The Ultimate Guide to Debit and Credit Cards in Japan

By  Tyson Batino and Meridian Jordan | Updated August 27, 2020.

Here is our ultimate guide on how to get the best credit card in Japan as a foreigner. For those looking to find a foreigner-friendly credit card in Japan or are curious about how to make a card, you have come to the right place.

This guide will also cover how to get a Japanese debit card and Japanese prepaid cards.

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    Credit Cards in Japan for Foreigners

    Making a Credit Card in Japan is Tough!

    Many foreigners have a hard time making a credit card in Japan. My recent headaches with making a credit card are what inspired me to create this article. Despite being married to a Japanese, having a stable and comfortable income, permanent residence, and 15 years in Japan, I was rejected from a basic card which was unbelievable to me.

    The good news is that nowadays there are some alternative options to the major banks in Japan. Even a person on a working holiday visa can acquire one. But as a once-wise internet troll said, the best credit card in Japan is the one that will accept you.


    Are you looking to form better-studying methods or want to improve your Japanese vocabulary? Read our:

    Top 15 Japanese Vocabulary Tips

    Guide to Japanese Study Tips

    Credit Card System in Japan

    Put simply, a credit card allows you to borrow money to buy things, which makes it different from cash cards and debit cards. Those two types of cards allow you to make purchases with money you already have. You may not have any cash on you and rather than going to the ATM, you can borrow the money from a bank and make the purchase. Both also offer some form of fraud protection, so if someone steals your card and goes on a shopping spree, card companies will look into it and hopefully refund your money.
    You are not expected to pay back the money once you get home or within the same day. Sometime during the month, you will receive a bank statement of the invoice that lists all the purchases you made. The document will also mention a specific day of the month or a grace period of around 25 to 30 days by which you must pay them back by. Failure to make that payment on time will result in you having to pay interest. You will not only have to pay them back the money you owe but also the interest that was calculated on the amount you owed.
    The goal of this blog post is to help you find the best credit card in Japan as a foreigner. However, to understand the basic concepts, we recommend checking out this article by nerdwallet on credit cards.

    How do credit card companies make money?

    Most people know that credit card companies make money from users by charging you interest on unpaid borrowed money. However, they make much more money on processing payments that companies and shops have to pay. For every purchase you make, the shop has to pay a fee of around 2.5% - 4.8% of the total amount to credit card companies and banks.
    This is the main reason why some shops refuse to accept credit cards and go with a cash-is-king policy. These charges are what pay for the benefits they provide you when shopping. As a business owner, I like the convenience credit cards provide, but imagine paying 300 dollars for accepting a 10,000-dollar payment.

    Differences between Credit Cards in Japan and America

    Now that you understand the gist between cash, debit, and credit cards, now let's dive deeper into what credit cards in Japan are like. Please note that we still highly recommend the article by nerdwallet on credit cards for those who have never owned a credit card before. Now let's jump into the differences between Japan and America.

    Age Requirements

    In Japan, you need to at least be 20 years old in most cases to create a credit card, but this can vary depending on the bank. But, in America, you only need to be 18 to apply for a credit card. You can apply for a debit card by yourself at 18, but with your parents' help, you can get one as young as 13.

    Charges and Fees

    You have to pay a reissuing fee if you lose your credit or debit card in Japan. Although the price is not much, it will set you back one nice lunch or two cups of coffee at 1,000 yen. However, in America, if you lose your card you can instantly get a new one for free because they want you to keep spending as soon as possible. Not sure if that is the case, but as they say, there is no such thing as a free lunch.



    A benefit of having an American or a Japanese credit card is being able to receive rewards depending on the type of credit card you have chosen. You can receive signup bonuses or even collect miles (another form of points) and use them for flights and hotels. You can also earn cash back for everyday purchases depending on your bank. Some credit cards also allow you to have access to premium lounges in airports. If you get a gold and above-level credit card, you will have the option to receive travelers' insurance and lost item insurance when you go overseas.

