Can’t Get a Credit Card in Japan? Use PayPay

A person holding a phone

Nothing is more frustrating than carrying coins because you can’t get a credit card in Japan. It’s notoriously hard to get approved for a card, even with the most foreigner-friendly companies. An easy alternative is using your Pasmo or Suica card as a prepaid card, but they don’t give rewards. If you’re tired of rejections and want a bit more bang for your buck, here’s the best alternative to getting a Japanese credit card.

The Hassle-free Credit Card Alternative

Our top recommendation for a cashless tool is Paypay (not to be confused with Paypal). With Paypay, you simply scan and pay. One draw back is that you don’t get a card to shop online. Even so, you get to be cashless with rewards like a regular credit card.

Paypay Logo

You get 0.5 percent back for every purchase (up 5,000 yen per month!). That is no spare change. More than 100 stores already accept this form of payment.

Currently, Paypay is only in Japanese but the user experience is intuitive. Follow the steps below for guidance.

Setting Up Paypay

Paypay works like a prepaid card with no fees nor trouble. To join, you need to add your phone number.

After, you can charge up in 3 different ways:
・with direct banking
・at a Seven Bank ATM
・for the lucky few who have one, link your credit card

STEP 1: VERIFY YOUR ACCOUNT

Download the app at the app store or Google Play.
Enter your phone number.
Verify with the passcode.

Screens showing the app and passcode entry forms

STEP 2: CHARGING YOUR ACCOUNT

Paypay recommends linking your bank account, but if you prefer paying with cash or reward-stacking with your credit card, the steps are below.

If you want to register your bank account, select [>] and [銀行口座登録] in the app. Select your bank, input your information, and confirm the registration. That’s it!

Steps guiding you to charge Paypay with your bank account without worrying about not getting a credit card in Japan

If you want to charge with cash, select [スマートフォンの取引] at a Seven Bank ATM and [チャージ] in the app. Input how much you want to deposit, scan the QR code, and deposit the cash. That’s it!

Steps guiding you to charge Paypay at the ATM to be cashless in Japan without a credit card

If you want to charge with your credit card, select [>] and [カード追加] in the app. Scan your credit card and input the information. That’s it!

Steps guiding you to charge Paypay with your credit card

STEP 3: GO SHOPPING

The last step is to try it out yourself in any store with the Paypay logo. There are 2 ways to pay.

Paypay Logo

The first is to scan the store’s Paypay QR code yourself and show the clerk your payment.

Screens to pay with Paypay

The second is to show your personal QR code to the clerk. Either way, you won’t be bothered by the fact that you can’t get a credit card in Japan because you’re finally cashless with rewards.

Steps showing the clerk scanning your QR code

With that, you’re officially on your way to carrying fewer coins for the year 2021.

Check out this page for more “Life” hacks, such as “How to Renew a Japanese Visa Online” and “How to Celebrate the Holidays in Japan.”

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