Sony Bank Incorporated announced the launch of a new English-language online banking service, aiming to provide foreign residents in Japan a seamless, hassle-free way to open a bank account and conduct everyday banking in English.
As of June 2019 (*1), the number of foreign residents in Japan has grown to 2.82 million, up 7.3 percent from the previous year, and these numbers are expected to increase further. Meanwhile, according to an online survey (*2) of foreign residents conducted by Sony Bank, 60 percent of respondents indicated that they were dissatisfied with banking procedures in Japan. The most commonly cited reasons for this lack of satisfaction included complicated paperwork and procedures, the need for hanko seals, and a lack of language support.
When asked what services they would like from banks in Japan, the top response from foreign residents was the need for online banking and being able to conduct everyday banking transactions without having to visit the bank in person. These results reaffirmed that there is potential for Japanese banks to provide more user-friendly services aimed at foreign residents in Japan, with seamless English banking systems and support services.
Taking into account Japan’s internationalization and needs of the expatriate community, Sony Bank decided to establish a new English smartphone app that would take the hassle out of opening an account in Japan and allow account holders to make everyday banking transactions online. The new service makes banking simple for non-Japanese residents, including a dedicated English smartphone app that uses cutting-edge OCR technology (*3) to make the account opening process quick and easy, without the need for complicated paperwork.