Offerings and Transaction Charges

The December 20th/27th 2021 issue of Jinja Shinpō (a joint issue for the end of the year) included an article on the new transaction charges that many banks have been introducing, and their impact on jinja.

Many banks have introduced, or are about to introduce, charges for deposits (or withdrawals, but the concern is over deposits) of large numbers of coins. In most cases, it is free up to one hundred coins, but after that there is a fee that works out to ¥1.1 per coin in ideal cases. (It tends to be a fixed fee for 501-1000 coins, and the like, so the fee is a bit higher if you are low in the range, and lower if you are high in the range. Some banks charge you even if you decide not to deposit the money when you hear the fee. ¥1.1 is ¥1 plus consumption tax, by the way.)

This is obviously a concern for jinja that want to deposit the coins dropped into the offertory box. ¥1 coins are worse than useless, as the fee is more than the value of the coin, while the bank’s share of the traditional ¥5 coin is over 20%.

One point of particular interest is that the article gives precise numbers for a jinja in Tokyo Prefecture. In a certain month (neither the month nor the jinja is identified), ¥155,536 was put into the offertory box, made up of 6,094 coins. The transaction fee would vary by bank, but would be about 5% of the total. Someone, possibly at a different jinja (the article is strategically vague…) said that they get just short of ¥20,000 in ¥1 coins every year, which is a substantial amount to be unable to deposit. We can also see that the average value per coin at the first jinja is about ¥25, which means that quite a few people must be offering larger denominations than ¥5. This is of particular interest because these are the first specific numbers I have seen for the amount dropped into the box. It is one unspecified jinja in Tokyo, so we can’t generalise at all, but it is, at least, a data point.

The main point of the article, explicitly emphasised at the end, is that this is a real problem for jinja, and that they need to discuss how to address it. This is, primarily, the issue of cashless offerings, which I have mentioned before.

The take-home message for us is that we should not offer ¥1 coins at all, and even the “traditional” ¥5 coin should be avoided. The transaction fee on a ¥10 coin is 11%, which is just about acceptable, but unless you are visiting a lot of jinja (or one jinja a lot of times), ¥50 coins might be a better minimum denomination.

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2 thoughts on “Offerings and Transaction Charges”

  1. Hmmm. For a bit of cultural—or economic—anthropology, what is the background of the new charges?

    —As far as coins, I could see mebbe a concern these days related to Covid, but then winding up with change will be related to how much one spends using cash vs using a card . . . where in my case, I have absolutely no idea of an average Japanese use of cash vs a debit/credit car/online wozzer . . .

    1. Japan was heavily cash based, despite government attempts to encourage the move to cashless (even credit cards), until the pandemic. That gave things a strong push, and now cashless transactions have become much more common. Cash is still very much in use, however.

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