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Thread: No Japanese credit cards for foreigners ?

  1. #26
    もちもちした食感 ASHIKAGA's Avatar
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    I was turned down a couple of times last summer when I appplied after coming back to Japan after living abroad for a long time. They did not share with me the reason for it but I suspect it had something to do with the fact I had been out of the country for 20 years and did not have any track record whatsoever here in Japan.
    My current job is my first "real" job I have ever had in Japan so I will wait a few more months and establish myself here, so to speak, and apply again.

  2. #27
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    Just to add my 2 cents

    I first tried to get a credit card from my bank (Mitsubishi Tokyo UFJ); initially they rejected me, so I tried CitiBank - they also rejected me. Then I retried my bank after 3 months, by which time I had paid in about a million yen to my account. Then I got one, no problems.

    I think Japanese banks are worried about foreigners leaving with big credit card debts and never repaying them, but once you've proved you're earning, things should get easier.

    For the record: I was a JSPS researcher, which isn't a company at all, so I don't think employer was an issue.

  3. #28
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    I don't think that it has too much to do with what country you are from because in some cases they don't know if you sign up for a card by mail or through a store. My suggestion is to first try to get one through Costco Japan. I got my first Master Card from there my fourth year here, no problem. I tried for the heck of it at one store (can't remember which), but got turned down. What really ticked me off was that my own bank, Mitsubishi Tokyo which I have been with for 7 years, turned me down!!! (I had trouble with them before because I think they were doing one of those police checks of gaijin cards because they claimed that my hanko did not match the hanko stamp on file, even though I got it hand-made from China, totally uncopiable! They asked to see the card, after that, no problem with the hanko!) I also just got one from Citibank Japan, no problem, but I have to pay an annual fee if I don't keep a certain amount of money in the bank.

    The problem here is that the system is VERY subjective, even for Japanese, and there is no system of "building credit" here, like in the US per se. If you can, do it through a store but if ANYONE asks you to see your gaijin card, don't bother. And remember, actually the law says that you only have to show your gaijin card to the police and immigration (The problem is that some places actually DO need some sort of proof of residence, even from Japanese; but I have a Japanese drivers license like most Japanese do, so this is no problem for me.)

  4. #29
    Just me Glenski's Avatar
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    Residence can be assessed with your alien card, tax records, etc.

  5. #30
    TNT Basketball Analyst Charles Barkley's Avatar
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    Those who have been rejected for credit cards here--why not get one from your home country?

    Or if the job/money/etc you have is in Japan, does that render you ineligible for appropriate limit cards in your home country?

    I have just kept my American credit card and used that on the rare occassions I actually need it (just online purchasing).

  6. #31
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    I think that it was mentioned previously that you lose out on the exchange rate if you use your US credit card here. Also, you have to keep track of your purchases from here and send money from here to pay for your US card bills, which the price to send money from Japan has gone up considerably. In addition, just like in the states, you can get cards with points and bonus and get free stuff. All in all, it is just easier to deal with if you are living in Japan, getting paid in yen, and paying off your card here. It is a matter of convenience!

    And yes, it would be a bit difficult to convince a US credit card company to send all your bills and set up your address in Japan. I believe that many card companies require you to have a US address, but I suppose you could get around that by using your parents or friends address back home and checking up on your bills through the internet. But again, it is very much a big hassle!

    And I don't believe for a minute that you are the real Charles Barkely!
    Last edited by ranma_chan4; Aug 13, 2008 at 02:05. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  7. #32
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    The easiest cards to get

    For foreigners I heard were Nippon Shimpan, any department store card,

  8. #33
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    Same here. At first, I simply and honestly thought my bank (MUFJ) made a mistake in treating my application.

    Applied at AMEX as well, same result, rejection and no mention of a reason whatsoever.

    I actually tried to communicate with my bank and kindly asked them what i should do to get a credit card but no clear answer, just "try again in at least 6 months".

    Really frustrating.

  9. #34
    相変わらず不束者です epigene's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutch Baka View Post
    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
    Being Japanese but self-employed is another hurdle, esp. if your operation is small (just me and my husband).

    But, my husband had credit cards he got while still working for a big business corporation. When we delivered on our first very large purchase (in millions of yen), the credit card company immediately promoted our membership.

    I think what most young Japanese without jobs in big companies do is to get the most easily obtainable credit card (such as from a supermarket chain), build up credit history and move on from there.

