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Is it difficult for foreigners to get a credit card? What you need and tips for screening.

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Japanese Credit Cards

It is said that it is difficult for foreigners to obtain a credit card in Japan. This is because there are several hurdles that must be cleared, such as proof of stable income and identification. However, with advance preparation and knowledge, it is possible for foreigners to obtain a credit card.

In this article, we will explain in detail the reasons why it is difficult for foreigners to get a credit card in Japan, the characteristics of Japanese credit cards, and the types of ranks. In addition, we will also introduce the necessary belongings and documents for making a credit card and tips on how to pass the screening process. We also mention prepaid cards as an alternative if you cannot get a credit card.

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Features of Japanese Credit Cards

A major feature of Japanese credit cards is the freedom to choose any payment method with a single card. It is common to accept a variety of payment methods, including lump-sum payment, installment payment, and revolving payment.

This is rare outside of Japan. For example, in the U.S., people often have a separate card for each method of payment. Also, in Europe, debit cards are more common than credit cards.

Why is it difficult for foreigners to get a credit card in Japan?

There are two main reasons why foreigners living in Japan find it difficult to get a credit card.

The first is that proof of stable income is required. Credit card companies place great importance on the user's ability to pay. In particular, it tends to be difficult to pass the screening process if the duration of stay in Japan is short or if the applicant is a student attending a language school.

The second is the presentation of identification documents. You will be asked to present an official identification document such as a driver's license or resident card. Residence cards are accepted as identification documents, but if they do not contain your address or the expiration date of your residence, you may not be accepted.

Types of Japanese Credit Card Ranks

Japanese credit cards are ranked as General Card, Gold Card, Platinum Card, Black Card, etc.

The higher the rank, the higher the annual fee, but the more extensive the supplementary services and privileges. The higher the rank, the higher the annual fee, but the more stringent the screening process tends to be.

It may be difficult for a foreigner to suddenly aim for a higher-ranked card. We recommend starting with a general card.

Japanese credit cards that are easy for foreigners to obtain

While there are a variety of credit card companies in Japan, there are several cards that are easier for foreigners to obtain. Here are two cards we particularly recommend.

Rakuten Card

Rakuten Card is a popular credit card among expatriates because it has no annual fee and a high redemption rate of 1%. Depending on the time of year or campaign, the reduction rate can be even higher, making it a great value.

Rakuten Card is said to be relatively easy to apply for, even for foreign nationals and international students. web-based application is supported, and English guides are available, so even those who are not comfortable with Japanese can complete the application process with ease. Another attraction of the card is that you do not need to visit a store to complete the application, as long as you send the necessary documents by mail.

Click here for more information▼.

If you would like more detailed information about Rakuten Card, including types, how to make a card, and tips for screening, please refer to this article.
▶︎ Popular among foreigners! Explanation of types of Rakuten Credit Cards, how to make one, and tips for screening.

2. EPOS Card

EPOS Card is a co-branded credit card for the Marui fashion building, and its main feature is that there is no joining fee and no annual fee forever.

If you apply at a Marui store, you will receive your card in about 30 minutes and can start using it immediately. This is especially recommended for foreigners who need a card in a hurry. When applying, do not forget to bring your residence card and identification documents with your photo. However, there are cases in which cards cannot be issued on the same day.

Click here for more information▼.

3. saison card

The Saison Card is a credit card with no annual fee and earns points that expire indefinitely, making it a good choice for foreigners. Accumulated points can be exchanged for items such as Amazon gift cards or miles, and can be used to pay for purchases.

The card can be used in a wide range of ways: in addition to payments at supermarkets and convenience stores, it can be used to pay rent, utility bills, and cell phone bills.

Click here for more information▼.

Saison Card International

What is required and necessary documents when creating a credit card?

Foreign nationals are especially required to present their residence card. Since the residence card contains important information such as name, date of birth, nationality, status of residence, and period of stay, credit card companies use this information to screen applicants.

We also recommend that you prepare several documents for identification, such as a passport, driver's license, and health insurance card. The more documents you can submit during the screening process, the more likely the process will go smoothly.

