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Credit cards

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Which ones can I use where? Which is the best credit card to use for travelling?
12 years ago, March 13th 2009 No: 1 Msg: #65827  
Yes, evidently Japan has a separate Visa system. After that happened it occurred to me that friends who visit from Japan always use AMEX when in the US--it's because their Visa cards won't work. Reply to this

12 years ago, March 13th 2009 No: 2 Msg: #65848  
B Posts: 11.5K
Yep, most foreign credit cards don't work here in Japan. I only use mine if I'm buying something online, or when I travel outside Japan.

Citibank is the best option for foreign credit cards/ATM cards, some post offices in the bigger cities will also accept ATM cards on the Cirrus/Maestro network. Reply to this

12 years ago, March 13th 2009 No: 3 Msg: #65876  

12 years ago, March 13th 2009 No: 4 Msg: #65887  
We had Visa debit cards while we were in Japan and they worked in all the Post Office ATM.

I think it is probably sensible to try and take a mixture of cards with you if you are able - Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus/Maestro would likely be the main ones.

We did read that there are some countries that only have Mastercard and some that only have Visa but after fairly extensive travel in Asia, Europe and Oceania with only Visa we never experience any major problems. That said there were some ATM in India which only accepted Mastercard. Reply to this

12 years ago, March 13th 2009 No: 5 Msg: #65893  
Mt daughter had a Visa debit card. She said that all the ATM's she found said "For Japanese issued Visa only". I don't know if she tried the PO. There was one at Narita airport that took international cards. Interestingly her card worked everywhere in China, even in rural areas. Reply to this

12 years ago, March 14th 2009 No: 6 Msg: #65974  
Watch out with credit cards issued by American banks. The US is boycotting a number of countries(at least I think they still are) so your credit card wont work in those countries. I had that problems in Cuba. It was expensive and complicated to have money wired to me from Europe to pay hotel bills etc. Reply to this

12 years ago, March 20th 2009 No: 7 Msg: #66605  
As far as I know, it is only the Post Office network of ATM which accept foreign issued cards as standard in Japan. Luckily they have a pretty extensive network so we didn't have any real problems. The only thing was that you had to be a bit organised as sometimes the machines were actually located within the post office which meant that they were only accessible during opening hours. Reply to this

12 years ago, March 21st 2009 No: 8 Msg: #66663  
B Posts: 11.5K
Vik is right, outside of the main cities the post offices are the only option.

Banks and post offices sometimes close as early as 3pm, if you find an ATM which is open but the branch is closed, there should be a 'help' phone you can use to summon a helpful person out from nowhere :-)
Reply to this

11 years ago, July 31st 2009 No: 9 Msg: #81596  
N Posts: 19
I have worked with a bank in Boston and was attached with Visa Credit Cards. I hope my advice will be useful to some travelers here.

1. When you use your C.C far from your home (even next door state), the security software will automatically refuse to process the amount until you call them back. They think your card is stolen. There is a lot of scams and CC theft in Europe and North America especially. They will process it once they verify who you are over the phone. CC companies have toll-free numbers printed on the cards and accept reverse calls expenses. The CC people can process the transactions on the spot as soon as you call in with the problem. Retailers who are not trained will tell the card holder that the card was refused but it is a matter of security to protect both parties and he/she is supposed to call CC company to verify the card holder.

2. If you do not spend more than 200 dollars or so and suddenly charge 3000, your card will not accept this charge until you verify that it is you who is using it. Most people think that they are denied access or there is a problem with the CC, but it is for the benefit of a card holder and reduces fraud.

3. If you travel overseas or far from your home and expect to spend a lot of money at once, it is useful to call back customer service and let them know. The card might still need verification, but chances are the expenses will be accepted.

4. If there is a sign of Visa or MC at the ATM, then your card will be accepted automatically there. 99% of the problem is due to the fact that CC software thinks the card is stolen, if the expenses come from New York when the card was issued in Texas or Sydney. A simple call will process this transaction on the spot. Again, calling ina dvance will help eliminate this problem most of the time.

