This article probably needs to be cleaned up an updated. There are a number of different ways to send money home depending on the country to which you are sending and how fast you want your money transferred.
A service called GoRemit, provided by Shinsei Bank, has become quite popular among JETs and expats in recent years. Please stay tuned for info, or someone who knows more about it please add to this section.
Sending money through the Japanese Post Office is one of the cheapest options available, although it can take a while. You can send money to most of JETs' home countries, although notably not to Ireland. You can remit money to either an overseas address, or an overseas bank account. You can pay in cash, or you can have the sum debited from a Post Office savings account. A fixed handling charge of ¥2,500 (¥2,000 to the USA if you send it yourself) applies to all remittances, regardless of the amount sent. Post Office exchange rates are thought to be quite competitive.
You have to present identification documents at the Post Office (your gaijin card is fine) and you have to write an "indication of purpose" for the remittance. As long as you don't write "lottery tickets", "gambling debts" or "Uranium consignment", then you should be fine!
Note: Depending on the destination country, intermediary bodies may charge a handling fee and the destination bank may apply an incoming foreign transaction charge.
Sending to an addressEdit
The Post Office will send a postal money order that will be delivered to any address you specify. The recipient can then cash the order at their local post office. Money orders are valid for 3 months. There may be limits on the amount you can send, depending on destination country. It can take between 5-60 days to arrive at the address: UK 5-10 days; USA 5-12 days; Australia 10-20 days and Canada 20-30 days.
Sending to an accountEdit
Remittances to accounts can be sent by two methods: Inpayment Money Order (i.e. by post) or Telegraphic Transfer. Money orders take 4-20 days to arrive in your account, while telegraphic transfer will occur in 2-4 days. You may have to pay more than the standard ¥2,500 for the quicker service.
Using high street banks has been the most used way to send money transfers abroad, but over the past 8 years the UK has seen a boom in foreign exchange providers. In 2012, foreign exchange companies have started to dominate the industry where they are able to offer bank beating rates not only to small , medium and large corporations but also to individuals.
The way it is done is rather simple; You send your money domestically to the company you have set up an account with, they will take this wire and deposit in your account (fully secured and seperated from the companies' funds), in which you can make money transfers to other currencies with preferable rates, and pay smaller fees (or no fees at all) on such transfers.
The market is highly developed in the UK, with over 100 FCA approved companies, and is developing quickly in the US where FX giants from the UK try and conquer (A good example would be WorldFirst, the 4th largest money transfer company in the UK , which is now operating globally with offices in the US).
There has also seen an increase in comparison websites promoting the industry, www.comparemoneytransfer.com is one of the most established companies comparing foreign exchange companies to banks. Another established money transfer comparison website is www.sendmoneyhome.co.uk and www.bankexchangerates.co.uk where you can see what high street bank will offer consumers including transfer costs.
Another new player in this field created this send money abroad wizard , which allows you to see which FX company matches your requirements (and transfers money from your whereabouts, to where you want it to be delivered). The growing number of FX brokering companies has brought up a lot of companies performing these type of services, and a Guardian article discovers the non-FCA-regulated companies impose a real threat to the entire industry, by using mapractices, and basically "ripping off" clientele; From such events came the necessity to carefuly review and compare between different international money transfer companies. With tools like the Wizard, you can easily verify you are approaching the right company which operates in your whereabouts.
See more information about how to get started at the Central Wikia tutorial.