How do I deposit US social security and pension directly to Japanese bank without an American bank?

  • 1
    You don't need a US bank: Japan has an international direct deposit agreement with the United States (and there are other options such as a Direct Express® debit card, for which you don't need any bank account). See whether this SSA brochure has the info you need (and then some).
    – Giorgio
    Commented Nov 13, 2018 at 21:33

2 Answers 2


This webpage, not published by Social Security, contains the following q-and-a:

Q: I have looked at the Social Security website and could not find if there is a way to receive one's Social Security pension benefits for an American citizen living abroad without a bank account anywhere in the world.

A: The Social Security Administration can send checks; however, there are some country exceptions. For the most current information about receiving Social Security payments outside the United States You can also get a copy of Social Security Administration Publication No. 05-10137, ICN 480085, online, by postal mail from the Social Security Administration, or from the Federal Benefits Unit serving your area (check the AmericanCitizens Services section of the American embassy In your country of residence.

Thus, if Japan is not a "country exception," and if your Japanese bank will accept a US direct deposit or a US check for deposit or collection, you should be OK.

  • 2
    Cashing for person US checks in Japan is impossible. For some corporate clients some banks may provide such service for additional fee and it may take several months.
    – Rambalac
    Commented Nov 13, 2018 at 15:44

It doesn’t look like any Japanese domestic bank participates in the American banking system’s electronic draft system that would give them the ABA bank code number you need for a direct deposit from with the USA. Instead, Japanese banks all use the international SWIFT codes which are not the same system with ABA.

(I once had the opposite problem of trying to get funds from japan and they needed a bank with international swift and many banks in the USA only have ABA)

At best you could set up a MUFG Union Bank NA account in the USA and withdraw in Japan, but that’s an American bank and you don’t want to do that. Same goes for CitiBank.

I’m not sure why you’re trying to avoid setting up an American bank account. You have an American social security number so it should be easy to set up an account with an online bank that’ll issue you an international debit card you can use to withdraw the funds in Japanese yen in Japan at any 7-11 or post office.

Update: from the link @Giorgio provided, the social security office can also provide you with a debit card you can use to either cash out or charge purchases to:

Another option to receive your benefits electronically is to use the Direct Express® debit card. You do not need a bank account. With the Direct Express® card program, we deposit your federal benefit payment directly onto your card account. Your monthly benefits are available on your payment day — on time, every time. You can use the card to make purchases, pay bills, or get cash at thousands of locations.

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