We all hear Japan is so high tech, everything is available and optimised… Well, when you travel to this country, one thing you may find rather frustrating is to find an ATM to get a few hundreds of dollars using your cash card from your home, which you had no trouble with getting the cash out in many other countries you’ve travelled to. That’s exactly the situation I was in since last night. I ran out of the few ten thousand yen notes I had at the start of the week, and my first pay day is more than a week away. My Australian bank with the red star logo is pretty bad with currency exchange rate, and they still charge $5 of international transaction charges every time. So I had every reason to not use the money in my aussie bank, but I was unfortunately left with no choice.

So before I got home, I walked around the street of Ebisu on a busy wet Friday night that started the 3-day weekend, And tried some of the largest Japanese banks that have more than a dozen machines in its after- hour ATM room. No luck. Cone Saturday morning, I tried a few other banks near my hotel. Again no good.

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And where should I get my hands on those Japanese yen? This familiar convenience store, that’s where! 7 Eleven’s founded a ‘Seven Bank’ which Zi believe is originally set up as a part of cooperation between Citibank Japan and Japan Post. Why Post, you may ask. Japan Post was one of the largest banking institution in the country, until it was privatised and I don’t know if it is still the largest user base. Anyhow, when Japan Post was trying to roll out more ATMs in towns while the same effort was taking place at Citibank, it is not hard to imagine they just reached out for each other.

Anyhow… Now they have ATMs of the Seven Bank within practically every 7 Eleven which accommodate cards issued with access to an international network like PLUS, Maestro, etc. as Citibank was one of the first and only bank network with international ATM.

In the famous tourist destination of Kyoto, you would expect to have sn international ATM around every major attraction. No such case here, at least when I went there with my friends several years ago. I let my friends go into the famous Golden Pagoda, as we collectively did not have enough cash to pay admission for all of us… But that is that. Now, if you land in Japan, look for that orange and red sign. 7 Eleven is your one stop shop!

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