Changing U.S. dollars into Japanese Yen
One of the more popular questions in Japanese travel forums on the internet relates to finding the best rates for changing U.S. dollars into Japanese Yen. That being the case, I did a comparison last year and posted my results here.
Subsequent to creating that web page, others have emailed me their experiences. In the future, people can compare stories by responding to this blog entry.
Here is one that I just received yesterday:
I found your study to be very thorough and just what I was looking for. Some new info as of June 2008:
Bank of America skims off 3%, so you get approx. 104 yen (exchange rate is 107) but no “additional” service fees if you change $1000+. Narita airport website now lists exchange rate. If you bring cash, it is 104 yen (I’m guessing there is a fee attached as well, but can’t confirm). If you bring Traveler’s Checks, the exchange is 106. So that seems to be the best option, if you can get your TC for free at your bank, then wait until you are in Japan to do the exchange.
(Lonely Planet (newest version) says you will pay fees at Japanese banks and airports to exchange, so I’m undecided at this point about what to do.)
There were no fees at Japanese post offices if you had international postal money orders in hand, and I don’t believe that has changed.
I’ve noticed in preparation for my trip to Europe next week that my credit card companies are charging more than they previously did. My MasterCard is taking 3% off the top for currencies other than U.S. dollars, and my American Express is taking 2%. Since my American Express gives 3% cash back on restaurants, and 2% back for travel-related purchases that won’t be bad. Hopefully people will take American Express, and I won’t be forced to use my MasterCard (which only gives 1% back).
Leave a reply if you have additional, first-hand experiences that can help people save money on currency exchanges.