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Have your own credit card without Japanese nationality! Credit cards for foreign residents and international students.

日本

If you are a foreign resident or an international student staying in Japan so long, a credit card for use in Japan contributes to a convenient life.

But, is it possible for such foreigners to have credit cards in Japan without Japanese nationality?

Today, we will introduce how foreigners can have their credit cards in Japan, as well as our recommended credit cards.

ケロンくん

Foreigners can also have a credit card. No worries!

Is it true that foreigners can have credit cards in Japan?

留学

In fact, foreigners can also have a credit card in Japan.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have Japanese nationality.

If you are studying or working in Japan for mid- or long-term, most of the credit cards are available to you.

▼ Requirements for making a credit card

  • Staying in Japan for mid- or long-term
  • Having (or being able to have) a Japanese bank account
  • Having a living address in Japan

If you meet these requirements, you can get a credit card rather easily in Japan.

It is recommended to have one as necessary in order to make your life more convenient in Japan.

Necessary things when foreigners apply for a credit card

世界地図と飛行機

When you apply for a card, you will be asked for some documents, for example, to verify your identity.

Foreigners are required to present the following items upon application.

Make sure that you have all of them before application.

▼ Items required when applying for a credit card

  • Identity verification documents*
  • Debit account
  • Personal seal and bank seal

*Residence card, special permanent resident certificate, student ID card (copy), etc.

Residence card or special permanent resident certificate is recommended for the identity verification documents

When making a credit card, it is generally required to present identity verification documents in one of the following ways:

  • STEP.1
    Mail the document at the time of application
  • STEP.2
    Send image data of the document at the time of application
  • STEP.3
    Present the document to the delivery staff at the time of arrival of the credit card

Passports and driver’s licenses are also valid as identity verification documents, but it is better to present a residence card or a special permanent resident certificate if possible.

It is because they are effective to inform the card issuer company that you have the right to stay in Japan for a long time.

The residence card is provided with the status and the period of residence, and the address is also indicated on the back of both cards.

It is recommended to present a “residence card” or a “special permanent resident certificate” to verify your identity for better results in the screening process of the credit card.

Key point!
When international students apply for a credit card exclusive to students, it is also required to present a student ID card.

Don’t forget to open a bank account!

通帳

The debit account for your credit card should be made for your name.

Open an account in advance with any financial institution.

A residence card, a special permanent resident certificate, or other documents prove that you are a mid- or long-term resident is required for opening an account.

In the case of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, the followings are the conditions for opening an account.

If you are an individual with foreign nationality, please provide a residence card or special permanent resident certificate.

Quoted from: Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (official website)

The requirement for a residence card or a special permanent resident certificate means that you cannot apply for an account unless you are a mid- or long-term resident.

The same applies when opening an account with other financial institutions.

Key point!
The personal seal and the bank seal registered upon account opening are recently unnecessary for applications for credit cards, but it is recommended to keep them at hand.

Tips for easier passing of the screening

PCとカード

There is a screening process in making credit cards.

It is almost the same as applications made by Japanese people, and the only difference is that the identity verification document to be submitted will be a residence card or a special permanent resident certificate.

Even if you are a foreign resident or an international student, the screening will not be stricter. You need just the capacity to repayment and a sufficiently long period between application and returning.

From here, we will explain how to make it even easier to pass the screening.

Apply with your real name

Some foreigners may have a “common name” used in Japan and want to use it for an application for a credit card.

However, since the identity verification document is basically provided with the real name, the application with a different name may be rejected.

Make sure to use your real name upon application.

Key point!
If you desire to have a credit card with your common name, it is not impossible to get with an identity verification document that describes your common name as well as your real name.

Staying in Japan for a certain long term

The credit card screenings confirm the length of your stay in Japan.

If you can only stay for a short term, you are unlikely to have a credit card.

Those who have a long-term visa for more than 6 months or a permanent residence in Japan are more advantageous.

If your visa is soon expired, it’s better for you to stop application and get a visa with a longer term.

Short-term residents have difficulty making credit cards

In the case of a short-term stay or a homestay, the exact address may not be registered.

It will be difficult for short-term residents to get a credit card because an address is required for an application.

In addition, short-term residents of less than 3 months cannot have a “residence card”.

In order to prove that you are a mid- or long-term resident, a residence card or a certificate of residence is required for opening a bank account, which is necessary for making a credit card.

Therefore, short-term residents of less than 3 months cannot have a credit card.

Key point!
Suppose that a short-term resident purchased an item on a long-term (e.g. 24 times) installment basis with a credit card.
If the purchaser returns home in the middle of payment, the card issuer company is unlikely to receive further payments, so they are unwilling to issue credit cards to short-term residents.

