Friday, December 16, 2011
Coming from America, the land of the privileged, I was completely shocked to learn how restrictive Japanese banks and ATMs are. In a cash-based society, you would except ATMs to be available 365 days of the year. This, however, is not the case.
In Japan, most post offices have ATMs, and many people open bank accounts through their post offices (myself included). However, post offices are closed on weekends, meaning you must be certain to withdraw your money on Friday, enough to last until Monday.
Luckily, stores like 7/11 are open 24/7, and for a surcharge you can withdraw your money using their ATM. Unfortunately for me, my lackadaisical nature often results in me paying these surcharges to make it through the weekend.
Christmas is the biggest spending season of the year, isn't it? Well, you might be surprised to know that most banks close their doors and their ATMs from the 31st of December to the 4th of January, effectively cutting you off from your money for half a week. I have heard rumors that this does not apply to 7/11 ATMs, but I can't be sure. New Years is fast approaching, so we will see...