I just sent my application for a Shinsei Bank account and I must say, the hardest part in filling up the application form was choosing the color of the bank card. They have 32 colors including Big Sky, Orange Juice and Cherry Blossom.
I ended up choosing Midnight, because I know It’s as close as I can get to getting the uber-exclusive Black Card.
At first I was considering getting a Citibank account but I wasn’t really impressed with their English website in Japan. I checked the Roppongi Hills site to see what banks they have there and found they have both Mizuho and Shinsei Bank. Being already familiar with Mizuho Bank, I decided to check out the latter’s website to see what they have to offer.
I was impressed.
Unlike most Japanese banks, their ATMs are open 24/7, many of their branches (called Financial Centers) are open until 7:00 PM, branches are usually co-located with Starbucks Coffee, account holders can make deposits and withrawals without charges using other banks’ ATMs including Japan Post ATMs, free bank transfers (up to five per month) to any Japanese bank and most importantly, their bank cards come in 32 colors.
Also, I think Shinsei Bank is the most bilingual bank in Japan. All services offered in the Japanese site are also offered in the English Site, customer service personnel are also bilingual, they have English application forms and English monthly statements. In fact, if you search the web, you’ll see that Shinsei Bank is very popular among gaijins.
It’s not all positive though. Some people may not like the fact that they have very few branches slash Financial Centers and also, some people may not like the fact that they have to make the very very hard decision of choosing the right color.
P.S. I wasn’t paid to write this.