E-Money: Prepaid Cards, Debit Cards, and Mobile Payment Methods in Japan

Poste date: Tuesday, June 16, 2020

While Japan is still considered a cash-based country, the Japanese government has set a goal of increasing its cashless payment usage rate to 40% by the year 2025. According to the report from Nomura Research Institute, the cashless payment usage rate was 20% in 2016 in Japan (for example, UK was 69%, USA was 46% and France was 40%).

Despite the fact that people tend to use cash more than other methods of payments, there are many different types of electronic payment methods that have been introduced to Japan.

In this article, you can learn about Japanese Prepaid Cards (including IC Cards), Debit Cards, and Mobile Payment Methods.

Why Use Prepaid Cards in Japan

A common and popular casheless payment method used in Japan is Prepaid Cards, including IC cards such as Suica or Pasmo.

The advantages of Prepaid Cards are:

  • ・You can have a card without needing to fill out a credit card application screening
  • ・You can control how much money you spend by charging a fixed amount in advance
  • ・You can shop online with the card the same as you would a credit card

Prepaid Cards 

GAICA

GAICA Prepaid Card doesn’t charge a membership fee (it’s free to obtain the card) and doesn’t require any application screening like credit cards. You can use the card as the same as you would a VISA card. Gaica is available to individuals as young as 13 years-old making it practical for students studying abroad as well.

WAON

WAON is useful if like to you shop at AEON, Daiei, My Basket, or Mini Stop.

Rakuten Edy

Rakuten Edy is usable not only for online shopping but also at most convenience stores, Kinokuniya Bookstores, McDonald’s, Matsumoto Kiyoshi, Yodobashi Camera, and more.

nanaco

nanaco is usable in many shops, restaurants, and at some airports.

Transportation IC Cards (Suica, Pasmo, Icoca etc.)

Please visit our other article to read more about "Using Your PASMO or Suica as an IC Card for Other Purchases".


Airlines

If you frequently use one of the below Airlines, it’d be very useful to have the card.

JAL’s prepaid card is available to customers as young as 15 years old. The website is only available in Japanese.


ANA also offers prepaid cards and they offer special cards for children (from 13 years old). The website is only available in Japanese.

 

Mobile Carriers

Japanese mobile carriers also offer prepaid cards. If you have a contract with them, their deal could offer some additional benefits.

AU



Softbank


※Website is in Japanese



Docomo d-card


※Website is in Japanese


Debit Cards in Japan

SMBC PRESTIA



Mitsubishi UFJ Bank


※Website is in Japanese

Deposit Card for Foreign Residents

J TRUST Global Card is a new type of credit card and it is exclusively for foreign residents. You can apply for a card without opening a bank account but by paying deposit which is called guarantee deposit. The card can be used as a credit card.

J TRUST Card

Mobile Payment Methods in Japan

Below are popular mobile payment services in Japan.

  • The 2020 Japanese Calendar in English

    Track the days of the year with PLAZA HOMES's 2020 Japanese Calendar while gazing at some of the most beautiful scenes Japan has to offer. Our calendar has every Japanese national holiday written in English for easy reference. Use the link below each month to download your free PDF version of our calendar.
  • Opening a Bank Account in Japan

    Opening a bank account in Japan is easier than you might think. From gathering documents to choosing a bank, our guide will answer all your questions.
  • An expat's advice on food, culture, and cost of living in Japan

    This article contains insights from a UK expat and has useful information for people newly relocating to Japan such as food, cost of living, and more.
  • Public Utility Prices in Japan (Electricity, Gas, Water)

    The prices of electricity, gas, and water bills in Japan and how to pay for them. Here we explain in easy to understand terms, the rate structure, payment methods, and a rough average cost per month depending on household size. We hope that this information will help you to effectively budget your finances.
  • Japan Consumption Tax Hike 2019: How it Will Affect You

    Starting on October 1, 2019, Japan’s consumption tax will be raised to 10%. Here's a quick explanation why the country is increasing the tax and how it will affect your daily life in Japan.
  • Age Restrictions in Japan: Drinking, Smoking, Voting & More

    Age matters a lot in Japan. From the earliest school years until a person finds a job and even into retirement, a Japanese person’s age is connected strongly with their status in society. If you are moving to or visiting Japan, you will need to know its age restrictions for driving, marriage, drinking, and more.