    Annual Fees

    Many credit cards in both countries do not have annual fees, while others charge 5000 yen and above depending on the card you get. For example with a gold credit card, it will usually cost you an annual fee of 10,000 yen yearly, but it comes with travelers insurance included and extra bonus points on purchases. Depending on how much you shop and use the card, you can actually earn more than the amount you paid for the card.

    Please note that many banks offer credit cards in Japan with the first year's annual fee removed to entice people like you with that 0 yen free offer. The basic credit cards usually only charge 1,000 - 2,000 yen for the first year and the gold cards charge around 10,000 yen annually. Make sure to check the second-year charge before you sign the contract.

    How to Make a Credit Card in Japan

    When you apply to make a credit card in Japan with your account at a Japanese bank these are the requirements you’ll need to complete. First, you will be required to fill out the forms they give to you. These forms ask for the following information: name, address, employment status, and some other information that depends on which bank you apply to. A small deposit may also be required when you deposit these forms. It usually takes the bank around two weeks to process all your forms, when they’ve decided you’ll receive a letter by post letting you know their decision.

    Checklist of Items you will need for a Credit Card in Japan

    However, some banks may not require everything on the following list:

    • Passport
    • Phone number
    • Japanese residence visa
    • Japanese Address
    • Personal Seal or a signature
    • Proof of Earnings
    • Proof of employment
    • At least 6 months in Japan
    • Stable income minimum of 250000 Yen per month

    What to do if you get Rejected

    If you’ve waited two weeks for the bank's approval and you don’t receive it, apply again. Applying again will not damage your credit rating. However if you have your mind set on a specific bank it’s best to wait at least 3 months before applying again. The majority of banks will not give you an explanation of why they rejected your application. Many times the application process seems to be random since different banks use different criteria to determine the applicants risk. However, there are many banks and many different cards you can apply to so don’t get discouraged.

    • Get a job with a permanent contract (雇用契約 ko-you-kei-yaku) 
    • Own a home in Japan
    • Make sure all bills are paid on time in full with no exceptions
    • Marry a Japanese National

    If you are tired of getting rejected or would like an easier credit card option in Japan, we did our research and the best credit cards in Japan for foreigners that are less mysterious and have lower requirements than the major banks. Some of them have applications processes in English as well.

    Deposit-Based Credit Cards in Japan


    • Much easier to get than regular credit cards.
    • No worries about overspending or paying interest.
    • Do not require a monthly salary of over 250,000 yen a month or a full-time position or permanent residence.


    • Require you to make an initial deposit.
    • Do not offer limits past 500,000 yen in general.

    J-Trust MasterCard: The Most Foreigner-Friendly Credit Card in Japan

    A great choice for your first credit card and for English support.

    J-Trust offers a MasterCard credit card which is the most foreigner-friendly credit card in Japan. The application process online is entirely in English and is a good choice for someone who wants to do shopping and have the safety and security that a credit card provides that debit and prepaid cards cannot.

    They also have a maximum limit of 300,000 which is equal to the maximum that entry-level credit cards from a major bank offer.


    1 : Online application in English

    2 : Support in English

    3 : Fraud and Theft Protection

    4 : No worries about overspending


    1 : No point system for users

    2 : No gold and platinum cards


    The J-Trust Global Card takes around 3 weeks to complete the whole process of submitting your application and receiving your credit card. 

    The J-Trust Card is a deposit-based credit card, so you need to make an initial deposit and this will serve as your credit card limit. For example, if you deposit 50,000 yen at the start, your credit card limit will be 50,000 yen. If your initial deposit it 100,000 yen, your credit card limit will be 100,000 yen.

    Credit Card through Lifecard

    アイフル in Japan provides a Mastercard credit card called the Lifecard. They have a deposit and non-deposit base card types and the deposit version is easier to get.

    The unique point about this deposit card is that they do provide a point service and travel insurance and several other things that you can expect to receive from a normal credit card. You additionally have the option to receive a lounge service in airports and ETC usage.

