Dealing with the bank and all responsibilities entailed to it is inevitable for anyone who decides to operate their business in the land of the rising sun.
As banking is a requisite duty alongside performing your core business, it is essential be informed of the realities of banking in Japan, so you can temper your expectations and decide on an action plan to ease the difficulties of dealing matters with the bank.
Reality of Banking in Japan
The Japanese banking system still has a long road ahead in creating an ideal sphere for non-natives’ in need for easier and more navigable banking proceedings.
One major problem foreigners face when they transact the bank is the insurmountable wall that is the Japanese writing system. Learning the writing system is a major hurdle in learning the language alone, so it would therefore be humanly impossible to juggle the feat alongside running a business.
A bank or two may offer an ‘english’ interface, but along the process will still require you to input Katakana(one in the three part writing system, now you already see how difficult that is). The most likely reason being the English versions incompatibility to the original Japanese interface. When it’s nigh impossible to type in Katakana, a Japanese staff support can initiate assistance.
Users that own personal accounts at Shinsei Bank or SMBC PRESTIA have the option to use a compatible English interface for internet banking service, however, it is not provided to corporate account users.
With the Japanese banking system not catering to the core needs of non-native corporate users anytime soon, we recommend adopting the following two step process.
You can perform bank transactions such as vendor and tax payments and overseas remittance in a timely and cost-effective manner sans the mentioned language issues.
Step 1: Outsource Bank Management to a Trusted Professional
We strongly recommend a trusted Japanese person to manage your bank transactions.
Anyone can be assigned to manage your bank, be it your business partner, employee, or family member. But even close business partners or employees run the potential risk for embezzlement.
To avoid this, we propose utilizing the services of a nominee representative director.
Our client companies have already been availing the expertise of our nominee representative director for matters that include, but not limited to, tax management,
HR legal, visa and relevant compliances well as their own bank transactions.
These services have proven to be cost effective and timely that it rewards them with focus towards their core business and cash generating activities.
The nominee representative director sees no incentive in committing fraud to a company availing his services. Outsourcing compliance and bank management duties to such trusted professional is a smart idea.
If you have a corporate bank account at SMBC (Mitsui Sumitomo Bank), we recommend applying for “Web 21 Lite” internet banking service as Web 21 Lite can be used for free.
Step 2: Reducing internet banking running costs to zero
The advantages of Web 21 Lite are as follows.
- Monthly subscription fee is free
- Maximum transfer amounts per day is 3,000,000 yen
- Logged-in internet banking window via pc (browser) and smartphone (apps for iphone & android)
So far, other banks charge some monthly subscription fees and the running costs to use internet banking is a burden to startup companies.
Or the internet banks such as Rakuten Bank and Sumishin SBI Net Bank are also very useful since no running costs are imposed and the bank charge per transaction is relatively lower than the mega banks or store type banks.
In the case you face difficulties in opening a corporate bank account or managing bank transactions, or simply want to see the best solution, please feel free to contact us.
We believe we can provide the best professional solution to you.