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Thread: No Japanese credit cards for foreigners ?

  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    No Japanese credit cards for foreigners ?

    Japan Times : Visa la difference


    Although it is certainly not impossible to receive a credit card as a foreigner living in Japan, chances are that unless you're working for a major Japanese company that is prepared to provide you with a family card, you're probably going to be rejected far more often than you might be at home.

    "I've heard anecdotes of card companies actually just categorically denying credit cards to foreigners," said Daniel Lintz, director of corporate communications for Visa International, Japan.
    This surprises me as I haven't had any problem getting credit cards from 2 different card companies in Japan. They do verify a lot of stuff, but they didn't make me any problem.

    I suppose this could be added to the already long list of types of discrimination in Japan

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  2. #2
    Banned Mike Cash's Avatar
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    I'm surprised that you're surprised. Things may be easing up the slightest bit now, but routine denial used to be the norm.

    I'll never forget filling out a Japanese application for an American Express card and receiving a rejection letter.....in English. An American being refused an American Express card just because he's an American.

  3. #3
    Regular Member misa.j's Avatar
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    I just thought about something.
    What do people use for payment when they order something online in Japan, do they use a credit card?

    I get a lot of credit card offers here in the U.S., but I don't think I got any when I was in Japan.

  4. #4
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikecash
    I'm surprised that you're surprised. Things may be easing up the slightest bit now, but routine denial used to be the norm.

    I'll never forget filling out a Japanese application for an American Express card and receiving a rejection letter.....in English. An American being refused an American Express card just because he's an American.
    Funny, when I joined my local fitness club, they said I didn't have the choice but take their credit card (Visa or JCB) when registering. Many shops (eg. deparment stores) and companies have a credit card to their logo that give special discounts or points on their products or services. Have you tried that ? It's better than a regular CC anyway, as you get the points (even if it's only about 1% off, that's better than nothing).

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    Im about to apply for a credit card now. Curious if I will get rejected or not. I have an address, work for a big company, been here a while... If I do get rejected, I'm counting it as discrimination! (Or bad handwriting on my part.)
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  6. #6
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harvey
    Im about to apply for a credit card now. Curious if I will get rejected or not. I have an address, work for a big company, been here a while... If I do get rejected, I'm counting it as discrimination! (Or bad handwriting on my part.)
    I don't even work for a Japanese company, and I got my first Japanese CC less than one year after coming to Japan. My wife said it's because I am married to a Japanese, but the CC company doesn't know (it's not mentioned on the application form).

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    Alright I feel more confidient now!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    Funny, when I joined my local fitness club, they said I didn't have the choice but take their credit card (Visa or JCB) when registering.
    That happened to me too, I joined a fitness club in 2001 and got a Visa credit card, issued by DC Card company. I had to send them a photocopy of my passport, Japanese visa and a certificate from my employer, which was annoying; but then I just got the card sent to my home, valid for 2 years. And I paid on time every month. Then, in 2003 I resigned my fitness club membership and the card expired some months later. But I phoned DC to ask for an extension, and after 2 weeks they sent me another card, valid for 5 years!

    I guess it's all about TRUST! Of course Trust does not depend on one's country of citizenship, as there are many Japanese people who commit fraud, but it seems that credit card companies go by the rule of "distrust the gaijin first". Sad and unbelievable, but true!

  9. #9
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookie85
    That happened to me too, I joined a fitness club in 2001 and got a Visa credit card, issued by DC Card company. I had to send them a photocopy of my passport, Japanese visa and a certificate from my employer, which was annoying; but then I just got the card sent to my home, valid for 2 years.
    I didn't need to submit any photo nor a copy or my passport or alien registration card (only the application form) and got a card valid for 3 years immediately. Maybe it depends on the nationality. Americans (and Israelis) are known to live on credits, while people from the Benelux or Switzerland are known for being thrifty and financially reliable.

  10. #10
    Heimin
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    Had no problem at all getting my Sumitomo Visa.

  11. #11
    okonomiyaki=bliss duff_o_josh's Avatar
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    my smbc visa is on its way.
    ooo~

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    Credit card companies

    My daughter went to work in Japan 8 months ago. She rejected several times on applying a Japanese credit card. Could you let me know which credit card companies that accept your application? Thanks.

  13. #13
    Tubthumper JimmySeal's Avatar
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    I was rejected for a Chase Amazon.co.jp card last year, and I have a Chase Amazon.com card with a $5000 credit line and no outstanding balance. You'd think that would count for something.
    Just recently got turned down for a Tsutaya visa card.

    I heard that the Post Office savings account card can be used like a visa card. Is that true?

    Edit: Whups. Maciamo's article answered my question.