Set the cashing limit to 0

When applying for a credit card, it will be easier to pass the screening by setting the cashing limit to 0 yen.

If you apply with a minimum shopping limit, the screening will be further easier.

ケロンくん

Both the cashing limit and the shopping limit can be increased after the credit card is issued.
Get a limited card at first!

If you were once overdue, apply 6 months after the dissolution of such overdue.

If you are falling behind in credit card payments or installments of a mobile device in Japan, the information will be shared with credit information agencies, which makes difficult to pass the screening.

Such credit information will be deleted 6 months after the dissolution of overdue. It is recommended to apply after the information is deleted if you were once overdue in any payments.

If you were rejected in multiple screenings, apply after a certain period.

The records of credit card screenings and using of the cards are called “credit history” and are kept for several years.

Not only for foreigners, if a person is rejected in multiple screenings in the short-term, the card issuer company doubts that “the person has some problems” and is unwilling to issue a credit card.

If your application is rejected due to the expiration of visa or inadequate documentation, it is recommended to apply again after about 6 months.

Points when foreigners apply for a credit card

本

Let’s look at some points that foreigners should be aware of when applying for a credit card.

Copy both sides of the residence card or the special permanent resident certificate

When submitting a residence card or a special permanent resident certificate as an identity verification document, make sure to copy both the front and back.

If the address indicated in the identity verification document is different from that on the application form, submit one of the following supplementary documents (must be with your name).

▼ Supplementary documents

  • Receipt of utility charges (one of electricity, town gas, water, NHK, or landline)
  • Receipt of social insurance
  • Receipt of national/local tax or tax certificate
Caution
Note that the first credit card after enrollment cannot generally be sent to locations other than the current address indicated in the identity verification document (or supplementary document).

Some credit cards are not available without Japanese nationality.

Note that some credit cards may require “to have Japanese nationality” as the condition of application.

Please refer to the credit cards that foreigners can apply for at the end of this article.

FAQs

Q&A

Here are some questions and answers that foreigners often wonder about when making a credit card.

Q. How can I indicate my middle name?

A. Include your middle name in either “Last Name” or “First Name”.

Leave a space before/after your middle name.

If there are too many characters to enter, fill in as much as possible and omit “First Name”.

The staff will call you later for confirmation in detail.
Source: JCB contact center

Q. Can I apply even if I can’t read Japanese?

A. If you cannot read Japanese at all, it may be difficult to apply for a credit card.

The application form should be completed in Japanese.

In addition, it is necessary to understand and agree to the card issuer company’s membership terms and conditions upon application, but most card issuer companies have only the Japanese version.

For such reasons, it may be difficult to apply for a credit card if you cannot read Japanese at all.
Source: Sumitomo Mitsui Card Company customer support

Key point!
It is recommended that you apply with someone who understands Japanese.

Q. What should I do when returning home?

A. The card itself can be used overseas, so you can hold it as long you can deposit into a Japanese debit account.

However, if it is difficult to deposit into your account, please make a cancellation before returning and apply again when you come to Japan for the next time.
Source: JCB contact center

Q. I want to apply for a family card for my spouse with foreign nationality. Is it necessary to submit an identity verification document?

A. It is not necessary to submit an identity verification document when applying for a family card.

However, there is a screening process before the card is issued.
Source: Sumitomo Mitsui Card Company (official website)

Recommended credit cards for foreign residents

マイルとカード

There are many types of credit cards, ranging from general cards that are easy to get to high-grade cards that require a certain status.

Here are 3 recommended credit cards that are easy for foreign residents to get.

Rakuten Card

楽天カードnew

Rakuten Card is issued by Rakuten with free annual membership.

The return rate is usually 1.0% and more than 3% on Rakuten Ichiba.

The users of Rakuten Ichiba will be convenient by making this card.

If you don’t have a bank account in Japan, you can go through the proceeding smoothly by making Rakuten Card after opening an account with Rakuten Bank.

The qualifications for application are as follows:

Card application is for those over 18 years old.

Quoted from:Rakuten Card (official website)

▼ For detailed information about “Rakuten Card”

楽天カードの全てを解説!圧倒的人気No. 1でおいて損はない!券種・ポイント・特典・審査・投信・楽天payの徹底まとめ・楽天カードマンの正体は?【2019年最新版】


Ratings of the card
Point return rate
(4.5)
Privileges
(4.5)
Usability as a main card
(4.5)
Total judgment
(4.5)

Rakuten Card

JCB CARD W

JCB_w

JCB-W is a type of JCB card limited for online applications for ages 18 – 39.

