It’s near impossible for foreigners in Japan to get a local credit card. This can make banking complicated, juggling overseas accounts, making international money transfers and dealing with exchange rates.
But there’s now a solution to this problem. Resona bank offers a Visa debit card account. You can place your own money in the account and use the card just like any Visa card to go shopping or make Internet purchases. Each purchase also earns JAL miles, so paying your bills can help you earn a free flight home with any JAL affiliate.
The one quirk is that the card functions as both a debit card and an ATM card, and the PIN numbers can be different. To avoid confusion, make sure you enter the same number for both functions.
All you need to open the account is your residence card. They will ask you for a hanko, but you can open the account with just a signature. They charge ¥1000 a year and you can open the account with a zero balance. The card will be mailed to you within two weeks. Place money in the account, go shopping, earn JAL points. Thank you Resona for bring Japan into the modern banking age.
[box]More info: www.resona-gr.co.jp
Update: Thanks to one reader for pointing out that you must have lived in Japan for at least 6 months to qualify[/box]