  14. #14
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    I was rejected for a SMBC Visa card... got a Japanese letter at home saying:

    We are very sorry, but we can not give you a credit card.

    That was it, there was no reason or something it just said I could not get a card...

    I guess I am going to apply again one of these months for maybe a daimaru card or something... hope it's going to work this time.

    I was rejected for a SMBC Visa card... got a Japanese letter at home saying:

    We are very sorry, but we can not give you a credit card.

    That was it, there was no reason or something it just said I could not get a card...

    I guess I am going to apply again one of these months for maybe a daimaru card or something... hope it's going to work this time.
    Last edited by Dutch Baka; Mar 21, 2008 at 10:13. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  15. #15
    Tubthumper JimmySeal's Avatar
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    Yea that's generally the way it goes. No reason given and a lot of insincere polite gobbledygook.

    The article suggested getting a visa debit card from your bank, or one from the post office. Is there any particular reason you want a credit card, as opposed to a debit card?
    Last edited by JimmySeal; Mar 21, 2008 at 23:55. Reason: misspelled insincere

  16. #16
    Regular Member FrustratedDave's Avatar
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    Just recieved my Japanese platinum visa card with $XX,XXX credit limit. But was rejected countless times. There is no way you are getting a Japanese credit card from any company unless you have something special (not saying that I do, but my bank manager pushed the card through for me.) It is common practise for card companies to deny foriegners without a second thought upfront. I eventually was asked to provide a copy of my permanent residency and a copy of my yearly income, from there they deemed it safe to give me a credit card.

    Oh and Jimmy, I was rejected for a card from the same bank, but I then procceded to the back manager who I do my business with and explained the situation, only then was I able to get the card that I wanted.

    Even cards with banks will reject you.

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    Thanks for info. It seems my daughter can never get a Japan credit card because she's on working visa.

  18. #18
    遠いから行きません GaijinPunch's Avatar
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    Figured I'd keep this going. I had a card through Citi years ago. Never got the automatic deduction setup right (they didn't like my signature or some BS) so it was late by 2 weeks every time, and they turned it off. I know that can't help, but I'm using two Japanese banks for my side business. Both have several salaries go through them a year, and the main one has the excess which is to pay for taxes at the end of the fiscal year sitting there earning .00001% interest. That amount is far more than any human credit card limit. Yet, I get rejected by both.

    When I get my tax forms in this year and my first year back is documented, I will play the inquisitive gaijin. Then, the steaming pissed gaijin.

  19. #19
    puzzled gaijin
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    I applied for a Saison card some years ago and got it immediately. I don't know if having a Japanese wife with good credit helped or not.

    On a side note, my American ATT card was canceled (I didn't use it for 14 months) and when I reapplied, they didn't want to reissue it because I no longer live in the US.

  20. #20
    Just me Glenski's Avatar
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    Friend of mine is American and has been living in Japan for over 20 years. Has a Japanese wife, and he is vice-president of a language school (biggest in the city). He applied for a credit card from a gasoline company and got rejected (no reason cited). After phoning them to learn more why, he said they told him they can't divulge that sort of information.

    So, it just goes to show, you can be accepted or rejected. Doesn't really matter. Go to the next company and try.

  21. #21
    Regular Member FrustratedDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijinalways View Post
    I applied for a Saison card some years ago and got it immediately. I don't know if having a Japanese wife with good credit helped or not.
    On a side note, my American ATT card was canceled (I didn't use it for 14 months) and when I reapplied, they didn't want to reissue it because I no longer live in the US.
    I will put money on it that you stated that you had another credit card and supplied them with that info.

  22. #22
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    I'm surprised that I never posted on this thread yet.

    I have gotten two (and a half) credit cards, and I got them both when I was single. (I say a half because I could only use it at one gasoline chain.) I had no problem whatsoever procuring them, either.

    I suppose some companies are stricter than others when issuing credit cards to foreigners.

  23. #23
    Regular Member FrustratedDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikawa Ossan View Post
    I'm surprised that I never posted on this thread yet.
    I have gotten two (and a half) credit cards, and I got them both when I was single. (I say a half because I could only use it at one gasoline chain.) I had no problem whatsoever procuring them, either.
    I suppose some companies are stricter than others when issuing credit cards to foreigners.
    Not the case, this trend is accross the board. Did you have a credit card that was in your name that you got while in the states?

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    Hmm....good question. I cancelled all of my credit cards that I got from the U.S. some years ago. I figured that I never used them and they were too much hassle to keep around anyway.

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    any information about Japanese and not being able to get a CC? Maybe living situation and working situation matters... plus the guy behind the desk

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