Compared to regular JCB cards, the point return rate is double, so you can earn points faster than other JCB cards.

JCB-W does not require identity verification documents.

This card requires that you register your bank account online. Because they consider that the identity is verified upon the opening of a bank account, they don’t require an identity verification document.
*Confirmed by phone with JCB

This is convenient because you don’t need to prepare a residence card.

The qualifications for application are as follows:

Those who are aged between 18 – 39 and have stable continuous income of the principal or their spouses.

Or students except for high school students who are aged between 18 – 39.

Quoted from: JCB (official website)

▼ For detailed information about “JCB CARD W”

「JCB CARD W」ならWeb入会限定で今ならポイント最大10倍!【ポイント・還元率・キャンペーン】

Ratings of the card
Privileges
(4.5)
Point return rate
(4.5)
Usability as a main card
(5.0)
Total judgment
(4.5)

JCB CARD W

Recommended credit cards for international students

大学生

Next, we will introduce 3 recommended credit cards for international students.

Although the students don’t have income, their parents are expected to compensate at worst.

Therefore, some credit cards are available as exclusive cards for students that are easy for them to get.

Sumitomo Mitsui VISA Debut Plus Card

三井住友カードデビュープラス

Sumitomo Mitsui VISA Debut Plus Card is limited for ages 18 – 25.

This card is available to students, and you may be able to upgrade to a higher card if you continue using it after graduation.

If you plan to continue staying in Japan so long, you would be better to get it.

If you have already been set up for a debit account via an online application, you don’t need to submit an identity verification document.
*In case you are over 20 years old. (According to Sumitomo Mitsui Card customer center)

The qualifications for application are as follows:

Those who are aged between 18 – 25 (except for high school students)

Or students aged between 18 – 25 (except for high school students)

*Postgraduates, auditors, non-degree students, language school students, cram school students, and vocational school students other than authorized schools cannot apply as “students”.

*Minors require parental consent.

Quoted from: Sumitomo Mitsui Card Company (official website)

▼ For detailed information about “Sumitomo Mitsui VISA Debut Plus Card”

三井住友デビュープラスカードの限度額は?学生で上げられるのは30万円まで!上げられた事例・上げられない事例まとめ

Ratings of the card
Safety & Security
(4.5)
Brand status
(4.5)
Recommend as the first credit card
(5.0)
Total judgment
(5.0)

Sumitomo Mitsui VISA Debut Plus Card


Click below to apply for Sumitomo Mitsui VISA Debut Plus Card now.

JAL CARD navi

JAL CARD navi is an exclusive card for students aged between 18 – 29, except for high school students.

You can earn JAL mileage point by using this card, which can be used for international and domestic flights.

The mileage point will never expire while you are at the school.

In addition, there are other unique benefits such as the “Language Proficiency Bonus Mileage” that you can earn by passing the language proficiency tests specified by JAL.

Key point!
If you are an international student and are using JAL or other oneworld member airlines to and from your home country, you can earn the profitable mileage points.

The qualifications for application are as follows:

Students aged between 18 – 30

Quoted from: JAL (official website)

▼ For detailed information about “JAL CARD navi”

【学生専用】JALカードnaviは年会費無料でマイルがザクザク貯まる!その他特典は?卒業後はどうなる?

Ratings of the card
Privileges
(4.5)
Compatibility with JAL
(5.0)
Total judgment
(4.5)

JAL CARD navi

We recommend international brands that can be used overseas!

クレジットカードを持つ手

There are international brands of credit cards such as VISA, Master, JCB, and AMEX.

Every card has own brand logo in the lower right corner, which means that the card is accepted only at the member shops of the logo.

For example, even if you have multiple VISA cards, you cannot use any of them at a member shop of Master Card.

VISA, Master, and JCB are convenient in Japan as they have a lot of member shops.

▼ For detailed information about “international brands”

【JCB,VISA,MasterCard】国際ブランドはどれがいい?国内シェアは?海外旅行に行くなら?国際クレジットカードとは?

Key point!
It’s a good idea to have credit cards for each brand so that you can manage in any case.

Enjoy your life in Japan with a credit card!

If you are studying or working in Japan for mid- or long-term, most of the credit cards are available to you.

▼ Requirements for making a credit card

  • Staying in Japan for mid- or long-term
  • Having (or being able to have) a Japanese bank account
  • Having a living address in Japan

If you meet these requirements, you can get a credit card rather easily in Japan.

A credit card is a convenient tool that you can use instead of cash and can also earn points according to the used amount.

Let’s get one that seems to be easier to use to make your life in Japan more comfortable!