    While this credit card is easier to get than most other cards in Japan, the downside is that this card is meant for Japanese in mind, so the application process is in Japanese.


    1 : Since it is deposit based, you don't have to worry about overspending.

    2 : They offer a point service when you use your card.

    3 : They offer travel insurance with the credit card.


    1 : The site is completely in Japanese

    2 : They charge an annual fee of 5000 - 20000 yen yearly.

    3 : If you want to change your credit card limit, you would have to cancel your current card and apply again for the higher level card.

    Numerous different credit cards are layed slanted of each other. It has Visa and Mastercard credit cards.

    Regular Credit Cards in Japan


    • Point systems.
    • Some include traveler insurance at the gold member level.
    • Does not require an initial deposit.


    • Much harder to get as a foreigner
    • Application processes are in Japanese
    • Many require a full-time position or higher level income.
    • Risks of overspending and having to pay interest of 12% or more.

    Credit Card through Rakuten Bank

    Good Choice for Residents who Have Settled in Japan.

    You most likely need a full-time position and a work visa to be considered for a credit card with Rakuten. If you do not meet these requirements, we recommend the YOLO Japan Prepaid Card.

    Rakuten is a major online company that provides various web services and internet banking and is the easiest way to make a credit card in Japan as a long-term resident. If you meet all the big bank requirements but keep getting rejected, Rakuten is your next best move.


    1 : Generous point system that is more generous than most major banks.

    2 : Gold and platinum cards that you can aim to get in the future.


    1 : The application process is in Japanese and you would need someone who can read Japanese to help you go through the process.

    2 : You most likely need a full-time job and have to be established in Japan to get the card.

    3 : I personally spent waiting more than 20 minutes on customer support while doing research for this article.

    Credit Card through GTN

    GTN is a major provider of housing services for foreign residents in Japan. They also provide mobile services and remittance services.

    GTN has partnered up with EPOS, a major Japanese credit card company to provide credit cards in Japan to their foreign customers. You would have to be living in one of their managed apartments or other services to apply for this card.


    1 : No annual fees

    2 : Support in English


    You have to be using their real estate or guarantor service or mobile service in order to be eligible to apply for their credit card in Japan.

    Get a MasterCard with your J-Trust Global Credit Card

    Finally, a credit card that is foreigner-friendly to get. The J-Trust card comes with fraud and theft protection and provides English support and the application process.

    Start shopping online by getting your card today.

    Credit Card Scores in Japan

    Unlike the USA credit score check, Japan does not use the same system to check credit scores instead they use credit bureaus to find out whether their credit score is good or bad. After you check then you can find a solution to raise your credit score to a better rate. You can use JICC, also known as Japan Credit Information Reference Center corporation to get your credit score report. To get a report from JICC, all you need to do is go onto their website and it will take 5-10 minutes to input all your information. In order to check your score you need to pay 1,000 yen after inputting all of your information. After you have done everything, it will take about 1 week to receive the reports by mail. 

    Another option is to use CIC also known as Credit Information Center. If you want to check your credit score with CIC you will need to complete their specific application process. If you’d wish to check through CIC make sure that you have done everything required of you to do.


    • You are using Windows software version 7, 8, 8.1, or Windows 10.
    • The browser you are using is:  Internet Explorer 11 or Microsoft Edge
    • You have your credit card on you. 

    After checking over the confirmation items, you will need to call CIC using the phone that you registered for the credit agreements, then you will receive a receipt number. Please make sure to keep this number safe. After you have typed in the receipt number you should instantly get your credit report as a PDF file, proceed to then download it to your computer, or print it and then you are able to check the state of your credit score. 

    Please note that you will also need to pay 1,000 yen for the credit report and the service will only be available from 8 am to 21:45 pm on Monday to Friday. CIC is a useful credit score reporting system which delivers your credit report much faster digitally than JICC. You should choose which credit bureau you would prefer to get the report from based on the time length you’d prefer since the price is the same. 