    However, with the economy sagging, credit card issues will probably become harder to get than ever for Japanese, too.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by epigene View Post
    Being Japanese but self-employed is another hurdle, esp. if your operation is small (just me and my husband).
    But, my husband had credit cards he got while still working for a big business corporation. When we delivered on our first very large purchase (in millions of yen), the credit card company immediately promoted our membership.
    I think what most young Japanese without jobs in big companies do is to get the most easily obtainable credit card (such as from a supermarket chain), build up credit history and move on from there.
    However, with the economy sagging, credit card issues will probably become harder to get than ever for Japanese, too.
    Anyone else find it amusing that the big Japanese banks have ruined their balance sheets so thoroughly and are asking for government money, but if you work in a small business that they treat YOU like you are the worst credit risk in the history of the world? Hypocrites!

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Barkley View Post
    Those who have been rejected for credit cards here--why not get one from your home country?
    Or if the job/money/etc you have is in Japan, does that render you ineligible for appropriate limit cards in your home country?
    I have just kept my American credit card and used that on the rare occassions I actually need it (just online purchasing).
    Because making payment on them from Japan is a real pain in da butt.
    Last edited by Echigo; Dec 19, 2008 at 16:08. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  11. #36
    Regular Member FrustratedDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ottovudu View Post
    Same here. At first, I simply and honestly thought my bank (MUFJ) made a mistake in treating my application.
    Applied at AMEX as well, same result, rejection and no mention of a reason whatsoever.
    I actually tried to communicate with my bank and kindly asked them what i should do to get a credit card but no clear answer, just "try again in at least 6 months".
    Really frustrating.
    Wouldn't matter if you did not make a mistake.

  12. #37
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    Here'S a question for you. Do you have a documented record of a postive cash flow at the bank you applied for your credit card?

    If not and you REALLY want your credit card, the place to start is there. Open a savings account and have a net positive cash flow for 6 months or so and then see if you get rejected again.

  13. #38
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    I applied for a credit card from JP Bank about 3 months after arriving in Japan on a one-year work visa. A week after mailing in my application the bank called my company to verify my employment. They then spoke to me on the phone and asked to to verify my date of birth, and address. About 3 weeks later the card was delivered to my door. JP bank cards are apparently issued by SMBC.
    Someone mentioned earlier in the thread that many American banks won't mail your bill to Japan, or that they require an American address. This was not true in my case. I have a World MC from Citi, another World MC from Juniper, and a Disney Visa from Chase, all three banks had no problem changing to my Japan address, and I receive bills from them in the mail each month.
    I'm still trying to work something out with Amex. I have an Amex Platinum which I love to have for the travel perks, but the Japanese Amex Platinum has a much higher annual fee (the American annual fee is already $450 per year).

  14. #39
    Regular Member FrustratedDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontman View Post
    I applied for a credit card from JP Bank about 3 months after arriving in Japan on a one-year work visa. A week after mailing in my application the bank called my company to verify my employment. They then spoke to me on the phone and asked to to verify my date of birth, and address. About 3 weeks later the card was delivered to my door. JP bank cards are apparently issued by SMBC.
    Someone mentioned earlier in the thread that many American banks won't mail your bill to Japan, or that they require an American address. This was not true in my case. I have a World MC from Citi, another World MC from Juniper, and a Disney Visa from Chase, all three banks had no problem changing to my Japan address, and I receive bills from them in the mail each month.
    I'm still trying to work something out with Amex. I have an Amex Platinum which I love to have for the travel perks, but the Japanese Amex Platinum has a much higher annual fee (the American annual fee is already $450 per year).
    You got b/c you have other credit cards.

  15. #40
    Curmudgeon Hermit Crab's Avatar
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    No problems at all. Being able to confirm all the info on your application when they call in Japanese without hesitation seems to be a major requirement.

  16. #41
    Just me Glenski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrustratedDave View Post
    You got b/c you have other credit cards.
    Doesn't matter. Every credit card company has its own rules. Coworker of mine has lived here for over 20 years, owns property, built his own house, speaks fluent Japanese, has Japanese wife and kid, etc. Of course, he has other credit cards.

    He was denied a credit card from a lousy gasoline company. When he phoned them to ask why, they wouldn't tell him. Go figure.

  17. #42
    Regular Member FrustratedDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermit Crab View Post
    No problems at all. Being able to confirm all the info on your application when they call in Japanese without hesitation seems to be a major requirement.
    That doesn't mean much...
    Quote Originally Posted by Glenski View Post
    Doesn't matter. Every credit card company has its own rules. Coworker of mine has lived here for over 20 years, owns property, built his own house, speaks fluent Japanese, has Japanese wife and kid, etc. Of course, he has other credit cards.
    He was denied a credit card from a lousy gasoline company. When he phoned them to ask why, they wouldn't tell him. Go figure.
    Agreed, holding another credit card does not garrentee you passing . But everytime I applied in the past and was rejected, I rang the comapanies and everytime I was asked if I had another credit card, it just seems to be a major requirement.

