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Credit Cards

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RE: Credit Cards

Postby friendly_fire » Tue 01.23.2007 9:57 am

It's true that Japan is a cash based society. It's also true that you won't be able to use the large majority of ATMs with foreign cards.

However, I've been able to use my foreign deibt and credit cards to withdraw cash from CitiBank ATMs. Foreigner-friendly ATMs are highlighted on the maps of most travel guides (i.e Lonely Planet)

Also, I've never had a problem using a foreign credit card in a shop, restaurant, etc. (Though I tend to use cash at restaurants).
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RE: Credit Cards

Postby Harisenbon » Tue 01.23.2007 8:18 pm

Mike Cash wrote:
One thing that you have to be careful of is that they often make a distinction between the issuing body, rather than the backer of the card.


I actually had a big issue with this, as I was purchasing some stuff online, and decided to pay through my local Convini. I called them up to make sure that they took mastercard, then went down to the store to pay my bill.

When I gave them my mastercard (Eiden issued) they informed me that they could only accept their brand of MasterCard, even though they had the mastercard logo boldly emblazened on the cash register as well as the front window.
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RE: Credit Cards

Postby wd90 » Sat 01.27.2007 7:01 am

I actually had some troubles with this today. Overall, I would say Visa is the most accepted of foreign credit cards. After that would be American Express and Mastercard third. Foreign credit cards are accepted at most chain stores (particularly American/Western-owned restaurants) but usable ATMs are scarce. Often times they will say they accept the three big foreign cards but as already mentioned, they often mean Japanese cards or their own cards only. Post offices will take nearly any card, which is a great relief. However, hours are often a bit difficult to work with, and since Post Offices are usually placed close to domestic areas as opposed to the areas a traveling foreigner might go to, they can be a bit hard to find. Citibanks also take most international credit cards.

If you want to choose a new credit card to go with before your trip, I would suggest a Citibank Visa. Visa is the most widely accepted, and Citibank has deals with a few ATMs so you can use their foreign cards where you cannot use another bank's card.
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RE: Credit Cards

Postby keatonatron » Sat 01.27.2007 7:10 am

And there are a few citibank locations in Tokyo (and probably other big cities as well).
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RE: Credit Cards

Postby Mike Cash » Sat 01.27.2007 10:48 am

To avoid trouble:

Even if you see a logo for Visa/MC or whatever other card you have, it would be best to take out your card and ask if it can be used prior to ordering food.
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RE: Credit Cards

Postby Kagemaru » Sat 01.27.2007 12:49 pm

A conversation I had once with a fraud investigator with American Express in passing comment was saying the original sales point of credit cards was to create a safer more secure way to carry cash in countries notorious for petty cash theft.

As Japan can boast a very low crime rate in that department, the common Japanese thinking might be that carrying cash is safe, therefore credit cards not needed, however Japan does share the top five in credit card fraud countries due to high tech skimming and data theft devices/facilities.

He went on to say the introduction of frequent flyer points and various other bonus point systems attached to cards was employed in order to gain customers within safe cash carrying countries.

How true this is a cannot attest although, digging around the net I could not ascertain the average personal debt per capita in Japan as opposed to America, Australia etc.

I remember in Australia, those buried in credit card debt usually resulted in the banks/credit companies extending the borrowing amount :o
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RE: Credit Cards

Postby suhui » Sat 02.03.2007 11:27 pm

Are there many people using credit cards in Yokohama and Osaka?
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RE: Credit Cards

Postby keatonatron » Sun 02.04.2007 1:49 am

I don't.
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RE: Credit Cards

Postby Kagemaru » Sun 02.04.2007 1:52 am

I do.
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RE: Credit Cards

Postby Mike Cash » Sun 02.04.2007 3:27 am

The results of a recent survey indicate that the answer is 50%, suhui.
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RE: Credit Cards

Postby keatonatron » Sun 02.04.2007 4:20 am

Mike Cash wrote:
The results of a recent survey indicate that the answer is 50%, suhui.


Also, 100% of the people in Nara use credit cards, compared to 0% in Yokohama.
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RE: Credit Cards

Postby Infidel » Sun 02.04.2007 6:45 am

Strange,

I keep on hearing passing references to how pick-pockets are so widespread in Japan that they have their own sub-society and how it is one of the worst places to carry cash.

Combine this with a police force that discourages people from reporting crimes so they can proclaim how safe their precinct is and I'm rather loathe to carry cash in any big city.

Granted this is purely anectdotal and could be indicitive of only a few isolated incidents, but it's also the type of situation that it doesn't hurt to take steps either.
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RE: Credit Cards

Postby keatonatron » Sun 02.04.2007 8:57 am

I've never heard of pick-pocketing here. In fact, it's a common style to have your wallet sticking halfway out of your pocket.

Even if it was a problem, I think it'd be pretty hard for anyone to take your wallet out of your pants pocket without you noticing. (that is, if you properly push it in all the way ;))
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RE: Credit Cards

Postby Oracle » Sun 02.04.2007 9:47 am

Infidel wrote:
Strange,

I keep on hearing passing references to how pick-pockets are so widespread in Japan that they have their own sub-society and how it is one of the worst places to carry cash.

I was under the same impression, especially after reading this book years ago with all the jargon and secret language used by pickpockets and criminals. But it doesn't seem to be that big a problem as far as I can tell: The only time I've really heard about すり since are occasional signs in public places warning to watch out for it, and when Tom Cruise decided to call his daughter "Suri" :)
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RE: Credit Cards

Postby Mike Cash » Sun 02.04.2007 7:11 pm

keatonatron wrote:
I've never heard of pick-pocketing here. In fact, it's a common style to have your wallet sticking halfway out of your pocket.

Even if it was a problem, I think it'd be pretty hard for anyone to take your wallet out of your pants pocket without you noticing. (that is, if you properly push it in all the way ;))


I think the guys who get hit most are drunken salarymen on trains, the sort who carry their wallets in the inside breast pocket of their suits.

For as far back as I can remember my father kept a wide rubber band around his wallet. He said it not only keeps anyone from pulling it out without his notice, it keeps the wallet from falling/slipping out as well.
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