    Want to make sure you have the proper etiquette and manners in Japan? Read our:

    Guide to Japanese Customs
    Ultimate Guide to Japanese Culture

    How to Keep a Good Credit Score

     The more aware you are about what goes into a good credit score, the easier it will be to maintain one. Five key pieces of information are used to calculate a credit score: payment history, level of debt, credit age, a mix of credit, and recent credit. However, there are some things that do not affect your credit score. Examples of things that do not affect your credit score include: checking account overdrafts or utility payments, checking your credit score, and your interest rate. These neutral examples won’t automatically help or hurt your credit score.

    Pay Your Bills on Time

    This goes for all your bills, not just your credit cards and loans. Even though certain bills don’t get reported to the credit bureaus when you pay on time, they risk ending up on your credit report if you fall behind. These unpaid bills are sent to a collections agency. Remember to pay all your bills on time to maintain a good credit score. Check out The Balance for more information on how to keep a good credit score.

    Keep Your Balance Low

    The higher your credit card balance in relation to your credit limit, the worse your credit score will be. Your combined credit card balances should be within 30 percent of your combined credit limits in order to maintain a good credit score. That’s $300 on credit cards with combined limits of $1,000. Charging more than 30 percent of your credit limit can be risky even if you plan to pay off the balance. Card issuers typically tend to report the balance when your statement closes, so that number that will be reflected on your credit report. Keep in mind it's a good idea to keep tabs on your accounts online and pay enough to reduce your balances to less than 30 percent just before the billing month closes.

    Treat All Debts Equally

    Credit scores take both revolving debt (credit cards) and trade line/installment debts (mortgages). It doesn’t matter if one line of your credit has a lower interest rate than the other ones, you shouldn’t prioritize other loans if it means neglecting that payment. Constantly having a balance on your credit cards can lower your score. It also hurts your chances in the future if you’d like to apply for another card. 

    Watch Your Credit Report

    Even if you do everything right with your credit doesn’t mean everyone else will. Errors may end up on your credit report leading to a drop in your credit score. Examples of these situations include identity theft and credit card fraud. This may also lead to inaccurate information on your credit report. Checking your credit report throughout the year helps you detect these mistakes sooner rather than later so you can correct them and maintain a good credit score.

    Cautionary Points for a Credit Card in Japan

    Be aware of interest rates.

    It’s great when your application has been approved but please keep interest rates in mind. In order for you to keep your money in a safe place, you will be charged interest rates by your bank. These interest rates vary from bank to bank. However, one thing they have in common is that they will make you pay back more than what you have put in. A fee is added if you miss your interest rate payments, no matter how low your bill is. For example, if the missing interest payment fee is $40 and you only miss a $10 payment, you will be charged $50.

    You risk damaging your credit score.

    If you have high levels of debt that you can not pay back don’t think that the bank won’t notice. The bank will find out and this will lead to you having a low credit score. Having a low credit score makes it harder for you to apply for loans, buy a house, or even buy a car. If you have a low credit score, even if you are responsible with your money, people will only look at the numbers. And, since no one will believe that you can pay the money that you were given back, no one will want to lend or sell to you. However, do not let this discourage you there are easy ways to keep a good credit score it’s not as scary as it may seem sometimes.

    Missed payments lead to bad credit scores.

    If you fail to pay back your credit card payments then this will also lower your credit score. How long you failed to pay back the payments will also be reviewed and accounted for by the bank. Do not give the bank the impression that it was a bad idea to approve your application. Be sure to pay back all your payments on time and that you have enough money on your card to pay it all back. 

    Wages will be taken for failure of payments.

    When the bank notices you’ve been failing to pay them back they’ll send you a letter. If you choose to ignore this letter they’ll send another one, and another and another until you either pay them back or they get to take you to court. Other examples of what may happen if you do not have enough money to pay back all the money you owe to the bank include: them taking all of the money that you have, your account could be frozen and your debt could be sold to a collection agency.  However, these are the most extreme case scenarios. So don’t worry, this situation only happens if you were being highly irresponsible. Be sure to double-check that you are able to pay all the money you may owe back so you don’t have to face these scenarios. 

