HOW TO: Apply for a Credit Card in Japan

Editor's note: This post is the second part in our short credit card series. The first post explained how to find a credit card, with a brief poll for those who've tried to get cards or have been successful. You can, of course, apply for credit cards in person (such as at stores, banks, etc.), but you'll usually need to be able to read and write in kanji. Today David is going to walk through you how to apply for a credit card online. 

Of course, the application may vary a bit by card, but the information asked for is generally the same.  
- Ashley

Editor's note Nov 8, 2012: The credit card ranking site we previously linked to now appears to be down and not working. Unfortunately we will have to do screenshots over for a new site, so if you do apply via a site, use the screenshots below as a basic guide for the Japanese and translations. You can search for クレジトカードランキング for sites or try the credit card section on


So you've found a credit card that you would like to apply for and you've made sure that you meet the qualifications. Now let's look at how you can actually apply for a card (online). 

Looking at the same site and card (Life card) we saw in last week's post, let's click the red bottom that says お申し込みはこちら (shown in the image below).
credit card, Japan, Japanese

The page that appears here isn't important. It just says that to get the website special for the credit card, you must click the link below, which we will do.

credit card, Japan, Japanese, campaign

And here we have another page that just talks about the limited special deal you get if you apply within the time frame. Click the red button to continue.

credit card, Japan, Japanese, translation

Now to some information about the card. You get 1.5 times the points in your first year and you will be even happier to see that you get five times the points during your birthday month (or at least the website says you should be happier). Click on the orange button to continue.

credit card, Japan, Japanese
And finally we start the actual application process. First, of course, you are given the terms and conditions, which there are a lot of. You can scroll through and read them, print them out or just click the bottom right button (同意する), which means you agree to the terms and conditions.

credit card, Japanese, Japan

And now, we are at the application and its time to start filling in all this information. First, choose the type of card you want and then start typing away. CAUTION: look at the blue text square to see what kind of format you are supposed to use to input the text, either full-width (全角) or half-width (半角) . If you don't use the right format, the boxes will stay pink. If you enter the information in the right format, they will turn white.

Editor's note: Full-width Japanese is usually the normal setting, although full-width romaji looks like this: ASHLEY

And half-width Japanese looks like this: アシュリー

credit card, Japan, Japanese, how to apply

As you go down, you will get to your address. Enter your postal code and press the gray button next to the postal code boxes. Doing this should automatically enter your address up through the Chome in both the kanji and furigana box (フリガナ), so you just have to enter the rest of your address.

Click the scroll down box for type of residence and choose what kind of housing you live in. Then just click whether you pay rent or not (家賃のお支払い) and if you are currently paying back a home loan (自宅ローンのお支払い).

Enter how long you have lived there (years and months) and then enter information about your family (ご家族). For the scroll down option, you choose the number of people who are dependent on your income (they don't have to be living with you).

If you have a Japanese driver's license(運転免許), click yes(有り) and enter the number and finally, if you have other credits cards with balances or loans, enter the number of them and the amount that you owe. (他社からの借入) The click the right blue button to continue.

credit card, Japan, Japanese, how to apply

Now it's time to enter your employment information. 

You can choose the amount available for cash advances. If you choose a higher number, you will be asked to provide documentation about how much you make. If you don't want the service, just choose the lowest amount possible since this site doesn't offer an option for 0. Then choose a 4-digit pin number and how you want to repay any overseas transactions you might make. Finally, enter your password for your online registration and banking service.

credit card, Japan, Japanese, how to apply

These are optional services that you can apply for. Some of these options require filling out separate forms later. The first option is an option for downloading an app to your cell phone to check your account. You can apply for your ETC card here and if you want to apply for a separate card for a family member you can do that here. When finished, click the bottom right button.

Now it's time to look over all that information you entered to make sure everything is entered correctly. If everything is correct, press the bottom right button. WARNING: If you press back, you will go back and lose all the information you have entered. Not that I know from personal experience or anything.

It's a lot of information, so you don't want to lose it all...

You have now applied and there are just a couple of steps left to go.

Next you need to connect your bank account to the credit card since your payments will be directly deducted from there. There is also information about what documentation you will need to provide. If you have an account with the banks in first green box you can do that online, so you just need to press the green button on the bottom left. If you have an account with any other bank, then you need to press the blue button at the bottom right.

credit card, application, Japan, Japanese

If you pressed the bottom right button, then this page (below) comes up. This shows you the process of what happens next.

First you need to download the pdf by clicking the orange button. You will need to photocopy your Resident Card (formerly Alien Registration Card) or some other piece of approved identification and then fill out the bank form with your hanko and mail it in using the envelope you printed out. After the company receives the information, they will make a decision of whether they approve you or not. If you are approved then a card should arrive in a minimum of seven business days.

credit card, Japan, application, Japanese

And that's how you apply for a credit card. We applied for a total of five credits cards including this Life card. We were rejected for the Life card but were accepted for the Rakuten card and another card. There are a lot of different credit card companies out there, so even if you get rejected once or twice, keep trying and hopefully you'll be able to get approved for one. Ashley will look at this more in another post as a result of the poll from the previous post, so if you have a couple minutes, please let us know about your experience getting a credit card in Japan via the poll.

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