Best Credit Cards in Japan for Foreigners

Woman sitting at a table with her laptop, looking disappointed at her credit card

Planning on moving to Japan or need to stay much longer than expected? We know one of your top dilemmas is purchasing goods or services without dealing with the dreadful foreign transaction fees. And we also know that getting one of the best credit cards in Japan isn’t easy.

It’s harder to obtain a credit card here compared to many other countries because of stricter regulations. This is especially true for expats who have been in Japan for only two years or less.

Of course, cash is always an option but wouldn’t you want something more hassle-free? To help you out with just that, we’ve compiled the most foreigner-friendly credit cards in the country.

Rakuten

Rakuten's most popular card with an overview of benefits.

Rakuten’s most popular card: Rakuten Card Japan

Known as the “Japanese Amazon”, Rakuten is a shopping website. Their credit card has a great points system that you can use to purchase from the site as well as other affiliated stores, like Domino’s Pizza. Not only do they offer big rewards but there’s also no annual fee for the regular card.

The online application may not be in English but you can always rely on Google Translate. You could try to apply as soon as you arrive in the country since you won’t need to file tedious mounds of paperwork. Overall, Rakuten has a convenient application process, making it the easiest credit card to get in Japan.

EPOS

Regular, Gold, and Platinum EPOS cards.

EPOS credit cards: EPOS Card Japan

If you’re residing in an area where Marui shops are common, then the EPOS credit card may be just for you. Attached to the brand department store, you can also use EPOS anywhere just like a normal credit card.

EPOS makes it to our list of best credit cards in Japan because you can easily apply for one at any Marui department store.

Saison

The Saison Card International with an overview of benefits.

Saison Card International: Saison Card Japan

Saison is one of Japan’s leading card companies with a decent point system. Although the reward percentage is a bit lower than Rakuten, you can still enjoy the points to redeem expensive gifts and some of Japan’s top airline miles. You’ll also love the fact that this credit card has no annual membership fee!

Applying for a Saison Card International requires an ID and hanko (personal carved stamp), but you’ll still find it trouble-free as you can do it directly at a lot of department stores in Tokyo.

Orico

Orico’s THE POINT credit card with an overview of benefits.

Orico Japan: THE POINT

You know Orico is among the best credit cards in Japan because it’s been issued about 11 million times. People are particularly fond of Orico Card THE POINT, which has no annual fee and offers good rewards.

This could be a great option for you if you choose to drive in Japan as you can get extras like an ETC (Electronic Toll Collection) card.

JCB

A lineup of JCB’s Japan credit cards.

JCB credit cards: JCB Global

JCB is a Japanese payment brand that operates both in Japan and internationally. You can get exciting rewards from special promotions or when using the card in affiliated stores, such as Seven-11 or Amazon.co.jp. What’s more, there’s fraud detection 24 hours a day, so you don’t have to worry about security.

JCB credit cards are available in other banks and card providers, in addition to the ones the brand promotes itself.

Not ready for a credit card, yet?

Wise

Wise's multi-currency debit card

Multi-currency card: Wise

Wise is known for its hassle-free money transfers. And if you’re someone who receives or sends money in multiple currencies, they might have just the perfect solution for you: the multi-currency card.

You can hold, receive, send and spend money using a Wise multi-currency account—with more than 50 currencies available! A multi-currency debit card allows you to spend your money wherever you are with low conversion fees and zero transaction fees.

Security? Wise is regulated by the Kanto Local Finance Bureau in Japan and a number of authorities around the world so you know your money is protected at all times.

Paypay

Logo of Paypay

Keep in mind that the best credit card depends a lot on your personal preferences and how you expect to use the card. If all else fails, you can always count on Paypay—the best alternative to getting a Japanese credit card.