Getting a Wire Transfer Returned/Refunded

In Japan, most money is sent domestically or internationally via wire transfer.  If you have any kind of debt (student loans, credit card bills, etc.) accumulated back in your home country, one of the first things you’ll probably be looking for is a way to send money home.  Any bank or post office can do it, but it’s often a little cheaper and faster to use a remittance service like Western Union, Go Remit (previously called Go Lloyds), JTB Money T Global, or SBI Remit.

This isn’t a post about how to send a wire transfer or how to use remittance services per-se, but last week I had trouble with my wire transfer through Go Remit after finally getting my last name changed on my bank account, and it didn’t go through properly.  To solve the issue, I needed to request my money to be returned from their bank to my bank, which is called a kumi modoshi in Japanese.


Before you request a kumi modoshi, make sure the money hasn’t been transferred back to your account and that it is truly stuck or in limbo where it shouldn’t be by confirming with the receiving bank.  If you’ve received the suggestion to do a kumi modoshi from the receiving bank or you’ve notified them first, the process takes much less time.  (Essentially how long it takes to get your money back is determined by how long it takes the receiving bank to investigate the situation and refund the wire transfer, so the more heads up they have, the smoother it goes.)

A kumi modoshi has to be done from your bank and you can do it from the regular teller window.  You’ll need your signature stamp (hanko inkan), the original wire transfer transaction receipt, and your bank cash card or bank book (tsūchō).

There’s a form you fill out with the usual personal info and sign with your signature stamp.  On the form you can also choose how you want the money returned to you (straight into your bank account, etc).

The service isn’t free though, and you’ll be charged a transaction fee in advance.  It cost me 864 yen ($8.64 USD) at my bank, MUFG.  Because I’d already notified the receiving bank in advance, it only took 2-3 days to get the money transferred back to me. 🙂

You might wonder why this needed its own post, but both my bank and the receiving bank had me calling and scrambling back and forth for a week before someone finally explained to me how to properly go about fixing the situation, even without any language communication issues.  So it seemed like this situation could be just as confusing, or even much more of a headache for someone else! 😉
Any other financial troubleshooting tips to share?  Please leave a comment below!

– J

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