    Need to get a visa for Japan or want to know the important details of acquiring one? Read our The Ultimate Guide on Japanese Visas

    Your First Credit Card in Japan

    Finally, a credit card that is foreigner-friendly to get. The J-Trust card comes with fraud and theft protection and an application process online that is all in English.

    Start shopping online by getting your card today.

    Debit Cards in Japan

    A debit card in Japan can be slightly more complicated than a cash card. Both cards are similar because they are directly linked to your bank account. You can use both cards to withdraw money from your bank account. However, the big difference is that debit cards are issued through credit card companies such as VISA or MasterCard in combination with your bank. 

    With debit cards, you can make purchases online if the online platform accepts debit card payments through your credit card company. Depending on your country, you may also withdraw more or spend more money than you have in your bank account if you use a debit card. However. if you do this, you will receive an overdraft charge, which is usually around $30 - $50 depending on the bank you use on each transaction you make over your limit. That $5 Starbucks coffee and $30 tank of gasoline would cost you a whopping $135 dollars in this case.

    Things to Consider

    The good news is that some banks in Japan, do not charge an overdraft fee and instead do not allow you to use more money than you have in the bank. However, always make sure to confirm with the bank if they have an overdraft charge or do they simply not allow any transactions over your remaining balance in the bank.

    A debit card in Japan is very uncommon because the concept is relatively new to Japan. The majority of local banks in Japan only issue cash cards and credit cards. However, more and more major banks and online banks are starting to issue debit cards in Japan. Some major banks like UFJ and SMBC are examples of global banks that are finally starting to offer debit cards in Japan. Major businesses like 7-11 and online Giant Rakuten also offer debit cards if you make an online banking account with them. The main hurdle is making sure you meet that 6-month residency requirement if you do not have a company or school to help you get a bank account.

    Benefits of Debit Cards in Japan

    Debit cards give you the opportunity to make purchases in person without cash and is often your debut into the cashless world in many countries. Debit cards also allow you to make online purchases from places like Amazon and other online retailers. Please note that not all online retailers and shops accept debit card payments even though they may accept credit cards. 

    Your debit card can be an amazing tool if you’re practicing for a credit card. All you need to do is not to withdraw more money than you need and make sure to make deposits into your account to keep the cash balance positive. Another reason a debit card is better as an entry card than a credit card is because you immediately feel the pain of spending beyond your means. If you have a credit card, you do not receive any warnings if you go over your limit and can wake up to a large bill you cannot pay off and pay the price in interest fees.

    Another difference with debit cards is that they are directly tied to your bank and so there is a face to face component to it. Credit cards are issued by banks, but you see everyone from Amazon, Costco, and other non-banking businesses offering credit cards in Japan.

    Two people exchanging a credit card. They are holding the credit card together from each side.

    How to Make a Debit Card in Japan

    In general the process to getting a debit card is the same in Japan as in your home country. The process involves having a normal bank account (there are no checking accounts nor checks in Japan) and letting your bank know you’d like a debit card. Most banks in Japan require you've been in Japan for at least six months to meet the residency status requirements to open a bank account. For more information, check our section above on making a bank account.

    As long as you have a bank account, all you need to do is bring your residence card, bank account details into the bank and file the paperwork. Please be aware that not all banks offer debit cards in Japan because it is a new concept here, but most will offer a prepaid card. The prepaid card does the job but is more inconvenient, because you have to transfer the money from your bank account into a separate prepaid account as opposed to automatically like a real debit card.

    Some places may also charge a yearly service fee for your card, but debit card annual are nothing like credit card annual fees, and much smaller. One example, the Goliath bank MUFJ does not charge you an annual fee as long as you spend more than 100,000 yen yearly.

