Credit card, debit card or even Pasmo or Suica are must haves if you’re planning to live in Japan.

Credit card

What do you need to get a credit card in Japan as as foreigner?

You’ll always need an ID card with a photo, like your passport or residence card to verify your address, visa and residency status.

If you apply online, you’ll find you’re asked a lot of questions about your life, including your family situation, school or employment, whether you’re a house leader, and how you expect to use the card once issued.

You’ll find that the credit cards issued by banks are usually strictest eligibility criteria. However, there are other options available, like getting a credit card through a non-bank financial institution.

To have a strong application

There’s a good chance if you have these followings:

・No pending applications at another credit card company (companies can see this, and applying at once apparently looks bad)

・Living in Japan for a lengthy period of time

・Working for a large, reputable company

・long term spouse visa/permanent residency

・Stable/high income

・Japanese partner with a stable job

・Having a permanent full-time work contract

How to apply?

You can choose to apply online via the company’s website or in-person at a store. Like many Japanese websites, credit card websites are rarely user-friendly and are highly sensitive to character input. Don’t be frustrated if you get multiple error messages, especially when entering your name. Multilanguage services are essentially non-existent, so if your Japanese level is low, it’s best to apply online with the assistance of a fluent speaker.

Japanese credit cards

These are the lists of Japanese credit card company.

1.Rakuten Card/楽天カード  is a card issued by the Rakuten Group, the company behind Rakuten auctions. They are points system, which can be collected even through utility bills, and they are student-friendly options and online application. They have free overseas travel insurance. So, this is very popular choice.

Annual feePoint systemCard brands
Free1=JPY100 with extra bonus rewards when spending within the Rakuten group, or in line with special promotionsMASTER CARD / VISA / JCB / AMERICAN EXPRESS

2.EPOS Card is issued by the company named Marui department stores. You can either apply online or in a store, and may even find your application approved the same day. You may have to pay an extra charge to customize the design of your card, depending on the one you choose

For comparison basic EPOS Visa card, which comes with no annual fee and extra protections like travel accident insurance.

Annual fee Point systemCard brands
 FREE 1=JPY200 Four times a year, members will receive a 10% discount on purchases at Marui stores nationwide.VISA

3. AEON Card Allows you to gather points when shopping at Aeon malls and a range of other outlets. It also has the digital payment system WAON attached, with plenty of incentives to use it.

Annual feePoint systemCard brands
 FREE1=JPY200 (Double at Aeon stores) JCB / MASTERCARD

4. JCB Card Is the only Japanese international payment brand, a credit card from JCB is very popular. With the JCB Card W, those under age 39 at the time of application will collect twice the number of points. There are various types of JCB cards, so kindly check the JCB online website for more information. You can also get extra points at major brands like Amazon and 7-Eleven.

Annual feePoint systemCard brand

5.Your own bank card

Payment method

1. Lump sum payment (Ikkatsu-barai/一括払い)

This means you’ll pay everything the following month. Not in installments.

2. Payment in installations (Bunkatsu-barai/分割払い)

This payment will split up the amount into several smaller payments each month. The number of times you can split it depends upon the provider. Each payment has an additional interest fee, it will make the final amount higher than the initial.

3. Ribo payment (Ribo-barai/リボ払い)

Ribo payment allows you to set up a monthly payment plan, essentially making it the same as a typical overseas credit card.

This payment will be depended on the credit card company. So kindly please visit your company’s website or ask them for more information.

Other cashless payments

1. Debit card

A debit card is a payment card that deducts money directly from a customer’s bank account when it is used.

While not as popular as overseas, the use of debit cards is steadily rising in Japan. You can pay via a credit card machine using your own money through providers like Mastercard and Visa.

2. Suica/Pasmo/IC cards

IC cards are rechargeable cards that can be used to conveniently pay fares on public transportation and to make payments at many vending machines, shops and restaurants by simply touching the card on a reader for about one second.