How to open an account at Shinsei Bank

How to open an account at Shinsei Bank

You just arrived in Japan and intend to stay for at least one year, or you have been here for a while but will soon start working? Then you may need to open a Japanese bank account.

If you are not yet fluent in Japanese or just prefer to get full service in English, Shinsei Bank could be a good option for you. They have English-speaking staff at most of their branches and provide English forms. Even the call center is available in English. Shinsei Bank has a good reputation among expats and really offers a service that’s easily accessible for foreigners.

Below I am going to introduce the steps to open a bank account at Shinsei Bank. To apply you can go to one of the branches directly and do the paperwork in person, or you just do everything by mail.

What you need to prepare

Before opening your bank account, you need to check that you are eligible and have all the necessary documents.

  • ✔ currently residing in Japan
  • ✔ valid postal address (post office box address will not be accepted)
  • ✔ your period of stay on your visa is at least 1 year
  • ✔ use your own name and not the one of a corporation
  • ✔ Resident card or Japanese driver’s license
    In the case of the resident card, make sure that your period of stay is at least of 1 year and that the address is correct. If it’s a Japanese driver’s license, check that it was issued for at least 6 months and that the address is correct.
  • ✔ Address in Japan
  • ✔ Japanese phone number

Depending on the availability in the branch you are going to, your card may be issued directly on the day of you open a new account.

Method 1

If you have the possibility to go to a Shinsei Bank branch, check first if it is a financial center. The Shinsei Bank website provides the list of all their branches within Japan. Except for three branches, all of their offices provide financial services. (You may want to avoid the Tama-Plaza branch in Tokyo area, the Osaka and Takatsuki branches in Kansai area which are not financial centers.) Then, prepare your resident card or Japanese driver’s license, your phone number and address information. That is all you need!

If you are worried about doing the process all in Japanese, the head office located in Nihonbashi and the Tokyo office have English-speaking staff. As mentioned on their website, they may not be available at the time you come and it seems you cannot make an appointment, so they recommend you to bring a Japanese speaking person with you. If nobody can accompany you, try to go there early to increase your chances to speak with one of the English speaking staff.

  • At the branch, you will:
  • ✔ Fill in forms (English forms are available)
  • ✔ Be asked to confirm that all your information is correct
  • ✔ Have a brief explanation about the services provided by the bank
  • You can also choose the color of your debit card and you may even be be able to take it home immediately!

Method 2
How to open an account by mail

If you do not have time to go to the office, know that you can do the whole process from home and send all your documents by mail.
Let us do it step by step!

href=”” target=”_blank”>Download an application form or request a Starter Kit

If you have your own printer, click on: Request a Starter Kit. (You can also print at Family Mart or any other convenience store if you download their app or have a USB stick or similar device to bring your data.)
If you agree with the bank’s policy, please click on the button to acknowledge that you read and agree to the above “Handling of Personal Information of Individual Customers” and move to the form. An online form should appear on your screen, where you need to fill in the following information:

  • ■ Your name
  • ■ Date of birth
  • ■ Gender
  • ■ Postal Code (when you put your postal code, some of the fields will automatically get filled)
  • ■ Home Address
  • ■ Home Phone
  • ■ Email address
  • ■ Type of Email address access (Home PC, Work PC, Mobile Phone or Other)
  • ■ Whether you agree to be contacted by Shinsei Bank or not

Then you are invited to click on the link “Identification Documents”. Click the link and you will see the list of the documents you will have to enclose to your mail application. Which are:

  • ✔ A copy of your ID (Residence card, or Special Permanent Resident Certificate, or your Driver’s license in Japan)
  • AND
    ✔ An original of one of your utility bills that was issued within the last 6 months, stating your name and current address

Note that, if you apply by mail, you have to provide one additional document!

Once you have attached the required identification documents, you can now click on the submit button. Now you just have to wait for the mail carrier to deliver your Starter Kit.
If you wish to print the form yourself, then you can click on Download an application form.

Fill in the account application form

Once you printed your application form or received your Starter Kit, you can start filling it in.

1. The name
Be careful to write the exact name that appears on your ID. If you have middle names, write them down. And if you have a name written in kanji characters, do not forget to put it in roman letters as well.
2. Date of Birth
Same as in on your ID, not really much room to go wrong here.
3. Address
Must be your current address and the same as on your ID. Do not forget to put the name of your apartment if there is one.
4. Email address
Provide your main email address, one that you use often so you can receive important information from the bank.
5. Occupation
Pick what’s closest to what you are doing from the list. If none of the options listed fits you, you can write it into the space next to “other”.
6. Purpose of Use:
Choose one box or specify in the blank space.
7.Cash card color:
You can choose the color of your card and report the code. If you let the field blank, you will get the “big sky” color.
8. Signature
Once you acknowledged the bank’s policies, you can sign the form. You have the choice between using your signature or a seal.
If you choose the signature, make sure that you will be able to use exactly the same when needed, and preferably put your full name. If you choose the seal, make sure that you stamp it only once and clearly.

Check the required identification documents

As mentioned before, you will have to provide 2 documents.

1. COPY of your ID (Resident Card, or Special Permanent Resident
Certificate, or Japanese driver’s license). Make sure that you provide a copy of both sides and that the information are correct.
2. ORIGINAL of either:
Residence Certificate (original copy issued within the past 6 months): provide all the pages
Telephone, mobile phone, electricity, water, gas, NHK, internet provider, or CATV, in all of these cases you will have to provide an original document. A copy will not be accepted.

Send all documents to the Bank

Once you filled in the form and gathered all the required documents, you can send it by mail to the following address.

Account Open (Mail Order)
Meguro Production Center
Shinsei Bank
Arco Tower,
8-1 Shimomeguro 1-chome,
Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8511

Receive Welcome Kit, cash card and PIN

After a few weeks, you will receive your Welcome Kit, cash card, and PIN. For safety reasons they will be sent and arrive separately. These documents are sent by registered mail, which means that you need to be home to receive them.
If you are absent the day your documents arrive, you will receive an “undeliverable Item notice”, meaning that the mail went back to the post office and you have to request a redelivery.

First Login

No matter which option you picked, you should now be able to start using your account. Once you received your Welcome Kit and PIN, you can Login to your online account from where you will be able to do money transfers, check your monthly balance and statements.

You will need your Cash card, Security code card, PIN notice. Go to the home page of Shinsei Bank and click on the Login button (upper right of the screen).
1. Input the branch code (3 digits) and account number (7 digits) shown on your cash card
2. Check “Use the Security Keyboard” field
3. Input your PIN (4 digits).
4. Input your birthday (8 digits: yyyymmdd)
5. Click “Login”
You can define your personal password according to Shinsei Bank password policy.
When it is done, click on Submit.
Enter your Security code card number shown on the upper right side of the back of the card. Then, check the box after you read and acknowledged the affirmation and click “next”. Your Security code card is now activated.

That’s all there is to opening a bank account at Shinsei Bank!
With your new account you can access online banking and make transactions from home in English. This should make your life considerably easier, now that you don’t have to use hand signs with bank staff or fight with the Kanji-filled ATM screen.
Please share your experience with Shinsen Bank!

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After traveling around for a while, I found my home in Tokyo. Now working in Shinjuku and discovering something new about Japan every day.