For Foreigners – Getting a Credit Card in Japan

Credit cards issued in Japan are necessary for foreign nationals to live in Japan. Although it is possible to make purchases with a credit card issued in a foreign country, some services may not be available. Therefore, it is convenient to have a credit card issued in Japan. You can earn points and save money, especially when you make large purchases or use it for travel.
In this issue, we will introduce credit cards that are easy to apply for and recommended for those who are planning to live in Japan.

What foreign nationals need to apply for a credit card in Japan

In general, the following items are required to apply for a credit card.
The following three items are required when applying for a credit card.

  • Identification documents
  • Bank account for debit
  • A telephone number where you can be reached

Identification documents

One of the following documents must be submitted for identification.

  • Driver’s license or driving record certificate
  • Passport
  • Residence card
  • Special Permanent Resident Certificate
  • Personal number card
  • Basic Resident Registration Card (with photo)
  •  Physical Disability Certificate

Or, health insurance card and one of the following documents that can verify your address.

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  • Certificate of seal registration
  • A copy of the family register (with a copy of the supplementary copy of the family register attached)
  • A copy of the certificate of residence
  • National Pension Handbook
  • Certificate of Child Support Allowance
  • Special Child Support Allowance Certificate
  • Maternal and child health handbook
  • Receipt of utility bills (electricity, gas, water, fixed telephone, NHK)
  • Receipt of social insurance premiums
  • Receipt of national or local taxes or certificate of tax payment

Bank account

Bank account to be used for payment of card usage

Telephone number where you can be reached

A telephone number where you can be reached is also required. If you do not have a landline phone, please provide a cell phone number.

If any of these three points are missing, you will not be able to apply for a credit card.
Please remember to prepare them before applying for a credit card.

How to make a credit card

There are three ways to apply for a credit card

  • Online application
  • In-store application
  • Application by mail

Online Application

The advantage of applying for a credit card online is that you can apply for a credit card 24 hours a day from your computer or smartphone. This is ideal for people who want to apply for a credit card in their spare time.

You can follow the on-screen instructions to enter your information, so even first-time applicants can enter their information without any problems.

In-store application

Depending on the credit card, you may be able to apply for a credit card over-the-counter, which allows you to apply for the card and have it issued on the same day. The advantage of applying over-the-counter is that issuance is possible on the same day. In addition, you can apply for a credit card while discussing the application with a store representative, so even those who are anxious about applying for a credit card can feel at ease.

In the case of in-store application, it is possible to complete the online application in advance and pick up the card at a store. If you apply online, you can go to the store after confirming the screening results, so there is no need to waste time.

However, the service is available only in Japanese.

Application by Mail

You can also apply for a credit card by mail.

To apply by mail, first obtain an application form by requesting information. After filling out the required information and sending it by mail, you will be notified of the results of the screening process. If the application passes the screening without any problems, the credit card will be issued.

However, applying by mail takes time and effort.

Recommended Credit Cards

In Japan, credit cards are issued by banks, consumer credit companies such as Credit Saison, and major holding companies such as Marui and Epos.

Although there are many credit card options in Japan, the credit cards listed below are the ones that are easy for foreigners living in Japan to apply for.

In general, credit cards issued by banks are subject to stricter screening, and those who have been in Japan for less than one or two years are less likely to pass the screening. By obtaining the credit cards introduced here and making proper payments, you will accumulate a credit history, making it easier to pass the bank card screening.

Card Name Annual Fee Points
Rakuten Card Free 1% and up
EPOS Card Free 0.5%
JAL Card Free for the 1st year, ¥2,200 from the 2nd year 2%

If you are a short-term visitor such as studying abroad or on a working holiday, if you have just arrived in Japan, or if you have never had a credit card before, why not apply for one of the cards listed above?

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