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Which credit card company do you recommend? Have you had any trouble getting a credit card either in Japan or abroad?


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I've been gone from the US for 25 years, so when I returned again last year, I didn't exist anymore.

I have three Japanese Visa's and one regular and one gold Amex (Saison) for a combined credit limit of about 15 million yen. Permanent residence helps a lot.

But I can't get a loan to buy a hamburger in the US.

Mastercard in Japan sucks. They throw the gaijin applications in the trash and don't even bother to reply to tell you you've been denied.

Your mileage may vary.

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Before the GFC they were giving away credit cards with cornflakes, in the world outside Japan at least. I sometimes wish I'd taken them all up, maxed them all out, along with every other loan I could have got, and disappeared. Especially when I see how these banks have been leniently treated since. I might have enjoyed being a fugitive rather than be in the dreary, limbo-world existence since then. And I think there is still a lot of residual hatred of the banks and credit card companies out there. Though you at least get a better exchange rate with Mastercard than the rip-off merchants-extraordinaire the HSBC.

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I have OMC card necessary for the electronic highway fare system, one from Sports Authority and several from the US. Your bank in Japan and abroad usually eagerly will supply a card if you have a savings account, then grow if from there. In the past year I have gotten one new Chase card with 50,000 United miles as a bonus and one new AMEX Delta card with 30,000 miles as a bonus. Thanks to those cards I got two free international flights.

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I've been lucky. I never had any trouble getting MasterCard, Visa and American Express cards via the banks here in Japan. Self-control in using them is another matter. Whenever I get the statement at the end of the month, I always regret having used the cards.

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I have JCB and Visa. Contact your local bank or any company like electronic shops or shopping mall.

My JCB charges no membership fee and annual fee forever . Visa charges no registration fee but annual fee for very less.

No problem with applying at all since I have bank account linked to them.

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I have several cards and I like them all but the one I may recommend the most is the Rakuten Premium card that comes with a Priority Pass for free and allows you to get into airport lounges all over the world. A really good gold card with lots of benefits.

If you are having trouble getting a card, I recommend spacing your applications at least ten months apart as it seems to be the sweet spot for the last refused application to disappear and be non-relevant to your present application.

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Now no issue, the banks always seem to be offering CCs.

When I first got here though a different story, much more difficult, was rejected a few times but then at the advice of a friend, I got a rakuten card with a low limit just used that for a year and after was Ok.

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@quertyjapan - My situation very much resembles yours. I have two Japanese Visas and the same gold Amex (also Saison). I also am "nonexistent" in the USA. Oh well . . .

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My UC Visa and UC Mastercard got used for thousands of dollars of purchases at the same time. Kind of weird that they were both UC and not my other cards. They tried to blame me. I won.

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