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Best U.S. ATM & Credit cards for Japan 2009/8/30 09:15
San Francisco
I love in San Francisco, CA, USA and have done a fair amount of research regarding the best ATM credit card (best meaning it saves me the most money) to use in Japan and have still yet to find the best option for me.

For ATM cards, most seem to have ridiculous fee.

For credit cards, the best I've found is Capital One (high interest rate but no fees) but I've hard no luck getting accepted just yet.

So my questions are:

For an ATM card, what would be my best option for getting a bank account with a US (or Japanese bank in the US) so that I can take out money at ATMs in Japan without getting hit with any fees?

For a credit card:
Anyone have any suggestions for a card that doesn't have ridiculous fees for foreign purchases?

Thanks in advance!
by Chris Fraschetti (guest)  

don't use credit cards in Japan anymore 2009/8/31 10:58
Foreign credit cards are no longer smart to use in Japan. They will all charge you at least $3 per transaction plus 3% foreign currency charge.

My ATM card (Wells Fargo) charges $5 per withdrawal which means about 1% as I take out about $500 worth of yen at a time.

For some more options see: http://traveljapanblog.com/wordpress/2009/08/changing-d...
by acase (guest) rate this post as useful

Take cash 2009/9/7 12:39
Your biggest problem will be most of the Japanese ATMs won't like your card. The only place any of our Australian cards worked was 7/11. We took lots of Yen and only had to withdraw Y50,000 at the end. Don't rely on your card working in ATMS whatever you do.
by meandher (guest) rate this post as useful

Worried about money? 2009/9/7 13:30
If you're worried about accessing money, why not just go with good old Travelers Cheques? They're safe, you get a better rate with T/Cs than if you were to exchange cash, it's often free or very cheap to get at most banks, and you could somewhat control your own spending habits while you're there.

ATM cards are accepted at almost all post offices and 7-11s as long as they have the PLUS symbol on the back.

As mentioned, stay away from credit cards or double-check with your card provider what their policy is. In my opinion, unless you're going to be heading to Japan often, it's not worth the hassle opening a new credit card account.
by Ralph (guest) rate this post as useful

ATM and credit cards 2009/9/8 09:08
I have a Capital One credit card - it doesn't charge any foreign currency conversion fee. I also use a brokerage ATM/Debit card to get cash that has no fee.

Japan is the same as any other country as far as the charges for your cards so if you travel a lot you should look into accounts that don't charge foreign conversion fees.

US ATM/Debit cards can be used in Post Offices and 7-11 stores. Most Japanese banks don't take them.....
by Maranyc rate this post as useful

... 2009/9/8 09:16
Japan's banking network is different from those in other countries - you can use non-Japanese cards with Cirrus or Plus logo for cash withdrawal only at those ATMs at: post offices (located nationwide - you just need to watch out for the opening hours), 7-11 convenience stores, and Shinsei bank (and Citibank, I *think*).

The fees (either on credit card use or on ATM usage) are charged by your bank, so please be sure to check what kind of fees they have on international use. If you travel a lot outside the US, you might want to look into getting accounts with minimum fees for overseas use.
by AK rate this post as useful

Credit cards 2009/9/10 11:14
I don't know why everybody is saying stay away from credit cards. I used mine without a problem in Japan with no fees last month. Simply find a credit card that doesn't charge international fees - there are many out there. The real problem will be finding places that accept credit cards. Not even major chains like McDonalds or the convenience stores accept credit cards. I wish Japan embraces this more in the future, but I understand many people over there don't have them.
by pete335 rate this post as useful

ATM/Credit card 2009/9/19 18:05
I used State Farm bank (if you are state farm policy holder, it is very easy to get the account open.. just check with your agent).. State Farm charge 1% for foreign transaction fee but credit our account for 1% rebate of all tranactions. And State Farm also rebate all the ATM fee (both the banks that own the ATM in 7/11 or the post office and you own bank can charge you fee. In this case, State farm doesn't charge their fee and rebate whatever the Japan ATM owner charge). The rate they use is the wholesales rate. My son is in Japan studying now and use their ATM card so I get a first hand look on the exchange rate. The exchange rate in the Airport (and the japanese bank) are typically in the 3+% range worst than the wholesales exchange rate (on both buy and sell) quote on business news..
by xofruitcake rate this post as useful

NO CIRRUS CARDS 2010/1/31 17:40
As of December 14, 2009, Cirrus bank cards no longer work at 7-Eleven!
by Durabrite rate this post as useful

which banks DO work ... 2010/2/1 07:56
i don't fear using credit cards in japan but do like to kind of blend with local customs ... which banks DO work with cirrus cards now ... since seven bank doesn't?
by orangecat3 rate this post as useful

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