Some credit cards come with a cash advance feature, and you may be required to provide proof of income only if you intend to use a cash advance. If you do not plan to use cash advances, you do not need to provide proof of income.

Furthermore, a bank account in Japan is required for the debit account of the credit card. Therefore, it is important to open a bank account first before applying for a credit card. It would be wise to apply for a credit card only after completing the procedures for opening a bank account.

What are some tips for getting approved for a credit card?

There are a few tips to help you get approved for a credit card.

First, it is important that the information you enter on the application is accurate. Reviewers use the information you provide to determine your credibility, so if you enter incorrect information, you may miss your chance to be approved.

Proof of identity and stable income are key to passing the screening process. If you can prove these, the credit card company will assume that you have the ability to repay the loan and you will be more likely to be approved for the card.

As mentioned earlier, you will have more credibility if you can present more than one form of identification. You will also need to prove that you have a fixed income. The phone number of the employer should be a number that can handle calls to verify enrollment. The credit card company will call to verify that the applicant is actually working for the company.

It is important to be truthful about your annual income on the application form. The credit card company can estimate your approximate annual income based on information such as the size of the company where you work, your job title, and the number of years you have worked for the company. Note that if the self-reported annual income differs significantly from the credit card company's estimate, it may be judged to be a false declaration, which may adversely affect the screening process.

It is also wise to avoid applying to more than one credit card company at the same time. If multiple applications are being reviewed at the same time, it may give the impression that you are "in financial trouble." If you are being screened by several credit card companies at the same time, you may be suspected of being in financial trouble.

Students will be more likely to be approved if they can demonstrate that they have a regular monthly income from a part-time job or other source.

To learn more about Japanese credit cards recommended for foreigners and tips on how to pass the screening process, check out this article.
▶︎ Five Japanese credit cards for foreigners! And tips to help you get through the screening process.

大丈夫 even if credit cards are not accepted!

If you are not approved for a credit card, you may want to consider a prepaid card. Prepaid cards are prepaid cards and can be made by anyone without any screening.

Sumitomo Mitsui VISA prepaid and Mastercard prepaid cards are recommended. These prepaid cards can be easily recharged at convenience stores, etc. and can be used overseas as they are compatible with some international brands.

Prepaid cards are also recommended for those who are not good at money management, as they prevent the risk of overspending. However, they do not provide payment credit like a credit card, so care should be taken in this regard.

To learn more about prepaid cards, please refer to this article.
▶︎ Foreigners can also make them! 5 Recommended Prepaid Cards in Japan

Useful information and support for living in Japan

Living in Japan is fascinating, but it is not uncommon to face many challenges due to language barriers and cultural differences. For example, you may encounter difficulties in all aspects of life, from using keigo (honorific expressions) in everyday and business situations, to difficulties in finding housing, using public services, preparing for the JLPT exam, and even meeting new friends and loved ones.

At such times, Goandup Salon will be your reliable partner!

Our community provides support and information to help foreign residents in Japan to make their life in Japan richer and more comfortable.

  • Japanese Language Studywill meet the needs of all levels, from daily conversation to the use of keigo in business situations, to efficient Japanese language learning methods and preparation for the JLPT exam.
  • livingaspect of the program provides concrete advice and information on how to establish a foundation for living in Japan, including explanations of Japanese culture and rules, finding housing, and how to contract public services and living infrastructure.
  • Jobs & CareersRegarding the "what if" section, we can help you find a job, change jobs, and understand Japanese business etiquette and workplace culture, which are key to a successful career in the workplace.
  • Travel & Dining Guidewill introduce you to hidden gems in Japan, must-try gourmet information, and other unique local attractions to help you experience Japan more deeply.

If you have any questions or concerns about life in Japan, Goandup Salon is here to help you! We will wholeheartedly support you to make your life in Japan smoother and more enjoyable.

For more information, click here ▼


The key to being approved for a credit card is to fill out accurate information and present proof of identity and income. It is important to enter error-free information on the application and to be especially honest about your annual income.

By following these tips, foreign nationals can improve their chances of being approved for a credit card. Please refer to this article to prepare well in advance.

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