    You've lived in Japan for LESS than 6 months

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you do not have many options for making a debit card in Japan unless you have lived here for more than 6 months. Your easiest option is to get either a prepaid visa card in Japan or the J-Trust Credit card which is foreigner friendly and has an online application process in English.

    You have lived in Japan for more than 6 months

    Major banks like MUFJ, SMBC, and Mizuho offer both a bank account and a debit card to foreigners in Japan after you have been here for more than 6 months with a residence card.

    You have to apply for a debit card at your local branch. Remember that a debit card is different from the cash card you received when you created your original account. You can also apply for a Seven Bank card from 7-11.

    Length: Takes around 2 weeks to receive your debit card in the mail.

    Traditional Banks in Japan

    Here is a list of major traditional banks and their options for a debit card and prepaid card.

    Japanese Post Bank ATM Cash Card/ Prepaid and Debit Card/ Japanese Only Online Banking/ No English Customer Support
    Mitsubishi UFJ Visa Debit Card + ATM Cash Card/ Online Banking in Japanese Only/ No English Customer Support
    Mizuho Bank JCB Debit Card/ Online Banking only in Japanese/ English Customer Support
    Shinsei Bank Prepaid Visa Debit Card that can be Topped Off/ Online Banking in English/ English Customer Support
    SMBC Visa Debit Card + Cash Card/ Online Banking in Japanese Only/ No English Customer Support
    Suruga Bank Visa Debit Card + ATM Cash Card/ Online Banking in Japanese Only/ No English Customer Support
    Resona Bank No Debit Cards/ Online Banking in Japanese Only/ No English Customer Support

    Debit Cards in Japan with English Websites

    Here is a list of banks that provide a debit card-making process in English for foreigners. The downside is that all of these cards require living in Japan for 6 months prior as a requirement. Our partner J-Trust provides a credit card to qualified foreign residents even if you have lived in Japan for less than 6 months.

    Rakuten Debit Card No Fee to Apply/ Earn NANACO Points/ English Website/ International Money Transfer
    Seven Bank JCB Debit Card No Fee to Apply, Earn Rakuten Super Points, No English Website
    AEON JCB Debit Card Free with Shopping Insurance, Earn Points for Use, English Website

    Get a MasterCard with your J-Trust Global Credit Card

    Finally, a credit card that is foreigner-friendly to get. The J-Trust card comes with fraud and theft protection and provides English support and the application process.

    Start shopping online by getting your card today.

    Prepaid Cards in Japan

    Want to do shopping online, but don't have a credit card or a debit card? Your next best choice would be to get a prepaid card. A few businesses and credit card providers and banks offer prepaid cards to residents of Japan.


    The benefit of a prepaid card in Japan is that you can protect yourself from overspending. You make an initial payment into your card and you will never spend more than that amount. Additionally, if your wallet is stolen or your card is stolen, they cannot spend more than the amount in your balance.

    Another benefit is that you can receive your card on the spot or within one week. Debit and credit cards in Japan can take 3 weeks or longer to process and arrive.


    The one downside of the prepaid card is that you continually have to put money into your account and cannot get your balance automatically deducted from your bank account. You would either have to make a trip to the bank or convenience store to charge up your card. 

    Prepaid cards also lack theft protection and other benefits you normally receive from a credit card, so they are not ideal for big purchases.

    Prepaid cards in Japan

    Credit Card: J-Trust Credit Card

    Prepaid: MobalPay Card

    Prepaid: Line Pay Card

    Prepaid: V-Preca Card - English

    There is one credit card company that offers a deposit-based credit card. The J-Trust Global Mastercard is similar to a prepaid card in that you have to make a deposit in advance. The benefit of this card over a prepaid card is you only have to make the deposit one time. After that, you can connect it to your bank account to make your monthly deductions.

