Credit card for foreigners in Japan

If you stay in Japan for a while, you may notice this country may not prefer credit card as much as in your country. I do not know the exact reason why, but instead, credit card companies came up with various ideas to encourage Japanese to have a credit card.

For example, every single credit cards have some kind of rewards program. Some cards give you 0.5%~1% of spendings as points that you can spend on their website, some cards give you points that you can spend to receive free stuff from various elections.

It is safe and easy to use your credit card from your home country; however, it might be fun and valuable if you get a credit card here.

Can you actually have a credit card?

As a foreigner, the first question you may come up with is “Can I actually have a credit card? Am I eligible even if I have never used credit card issued in this country?”

Well, it depends how you end up living here, but there is one credit card that you have more chance to be eligible. The name is Rakuten card.

Rakuten card is known as the easiest credit card to own. So easy that this joke, “Rakuten card is just so easy to own. I applied as Sniper and I really got one”, is widely believed as truth.

As you may know or may not know, you need to use a credit card and repay to increase the chance to have a credit card.  It is recommended to apply for easy-to-have card like Rakuten card first if you are willing to have a credit card in Japan.

Rakuten card, Aeon card, YJ card are known as the easiest, so you might want to apply one of them to build your credit card trust in Japan. Personally, I’d recommend Rakuten card though.

Rakuten card

Rakuten card is easy, is not the only reason why I recommend. This credit card has full of rewards great for the first credit card you ever own in Japan.

First, you get 5000 yen worth points for signing up.

Rakuten was started as EC company like amazon, but eventually, they expanded to credit card business. When you sign up this credit card, you receive 5000 Rakuten points, which you can spend one point as one yen.

Because the yearly fee is free for this card, you basically get free 5000 yen for just signing up. Sounds too good to be true right?

Second, you receive the card within a week.

Most credit cards take up to 2~3 weeks to arrive. However, Rakuten card prioritizes the speed of delivery, so it comes to at your door within a week.

Third, no paperwork, Hanko, nor ID

Most credit cards ask you to fill extraordinary amount of papers. You also need Hanko and photocopy of your ID. Rakuten card realized how painful they are, and simply got rid of all.

Rakuten card application can be done online unlike any other credit cards companies. That what makes great for credit card beginners.

so if you have no preference which credit card to own, I’d recommend Rakuten card.

How to sign up rakuten card

If you can read Japanese, there is a instruction how to sign up for Rakuten card. You don’t have to read my gibberish-ish Engrish there.

But you probably can not; because you are reading this, so I decided to translate article above to gibberish-isn English.

1.Sign up for Rakuten

Rakuten is the most famous Japanese EC website. On the other hand, Rakuten card is just a subsidiary, so you need an account to have Rakuten card.

You can create Rakuten account here.

It supports English, so it should be easy for you.

2.Access to Rakuten card official website

Now that you have an account, access to Rakuten card official website

Hit the gigantic red square on the bottom saying “楽天カードに入会” to proceed to the next page.

The number of the middle tells you how much points you get for signing up. Usually, it is 5000, but if you are lucky and there was a campaign, you get more than 5000.

Clicking the buttom lead you to this page.

Here you can choose which Rakuten card you want. From left to right, Rakuten card, Rakuten Gold card and Rakuten premium Card.

To be absolutely honest, Rakuten Gold card and premium card are as bad as Comcast and EA combined, so I don’t recommend it. Apply them when you want to waste yearly fees for no reason.

If you do not have money to waste, click on red square saying “楽天カードお申込みへ進む”.

3. Fill general information

In the next page, you can choose, brand then color of the card.

I’ll explain step by step from here. If you get lost, copy the heading Japanese word and search.

ブランド選択

you can choose credit card’s brand.

I would recommend VISA or Master. If you already own one of these, JCB is fine too. JCB is Japanese credit card brand; thus, their coverage is not as wide as VISA or Master. However, JCB tries to make up the gap by frequent giveaways, so if you love giveaways, it might be worth a try.

カード選択

Here, you can choose the color of the card. Pick silver or pink of your choice.

暗証番号

Enter your 4 digit PIN number twice. This can not be 0000 or 9999 or birthday.

Try to be creative and unpredictable as possible.

お名前

For 姓, enter your Last name. For 名, enter your First name. English letter will be converted to 2byte English automatically.

For せい, enter your Last name in hiragana. For めい, enter your Last name in hiragana.

This is a very tricky part. If you don’t know how to write your name in hiragana, you can try random English to hiragana translators like this to find out. Results are not very accurate, but close enough.

and finally, for 姓(Last name)and名(First name), fill your name in English.

性別

Choose your gender. 男 means man, 女 means woman. You just learned new Japanese kanjis! yay! No more struggle which bathroom to enter!

生年月日

Choose your date of birth. Ask your parents if you are not sure.

電話番号1

Fill your phone number. Rakuten card calls here when they could not withdraw payment.

電話番号2

Fill your second phone number if you have one. Skip if you do not or you do not want.

メールアドレス

Fill your e-mail address here, but actually, you do not have to do anything here as you already filled your e-mail address when you signed up to Rakuten account earlier. so, simply, skip.

楽天カード・楽天ポイントカードからのお知らせについて

You can choose whether you want to receive e-mails about new campaigns. 受け取る to receive, 受け取らない to refuse.

You also receive extra 100 Rakuten points for signing up, but Rakuten’s e-mails are extremely spammy, do I don’t really advise receiving it.

ご住所

Fill your postal code after 〒 symbol, then hit “郵便番号から住所表示”. It will show you rough address of yours, so fill the rest.

You have to fill the second one from the bottom in Kanji(hiragana is fine too), the bottom one in Hiragana.