  18. #43
    Curmudgeon Hermit Crab's Avatar
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    I've done some translation and interpretation work for a credit card company here. They tend to be more receptive to applicants working for large, recognizable companies (i.e. GEOS as opposed to Bob's English School). More receptive to those with a land-line as their main contact point, as opposed to a cell number. More receptive to those who use a Japanese driver's license as ID rather than a foreign residents' card. Much more receptive to those who can answer the confirmation phone call in passable Japanese. YMMV.

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrustratedDave View Post
    You got b/c you have other credit cards.
    They did not ask me if I had any other credit cards, nor was there such request on the application. I do not speak much Japanese, so that was also not much of a factor. The only positive thing that weighed in my favor was that I do work for a large company.

  20. #45
    Regular Member FrustratedDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermit Crab View Post
    I've done some translation and interpretation work for a credit card company here. They tend to be more receptive to applicants working for large, recognizable companies (i.e. GEOS as opposed to Bob's English School). More receptive to those with a land-line as their main contact point, as opposed to a cell number. More receptive to those who use a Japanese driver's license as ID rather than a foreign residents' card. Much more receptive to those who can answer the confirmation phone call in passable Japanese. YMMV.
    Although the things you say are true, but being reseptive is where it ends, it still won't have much of a bearing on if you can get the card or not.

    Trust when I say that it was ridiculus that I got turned down the amount of times I did. So I rang up the bank manager and told him to get down to my office and get on the phone and have the card company approve my request, of corse I got the card.

    I believe a big problem is that foriegners go home without paying payments and it has affected us all.

  21. #46
    Just me Glenski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermit Crab View Post
    I've done some translation and interpretation work for a credit card company here. They tend to be more receptive to applicants working for large, recognizable companies (i.e. GEOS as opposed to Bob's English School). More receptive to those with a land-line as their main contact point, as opposed to a cell number. More receptive to those who use a Japanese driver's license as ID rather than a foreign residents' card. Much more receptive to those who can answer the confirmation phone call in passable Japanese. YMMV.
    My friend had all of those requirements. Opinion now?

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenski View Post
    Opinion now?
    1. Total years of continuous (full-time) employment in the company then
    2. How many cards did he have then?
    3. Total debt incl. mortgage
    Your cases sometimes sound somewhat exceptional and/or ambiguous, though I don't need his personal info above. If he is really upset about the rejection, I highly recommend that he should ask the competent organization for his credit history, "how clean he is?".

    *snip
    This is not about Glenski case, but general info for people, Japanese/non-Japanese, who want to get a card.
    4. Which card, bank/retailer/sarakin (consumer loan firm) or else were you applied?
    I think Japan is the easiest and cheapest country to open your bank account, but the credit card of banks is the hardest credit card you can get.
    5. How many times did you applied to a card in a short period of time?
    6. How many times did you was rejected?

    E-bank offers you a card with visa debit card, so when you desperately want to buy something online, just apply to it.

    *snip 2
    This is a kind reform recommendation from the US.
    Credit Bureaus: Promote sound credit underwriting,
    deter excessive lending and improve consumer
    welfare
    and competitive credit markets by creating a
    legal and regulatory framework for a credit bureau
    system that facilitates more accurate risk pricing for
    consumers and small businesses by collecting and
    providing fair, open access to comprehensive full-file
    credit information.
    I read Japan will soon start the similar credit history hell in accordance with the recommendation above. I think it is good to change the present saving-crazy mindset of the Japanese, esp., the elderly people, but the excessive lending must be one of the reason of the present financial crisis... Sorry if the new spending-crazy Japanese would cause another troubles in 20XX.

  23. #48
    Just me Glenski's Avatar
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    pipokun,
    Yes, a lot of what you wrote about qualificatoins for a card are valid. I won't bother to look deeply into my friend/coworker's situation, but I can easily tell you this:

    He is not a financial risk.
    He speaks very good Japanese (and filled out the application himself in Japanese).
    He is "clean".

    He called the company directly and asked what the deal was. They wouldn't give him a clear answer and even defended the point he politely asked about whether they rejected him because he was a foreigner. They simply said they couldn't say what their reason was, so he had to live with that. He doesn't like it, but it is weird.

  24. #49
    Curmudgeon Hermit Crab's Avatar
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    Glenski my man,

    I wrote "more receptive", not "guarantees". There are other criteria, which the company does not disclose. Also, most credit card companies have a policy not to give the reason for rejection. Doesn't matter if you are foreign or Japanese. If you call and ask, you will be told they cannot say. Regardless of the specific reason. You may rant and rave all you wish, but in the end you'd be better served getting over it and finding a company that can and will serve your needs.

  25. #50
    Just me Glenski's Avatar
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    Hermit Crab,
    I understood what you wrote (more receptive vs. guaranteed). I responded only to show to support the fact that it is not guarantee.

    My friend is long over it, but I still think this is a good example.

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