange USD to JPY each month?

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Hello everyone!

In addition to my job in Japan I also work remotely for a company in the USA. Therefore each month I would like to exchange my pay in USD into JPY. What is the best way to go about this? Up until now, I have been simply withdrawing through my local 7-11 ATM. This works OK, however, each time I am charged with a $5 flat fee as well as a 3% fee from my US bank. Is there a better solution than this? Some ideas I have been considering are using forex exchanges (such as USForex, I have little understanding of the forex system however) and Bitcoin exchanges (Mt. Gox comes to mind, but that was shutdown after currency theft, so that is worrisome). Any thoughts on this?
 

mdchachi

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I think your method is fine except you should use a banking institution with the lowest fees for international banking and forex. There are a few who charge a flat charge without taking a cut of your money beyond the forex spread such as Capital One, Schwab, etc.
Are the Japan Post ATM fees cheaper than 7-11 or are they the same?
 
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I'd suggest you need the right banks or financial outfits on both ends. I think you'll get better fx rates in Japan, so you need a bank here that will allow you to have a US$ acct. (Shinsei, in my experience does not have an inbound fee, and other majors are probably the same.)

Next, you need the money to be sent from the US (in US$) from a place that has low/zero fees for outgoing transfers. Again, big is best because they will/may start it in NYC (direct as possible to Tokyo) so that there will be no intermediaries deducting $25-40 for the "service" of processing the transaction. If your present US acct is at a small/local bank, open another acct at a NY bank/brokerage and do a domestic transfer to that (or write yourself a check), and then do the int'l from there.

Then, when it's here, turn the $ into ¥ as needed (probably online), and use your local ATM card to get the yen.
 
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And, keep in mind that vs. your withdrawals at the local 7-11 ATM, deposits/transfers coming in to a bank acct here may raise some tax flags (I think it depends on amounts and thresholds for those flags).

If you are declaring that US income on your tax filings here, then no problem.
 
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