You may be considering getting a credit card while in Japan. Having a credit card can make life simpler and you can avoid many trips to the ATM by having one. Some benefits of using a Japanese credit card include being able to purchase things online more easily, especially from online shops that don’t allow payments to be made at convenience stores. You can also arrange to have the payments taken right out of your bank account.
It also gives you more options when trying to buy a cellphone. In addition, using a Japanese credit card can help you avoid all those pesky international usage fees your home country’s cards may charge.
Here a few options for credit cards:
Rakuten is an Japanese online retailer, similar to Amazon. It is also likely the only Japanese company that issues credit cards complete with English support. It’s been rumored that the Rakuten card is one of the more “easier” ones to get. There are various levels of cards with different perks and point/rewards systems. You can apply online.
ANA is most known for its airlines, but they also offer credit cards with various mileage rewards options. Going with this type of card is recommended if you want to rack up airline miles quickly through making daily purchases. See their website for the various types mileage accrual options. You can apply online in Japanese.
Aeon is most known for its department stores located all over Japan. They also offer several types of credit cards with various features such as Tokimeki points for shopping at specified times or places, or Waon points for designating utilities or other bills to be paid automatically from your card. If you frequent Aeon malls, you can also get Waon points for using your card there. You can apply online or in person at tables located in most Aeon malls. Please note that the application is in Japanese.
The Viaso Card is offered by the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. This card in particular requires no yearly fee and has add-ons such as ETC or additional credit cards for family members. Abroad it is partnered with Mastercard, so it can be used in other countries as well. It has perks such as points for shopping online and special insurance when traveling abroad. You can apply online in Japanese.
JCB is Japan’s international credit card. As such it can be used fairly easily when you are abroad. JCB also offers discounts for events and tickets, Oki doki points, and special services when travelling abroad. There are different levels of rewards and card types, so check out their website (in Japanese) for more details. You can apply online in Japanese.