whilst many first world countries are slowly turning cashless, Japan still believes in the power of the real thing. below is an article from yesterdays Yomiuri newspaper which describes the extent cash still plays in scoiety here: you can take 10 grand (sterling) out the bank in any one day. if you have it.
debit cards are still rare, though of course credit cards are common. the upshot is there is a lot of money floating around at anyone time. a peek into the average punters wallet will reveal a wad. I used to take out 20 or 30 quid tops in the UK - using debit for anything over 5.
here I take out 20,000 yen (100 quid) at any one time. you also pay for using your own banks ATM's after 5 or at weekends, and if you use another bank at any time. it's pretty petty in my own, humble opinion. especially as they often close on holidays. close on holidays? they're bloody machines! they don't need a holiday! It's just like you're always reminded that the banks own you, they have you on strings.
ATM's here are properly used though - people not only withdraw money but also insert their bank books (in typically old school japan style) and get a print of the last transactions. actually that makes sense. but I far rather banking by internet. I noticed last week that my local bank which has a row of around 20 machines inside its branch also has discreet, waist height, A6 size shredders beside each machine. very cute - but watch those fingers.
"Banks have been urged to lower the daily limit on withdrawals from automated teller machines to curb illegal withdrawals using forged and stolen cards. The recommendation was contained in a final report by a Financial Services Agency study group on the safety of bank cash cards.
While the report said the limit should be determined by each financial institution, it recommended an upper limit of 500,000 yen per day (2,500 pounds). Of 135 banks that issue ATM cards, 89 have a 2 million yen daily limit (10,000 pounds)
Financial institutions will be forced to make the tough decision of balancing customer service and security.
The report issued by the group, chaired by Tokyo University Prof. Shinsaku Iwahara, concluded that bank cards should have integrated circuit chips embedded in them. The security measure would allow for a large amount of cash to be withdrawn safely. It also proposed setting an expiry date for the cards if the industry continues to issue the current magnetic plastic cards."
Daily Yomiuri, June 25th 2005