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Can foreigners make credit cards in Japan?


The number of foreigners residing in Japan is 2.56 million as of 2017, and is increasing year by year. One of the difficult things for foreigners living in Japan is to make a credit card.
In this article, we will introduce whether foreigners can make credit cards in Japan, methods and procedures, credit cards and debit cards that foreigners can make.

Can foreigners issue credit cards?

When creating a credit card, it is necessary to pass the screening process. Foreigners who do not have Japanese nationality will not fail the credit card screening process only because they are foreigners. Please note that the screening criteria are different for each credit card company and credit card.
In addition, no matter Japanese or foreigners, it’s difficult for them to make credit cards unless they have a regular job, and hurdles are much higher for short-term stays.

Which companies can issue credit cards for foreigners?
“Sumitomo Mitsui VISA Debut Plus” and “Acom AC Master Card” are examined from a flexible perspective, and we accept applications not only for Japanese but also for foreigners.
Foreign companies such as American Express can also issue foreign credit cards.

Documents required for foreign credit card review
➀Documents required for credit card application
The necessary documents for making a credit card are a document with identification, bank account number and bank stamp. For Japanese, a driver's license or health insurance card is often used, but a resident card or special permanent resident certificate is required for foreigners. The residence card has a period of residence, but if this number of days is too short, there is a high possibility that it will be rejected.
➁Documents advantageous for card issuance
The following documents are useful for foreigners to make credit cards in Japan.
Prepare multiple IDs
The required ID card is a residence card or special permanent resident certificate. But in addition to these, you can also bring your driver's license, passport, health insurance card, resident card, mobile phone contract information, etc which has your current address and also showing your long-term residence. It is easy to get trust from a credit card company in this way.
Documents that can prove income
As mentioned earlier, making a credit card requires a stable income (payment ability), so if you have a document that can prove that fact, it will be easier to get credit from the credit card company. It is even better to have documents such as salary details and income statements.

8 reasons foreigners fail credit card screening

Short stay
If your stay is less than 3 months, such as for a short-term study abroad, there is a possibility that you will return to your home country before you finish the payment. It is said that it is easier for foreigners to make credit cards in Japan if they stay for more than one year.
The applicant can not speak Japanese
Credit cards cannot be signed unless you agree to the terms of each card company. The rules are written in Japanese, so you can't apply for a credit card unless you can read and write Japanese.

Apply for multiple cards at once
If you apply for a credit card from more than 3 companies in a month, it will be easy for you to fail. This is because multiple applications may be suspected of being overwritten or for membership benefits.

Apply for cashing or expensive shopping slots
When applying for a credit card, it is said that if the cashing frame is set to zero, it will be easier to pass the examination. On the other hand, if the amount of cashing and high-priced shopping is increased, the screening criteria will become stricter.

There is a problem with past usage records
If there is a problem with past usage results, the screening will not pass. If you are on a so-called “black list” where financial information such as arrears information and bankruptcy information is registered with a credit information agency, you cannot pass the examination.
Once on the blacklist, you will not be able to review for up to 5 years for delinquent information and up to 10 years for self-bankruptcy information.

There is only one ID
As a common case of foreigners born and raised in Japan, driver's licenses and alien registrations may use their real names and common names for Japan in everyday life. In this case, enrollment confirmation may not go smoothly with a single ID card and may fail to be examined.

Resident registration / cell phone contract not complete
Even foreigners can register as residents in Japan. Resident registration and telephone line contracts require an address, so you can confirm the location and pass the screening easily.

There is no document to prove income
Those who do not have income, such as international students, will be more difficult to pass screening than foreigners staying at work. This is because the repayment ability is considered low if there is no income.

3 credit cards that foreigners can easily pass through

The following three credit cards are easy for foreigners to pass through. We introduce each feature of them.
・ Epos Card
・ Sumitomo Mitsui Visa Classic Card
・ Student Life Card

Epos Card
・ Even foreigners can apply.
・ Admission fee / annual fee is free for many years
・ No customer service in English
・ Flexibility, including the issuance of Japan's first foreign-only credit card “GTN EPOS Card” in partnership with Global Trust Network, a comprehensive life support company specializing in foreigners
・ Overseas travel accident insurance is automatically provided
・ Same day issue

Sumitomo Mitsui Visa Classic Card
・ Free of charge for the first year, free of annual fee if used once in the following year
・ There is a student card that students can make
・ Even foreigners can apply.
・ Overseas travel accident insurance covers up to 20 million yen
・ Card limit up to 1.5 million yen

Student Life Card
・ Even foreigners can apply.
・ Annual membership fee is free
・ No customer service in English
・ Shopping limit: 50,000 to 300,000 yen
・ There is an inquiry window for students
・ Good service

What should I do if my credit card review fails?

Up to this point, we have introduced methods and recommended credit cards for foreigners to make credit cards in Japan. However, if you are still unable to make a credit card that you did not pass through the credit card review process, we recommend a “debit card” that has a similar function to a credit card.

What’s a debit card?
A debit card has a payment function such as VISA / JCB as well as a credit card. If you select “lump sum payment”, you can pay online or at a store. Previously it was used mainly overseas, but now there is much demand in Japan, and the number of places where it can be used is increasing.

Advantages and disadvantages of debit card
It is possible to make a debit card even if the credit card review fails. In addition, since it is debited directly from the bank deposit account by immediate settlement, the amount used can be grasped each time. Benefits include the fact that you no longer need to withdraw and carry cash, and that you can receive rewards when you use it like a credit card.
On the other hand, disadvantages include the inability to issue ETC cards and the lack of installment payments or revolving payments like credit cards. Also, there are some areas that are not compatible, so it may be difficult to live with just a debit card in Japan.

Recommended debit card
Japan Net Bank VISA debit card
・ You can apply even for foreigners
・ No annual fee or issue fee
・ Issued in a minimum of 5 days
・ Up to 5 million yen compensation in a year upon cases of theft
・ Available at about 38 million shops in Japan and overseas

Frequently asked questions about foreign credit card creation

Can international students issue cards?
Most of them require a stay of 90 days or more, so short-term international students can hardly issue cards.

Is foreign screening more stringent than usual?
Just because you are a foreigner does not make the examination more stringent than usual. However, apart from having income, you need to prove your period of residence and identity.

Can you really make a debit card without review?
Most debit cards can be made without review. Since you need a bank account, you can think that basically anyone can create one unless you can't create a bank account.

In conclusion
In this article, we have introduced the creation of foreign credit cards. The most important thing for foreigners to make a credit card is their period of residence, proper address in Japan, and income.
If you have difficulty obtaining a credit card, we recommend the debit card, which is now popular in Japan.