Making a Credit or Debit Card in Japan
Less Than 6 Months
You do not have any options for making a debit card unless you have a spousal or work visa in Japan. For those on a working holiday or student visa, your best option would be to make a Shinsei bank Gaica prepaid visa card. This is the only option I know of for foreigners who have been in Japan for less than 6 months.
The requirements are that you have an address and phone number in Japan and your passport or residence card.
I was not able to receive a Shinsei card
Some foreigners have been mentioning that they were unable to get a card. The most likely reason you were denied was because you applied for a bank account instead of the prepaid card and did not meet the requirements for a Shinsei bank account.
You can make a Shinsei Gaica prepaid card without a Shinsei bank account. The only problem is transferring funds from your other bank accounts into the prepaid account.
Requirements for a Shinsei bank account
- Student visa holders - need to have resident's status
- Working holiday visa holders - need to have resident's status
- Work visa holders - can immediately make a bank account
To have a status as a resident, you would need to have lived in Japan for a minimum of 6 months and this is the same requirement that all major Japanese banks have. Shinsei used to allow foreigners to make it immediately, but this is no longer the case for some visa type holders.
More Than 6 Months
Major banks like MUFJ, SMBC, Mizuho offer accounts to foreigners after you have been in Japan for more than 6 months and have a residence card.
You will have to apply for a debit card at your local branch and the debit card is different from the cash card you received when you created an account.
Length : takes around 2 weeks to receive your debit card in the mail.
Seven Bank from 7-11 is another option.
The company YOLO Japan can help you get a credit card with SMBC, a top 2 bank in Japan.
Benefits : They provide English guides on how to do the application and the eligibility process can be done in less than 10 minutes.
Demerits : The card limit is only 50,000 yen while a normal credit card is 250,000 yen.
Length : It takes around 3 - 4 weeks to complete the whole process
The easiest places to make a credit card is through Rakuten Bank.
Rakuten is a major online company that provides various web services and internet banking is one of them.
Demerits : Rakuten has an English FAQ but the application process is in Japanese.
Challenges : My guess is that you have to make more than 230,000 yen monthly and have a full-time job to be eligible for an online credit card. Major banks have even higher criterion for issuing a credit card.