    Prepaid Card through a Japanese Bank

    If you would like a prepaid card that you can wire money into your balance, we recommend the Shinsei Bank prepaid GAICA visa card. You could create a bank account with the Japan Postal Bank and then wire money from that account into a Shinsei Gaica card and start using it for your purchases. Once you meet the six-month residency requirement, you can create a Shinsei bank account and directly link your bank account to the prepaid card.

    • Passport or Japanese residence card
    • Been in Japan for a minimum of 6 months


    This card is the MOST important card you will have as a foreigner living in Japan. Know how to renew it and in scenarios if you lose it. Read at Ultimate Guide to the Zairyu Card in Japan.

    Cash Cards in Japan

    Cash cards, also known as ATM cards or bank cards, function as electronic cards that allow you to withdraw money from your bank account. In the past, you would’ve had to go to the bank counter in person and show your ID in order to deposit or withdraw cash. However, since technology has become more advanced, you can deposit and withdraw cash at the ATM instead of having to go to the teller yourself.

    Cash and ATM cards are two of the three types of cards that banks issue. As well as the simplest to use. Put simply you can withdraw the maximum amount of money in your bank account and not go over your limit.

    Benefits of a Cash Card

    Even though Japan is a cash based society, there are many ATMs available where you can take out money from your card. They’re located in convenience stores, banks and they even have their own ATM stores. Luckily in Japan you won’t have any trouble finding an ATM nearby. Japanese ATMs do not accept foreign cash cards. Getting a Japanese cash card is the best bet for a non-cash payment option in Japan.

    Making a Bank Account

    If you have opened a bank account in your home country, you will understand most of the process of opening a bank account in Japan. The main difference is that most banks in Japan actually do not offer information or registration in English. The base requirements are also a hurdle for new foreigners in Japan because most banks will only allow you to create an account if you have lived in Japan for at least six months. The other requirement is that you have a valid visa to live in Japan.

    For those coming on a student visa or work visa, the company that sponsored your visa will usually help you make a bank account. If they are helping you through the process, you can bypass the 6-month rule banks require for other people. For those coming on a working holiday visa or sometimes a university student visa, you will have to wait until six months after you arrive to apply for a bank account and cash card.

    I do not meet the six-month residency requirement

    There used to be two major banks that offered bank accounts to foreigners who do not meet the requirements, but now there is only one. The postal bank is the only place that will offer a bank account to newly arrived foreign residents. The only problem is that they do not have documentation in English and will usually request that you bring a Japanese friend. The general rule of thumb among foreigners is to visit a major post office branch like the one in Shinjuku, Tokyo where they sometimes have English-speaking staff available.

    Shinsei Bank used to be the best option for foreigners because you can do everything in English. However, they now require a six-month residency requirement. 7-11 also offers a banking service and fully-fledged English, but they also require the same six-month residency requirement.

    Need a Japanese friend or want to make Japanese friends? Read our Ultimate Guide to Making Japanese Friends.

    Additional banking account requirements

    Here is a list of banking account requirements from 7-Bank to give you an idea of what most places are like.

    Individuals who have resided in Japan 6 months or longer, with a limit of 1 account per person.

    For applicants under the age of 15, identity verification documents (official certificate + receipt or invoice) for the account holder and the identity verification documents and the signature of the parent or guardian are required.

    When applying for other services at the same time, applicants must be of age 16 years or older for Debit Service, age 18 years or older for International Money Transfer Service , and age of 20 years or older for Loan Service.

    What Banks do not require a Japanese Hanko (seal)?

    Major banks like MUFJ, SMBC, and Postal Bank do not require a Japanese hanko, but they do not provide enrollment documents in English. You would need a Japanese-speaking friend to help you read and sign the documents. or go into Shinsei Bank and do the English application process.

    Is my card a cash card or debit card?

    If your card has a JCB / VISA / MASTERCARD / DINERS / SAISON or EPOS hologram on top then it’s a debit card or credit card and not a cash card. Cash cards are through your bank and the other is your bank in a partnership with a payment processing company. Companies like VISA are actually a payment processing company and not a bank like UFJ and other companies.

