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No more excessive cash! Cashless payment services in Japan that can be used with credit cards that were issued outside of Japan

When travelling abroad, have you ever returned with too much foreign currency or has unfamiliar money left you confused with payments?Cashless payment services resolve these issues. This article covers details on cashless payment solutions in Japan and services that are compatible with credit cards that were issued outside of Japan.

Cashless conditions in Japan

In Japan the standardization of cashless payment has been slow despite it being a developed country. Regarding cashless payment methods, some even say Japan is going backwards.
However, with the advent of sophisticated and convenient devices and services, cashless payment has been growing rapidly in recent years.

In addition to credit cards, Japan has various cashless payment services such as;

*Transportation IC Card - A contactless prepaid IC card used to pay for trains, the metro, and bus travel. This card is extremely versatile and can even be used for shopping at convenience stores, supermarkets and many other stores.

*Electronic money - A contactless prepaid IC card similar to the transportation IC card. You can pay by touching the dedicated devices.

*QR code payment - This service generates or reads a QR code for payment using smart phones. It makes payments with credit cards that have already been registered.

In addition, there are a wide variety of cashless payment methods in Japan, including post-pay electronic money issued by credit card companies. There are many instances that make it difficult to use such as prepaid electronic money and QR code payment services that can use credit cards issued overseas.

Now I will introduce a cashless payment service that can be used comfortably even for short stays in Japan. You won't be lost when visiting for the first time.

Services that can be used with credit cards issued outside of Japan

One of the obstacles for using cashless payment in Japan is the use of overseas issued credit cards.
Among the cashless payment services currently used in Japan, there are many services that can only be used with credit cards issued within Japan.

This section introduces some of the cashless payment methods that can be used with credit cards issued overseas.

Credit card payment

It is easiest to pay by credit card.
There used to be very few stores in Japan that accepted credit cards. Even until recently, there were only a few stores that accept contactless payments using IC cards.

Recently, the number of shops that accept contactless payment has been gradually increasing.
Most convenience stores and major supermarkets accept IC card payment.
In any case a signature is required, you may not be able to pay by credit card for small payments, but this is rare for contactless type IC cards.

If your card supports contactless payment, transactions in Japan will go much more smoothly.

Rakuten Pay

Recently, QR code settlement is one of the most popular payment methods.
You can make a payment by displaying a QR code on your smartphone and having the store read it, or you can make a payment by reading the QR code displayed on the terminal screen at the store.
The actual payment will be made through a pre-registered credit card.

QR code settlement is very popular and convenient, but unfortunately, there are many services that limit the usable credit cards that can be registered as a payment method.
Rakuten Pay can be used with credit cards issued overseas.

Rakuten is a Japanese company that runs a major online shopping site.
You can register your credit card information on the shopping site in advance, and that credit card is charged when you read a QR code.
As this is a post-pay transaction, there is no need to charge it in advance. The exact amount used is charged to the credit card.

To use the service, you need to download an application for QR code payment and then make the payment.
Rakuten Pay is one of the most popular QR code payment services, and has a large number of stores.

*The image is for representative purposes only.

Suica (Apple Pay/Google Pay integration)

Suica is a transportation IC card issued by JR East Japan, Japan's largest railway company.
In Japan, transportation IC cards can also be used for shopping and other services, not just for transportation.
The standardization rate is very high, and it is one of the most used services as prepaid electronic money.

As with other electronic money cards described here, such transportation IC cards must be recharged with a credit card that was issued domestically or in cash.
But if you use a smartphone, the situation is different.

Suica can be used by registering to Apple Pay on iPhone or Google Pay on Android, and in such cases, Suica can be recharged from other credit cards registered on the app.
With this combination, it is possible to charge your Suica card from credit cards that were issued outside of Japan.

Suica (Apple Pay/Google Pay integration)

A service that can be recharged with cash

The number of services that accept credit cards issued outside of Japan is limited, but by charging with cash, a wide range of electronic money services can be used.

For example, Rakuten Edy, WAON and nanaco are used in Japan.
The transportation IC cards including Suica mentioned above is one of them.
These electronic money services allow customers to purchase a special card, charged with cash in advance, and pay by touching the card at the payment terminal in many stores.

It is a convenient service for those who want to make payments smartly. This means you don't have to carry small change and don’t have to get used to making payments in Japan.
However, a fee is required for issuing a card.

Say goodbye to the jingling pockets!

As cashless payment spreads through Japan, unique payment services have come about.
Currently, there are a few limited services available for short stay travelers, but there are plenty of options available.
If you can make good use of these services, you can make your stay in Japan more comfortable with these cashless options.

You can avoid having too many coins in your pockets when you return to the airport. I hope this article will help make your stay in Japan more comfortable and cashless.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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