If you can’t translate your address in hiragana, use this website again.

ご家族について

Tell Rakuten about your family how happy(or miserable) you are.

From top, Married with kids, Married without kids, Unmarried with kids, Single(living without family), Single(living with family).

世帯人数

Tell Rakuten how many people you live with.

居住状況

Tell Rakuten how you live here. From top of the list, A house(owned by you), A house(owned by married partner), A house(owned by someone else), Rented apartment, apartment, company housing, Dormitory, lodging, other.

賃貸マンション(rented apartment) should suit most of you.

居住年数

Tell Rakuten how long have you been living there. From the top of the list, Less than a year, 1 to 3 years, 3 to 5 years, 5 to 10 years, 10 to 15, more than 15 years.

1年未満(Less than a year) or 1年以上3年未満(1 to 3 years) should suit most of you.

住宅ローンもしくは家賃のお支払い

Tell Rakuten if you are paying rent, or repaying loan. 支払いあり for yes, 支払いなし for no.

お勤め先・学校について

Tell Rakuten about your occupation. From the top of the list, employed, student, pension, unemployed.

ご本人様税込年収

Tell Rakuten how much you earn in yen.

預貯金額

Tell Rakuten how much you have in your bank account. From the top the list, more than 3,000,000 yen, 2m~2.99m yen, 1m~1.99m yen, 500k~990k yen, 100k~499k yen, none, not gonna tell you.

It is advised, to be honest here as there are rumors that this section is one of the biggest factors if you can actually have a card.

請求書送付先

Choose where do you with to receive an invoice. 自宅 for your house, 勤務先 for your workplace.

カード入会後のご利用目的

Tell Rakuten your reason why you want a Rakuten card.

普段のお買い物等に利用(To use for shopping)

現金のお借り入に等に利用(To use to take out loan)

It’s a trap! Always check only 普段のお買い物等に利用. Credit card companies do not want a customer who uses a credit card to take out loans unless he is very reliable.

楽天カード BESTレコメンド(無料)

Choose if you want to receive spam from Rakuten… I mean sale and stuff.

受け取る for yes.

受け取らない for no.

自動リボサービス申し込み

Choose if you wish to pay using “revolving pay” service. If you check 申し込む(yes), your payment will stay the same each month no matter how much you spend.

Although it is very useful if you are broke, I don’t recommend using it at all. Repay less, more liabilities!

Make sure to check 申し込まない(no) unless you know what you are doing.

ショッピングリボお支払いコース

You can skip here because you just checked no above.

カードのキャッシング枠

Choose how much you wish to able to withdraw cash using a credit card.

The less, the better. Choose 0万円.

If you choose more than 0, it could take more time to issue a card as Rakuten has to investigate your credit card history more carefully.

他社からのお借入金額

Tell Rakuten if you have loans from other companies. あり for yes, なし for no.

家族カード

Choose if you want an extra family card. Family card work just the same as the original Rakuten card.

申し込む for yes, 申し込まない for no.

ETCカード

Choose if you want an ETC card. If you have an ETC card and ETC eligible car, you don’t have to wait in line at highways. Very useful if you own, or rent a car to travel around Japan using highways.

申し込む for yes, 申し込まない for no.

Edy機能付帯

Choose if you want Edy on your Rakuten card.

Edy is an electronic money run by Rakuten. If you choose yes, your Rakuten card comes with a Rakuten Edy.

You can pre-pay money into Edy to pay at cashier by simply touching the credit card itself on a reading device just like Apple pay. It was very useful before Apple pay or Android pay, but not anymore.

Choose 希望する for yes, 希望しない for no.

紹介者ID

You can fill referral ID here. You get NOTHING for filling out this form, though.

My ID is SN3C2F10, but even if you take extra time to fill those random numbers, you get absolutely nothing.

On the other hand, I get 2,000 yen worth Rakuten points. If you want me to have free 2,000 points, go ahead and fill it out. Otherwise, just skip.

引き落とし金融機関

Choose which bank you wish to repay credit card debt from. If none of them are listed, or you prefer paperwork, choose 郵送で引落口座設定手続き.

If you choose bank listed, you will be redirected to link your Rakuten account to your bank next page.

If you choose the other option, you will receive papers to link your Rakuten account to your bank account later.

4. Fill the rest

After completing all the forms, clicking on a yellow square to proceed to the next one.

In the next page, questions will vary depending on what you choose at your occupation.

Questions for Employed

If you choose employed, you’ll have to tell Rakuten where you work in what industry.

勤務先名

For 法人呼称, choose how your company’s affix or suffix is like.

For 勤務先名, fill the name of your company in Kanji and Hiragana

勤務先所在県名

Choose where your company is located at.

勤務先電話番号(外線)

Fill your company’s phone number. Rakuten card doesn’t call you at work, so not to worry.

勤続年数

Tell Rakuten how long have you been working there.

職種

Tell Rakuten what you do at work.

職業

Tell Rakuten your employment status.

業種

Tell Rakuten what kind of business you are in.

運転免許証等の確認

Tell Rakuten if you have driver’s lisence.

はいfor yes, いいえfor no.

5.ToS and stuff

This is the last part. There is not much to see. Just agree everything and go.

There are some checkboxes, though. The one at the top is asking if you want a separate password for logging into Rakuten card website where you can check how much spent this month.

The second one asking you if you do not want invoice in physical form. Uncheck to receive physical invoice for 52 yen a month. Third one is just confirmation if you do not want physical invoice.

And finally. Check 同意する to agree.

Then hit red square to finish application.

Sponsored link:

Now that you are finished, all you have to do is to wait for a week. Rakuten card should arrive at your door and you are able to use it as soon as it arrives.