    List of banks in Tokyo

    Here is a list of bank in Tokyo. Banks like JP Postal bank, MUFJ, Mizuho, Resona, and SMBC have branches all over Japan. The main thing you need to know is that the only bank the offers banking to newly arrived foreigners is the JP Postal bank unless your company or school makes the bank account for you. Those who have lived here more than 6 months, can make a bank account as long as you have a valid residence visa.

    Japanese Post Bank ATM Cash Card/ Japanese Only Online Banking/ No English Customer Support
    Mitsubishi UFJ Visa Debit Card + ATM Cash Card/ Online Banking in Japanese Only/ No English Customer Support
    Mizuho Bank JCB Debit Card/ Online Banking only in Japanese/ English Customer Support
    Shinsei Bank Prepaid Visa Debit Card that can be Topped Off/ Online Banking in English/ English Customer Support
    SMBC Visa Debit Card + Cash Card/ Online Banking in Japanese Only/ No English Customer Support
    Suruga Bank Visa Debit Card + ATM Cash Card/ Online Banking in Japanese Only/ No English Customer Support
    Resona Bank No Debit Cards/ Online Banking in Japanese Only/ No English Customer Support
    7-Eleven Bank Card 24/7 ATM Access/ English Website/ English Customer Support

    Accessing Currency without a Credit Card in Japan

    If you’ve decided against a Japanese credit or debit card, here’s additional ways to get money in Japan.



    If you already have a bank card from overseas then you can still get money without having to take cash out of the ATM machines. The way forward to do this is by finding a currency foreign exchange store online for example like Travelex and ordering Japanese yen currency and converting it from your home country currency. For example, if you have a US bank card then you will exchange from US dollars to Japanese Yen. In this case, you can just bring the cash you have from your country and either go to the store to convert the currency or do it online. If you order the currency you can get it delivered to your home or you can collect it from a Travelex branch. 

    ATM Machines

    Another way to get money is by finding an ATM machine and inserting your card and getting the money from the ATM machine. Most of the ATM machines can take international cards but be aware because a few of them do not, I have experienced this myself so I just wanted to let people know that this could happen and not to panic if it happens and just search for another ATM machine. When you take out money from the ATM machine you will be charged by your bank especially if they have a foreign fee. This is why foreigners prefer to have a credit card while they are in Japan, especially if they are staying for more than 6 months but as we have seen this may be more challenging than what they originally thought.

    Exchanging money in Airport

    After you have landed in Japan, you will have the chance to convert your money. I would only advise you to do this if you urgently need the cash or you have not converted any money at all. The currency exchange at the airport can be very low and you might get more money if you convert the money at a currency exchange store. In Tokyo Haneda, you will be able to see Travelex with the different currencies conversion they offer, some famous currencies are US dollars, GBP, etc and you can convert it there. Most of the Travelex stores open at different times ranging from 6 am to 11 pm to 9 am to 7 pm and it also depends on where they are located. 

    We hope that our guide on how to create a credit card or debit card in Japan was helpful. Please feel free to come back and check our article out and thank you for staying with us till the end. 

    Want to make sure you have the proper etiquette and manners in Japan? Read our:
    Guide to Japanese Customs
    Ultimate Guide to Japanese Culture

    Your First Credit Card in Japan

    Finally, a credit card that is foreigner friendly to get. The J-Trust card comes with fraud and theft protection and an application process online that is all in English.

    Start shopping online by getting your card today.


    The Japanese system for applying for a credit card is no easy task. We hope you learned step by step what is expected and also some alternatives for a credit card here. There are numerous banks that provide credit cards and debit cards, it is recommended to find one that best suits your needs.

    Looking for a new place in Tokyo? There are numerous options out there for you to choose from and can be a hassle. Make it easier by reading our:

    Ultimate Guide to Finding a Sharehouses in Tokyo

    Ultimate Guide to Furnished Apartments in Tokyo

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