July 25, 2007 1:26 AM
Going Postal in Japan
The post offices here are AWE-some. In Japan, post offices have semi-banking ability. You can open a post office savings account to store that lovely cash sitting around. There really isn't an interest rate though. Since there are post offices all around Japan in every nook and cranny possible, you'll always have access to the PO ATMs. Note however, PO ATMs are only open during specific hours and aren't accessible on the weekends (fact check?). I had an interesting experience trying to open one, but you to can do it with basically no Japanese speaking/understanding ability. The best part about PO accounts is that even if you leave the country, you can still keep your account. ATMs aren't just depositories however....
... they're much more. You can send money to other people though the ATM. You fill out a nice 1/2 sheet blue form and stick it into the machine. It verifies the information with you. Then coin buckets open up and you put in exact change for the amount you want to send and for the postal commission. In a few seconds a receipt prints out and... ta da! You've sent your money. In a few days the other party receives their money. Now how convenient is that? Safe, fast, cheap. I sent my payment for my WWOOF Japan membership of 5500 yen through the service for 60 yen. Niiiice.
I have not yet recieved my ATM card, but I have my cash book now. The cash book is basically something that looks like the checking account records book in the USA. Except you can slide this into the ATMs and withdraw money. Then, you new balance and transaction information is printed on a line in the book. =) Automatic fun. Though there is PIN protection for both atm and cashbook, you can further protect your ATM card with your finger's vein pattern. How nifty eh. though I wonder.. what happens if you have a very sweaty finger one day. haha. then I guess you can resort back to you pin number?
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