5. The best place to use CC in Japan is Japan Post ATM or Citibank ATMs. However, it is very inconvenient because ATM machines mostly work until 5 or 7 PM. If you really need to use it bad, then the best bet is using ATM's at the airports. they accept 24 hours and the exchange places also never close.

6. Japanese-issued CC are the worst. They hardly have any security software so if someone steals it, they can use it right away since it most retailers don't need to see your ID or make you sign for the slip in front of them as they check your signature. Most of the time, you don't need to sign it, the machine processes it automatically.

7. The worst places to use CC are at the gas stations and telephone booths. Many scammers use cameras nearby and also bribe poorly-paid cashiers to get the credit card info and make a fake CC. To avoid it, try to use cash as much as possible in these places. Any airport will have a bookstore where you can buy a telephone card to call overseas. Telephone companies in America also issues telephone cards and you can use it abroad. It works like a debit card, you can use toll-free operators in many countries and they connect your call anywhere. You get a regular telephone bill at home. I used this service before, but its more expensive than buying local pre-paid telephone cards at the airports or convenient stores.

8. Remember, if you didn't use your card, you are not liable for the expenses. However, after 30 days, you will be liable if you do not call back and refute the bill. Therefore, if you travel, check your credit cards online and make sure you have legitimate bills only showing and keep your statements secured.

9. If US government or UN imposes economic sanctions to countries such as Cuba, Iran,Burma or North Korea , chances are your card will not be acceptable there. I wouldn't travel to any country under UN embargo anyways. Reply to this

11 years ago, July 31st 2009 No: 10 Msg: #81597  
N Posts: 19
I forgot to add one more thing. The magnetic strip of your card or the new cards with built-in security chips can be easily damaged in your wallet. This is also one reason why your CC is not accepted. New cards can be sent overnight anywhere you are. Just make sure you have a contact to tell the CC people where you want it to be sent. This card is temporary one and you will need to apply for a new one. You will not be able to use it after few weeks. Reply to this

11 years ago, July 31st 2009 No: 11 Msg: #81602  
B Posts: 847
Many thanks, Max, for this info. I have always used VISA card in all my travels and never had a problem . But my niece had hers stolen, which she promptly reported in a couple of hours. For the last 2 years, she has been hounded by credit card bills she wasn't responsible for. Of course, she didn't want to pay but the credit card company insists on making her liable. Perhaps they were trying to hassle her to squeeze some payment. She cancelled her card, but still get collection letters from the company lawyers! I know, it's such a hassle. And my niece is worried it might affect her credit rating. Reply to this

11 years ago, August 2nd 2009 No: 12 Msg: #81811  
N Posts: 19
Hi Liliram. I am glad that you found my info useful. If your niece reported it stolen within 30 days she should not be liable for any expenses charged to it. Also, security department of her CC would call her too once the security software finds weird expenses coming out of her account which is not her normal spending pattern. The card is monitored 24/7. Investigating fraud is complicated, but your niece has all the rights to refute the claims if she notified her CC company within 30 days. Often, CC holders don't update their addresses or telephone numbers, so even if VISA finds a possible fraud situation, they can't notify the holder in time and 30 days lapse. All they can do is block the card until she calls back but all expenses before that become CC holder's liability after 30 days. Unfortunately canceling cards does not let your niece off the hook. Her credit rating will definately be affected as this situation is not fixed between them. It takes 7 years for bad debts to be deleted from her records in the credit agency bureaus. She should call her CC company and ask to speak to a senior manager in the fraud dept. If they sent it to a collecting agencies, then it's probably too late. I know it sounds unfair but if she is young and will need to apply for mortgages, and the illegal expenses will not break her bank, it might make sense to make arrangements to pay it off . In the long run, it is for her own benefit. We are a nation of debters, without a clean credit record, our lives quickly becomes difficult. Reply to this

11 years ago, August 2nd 2009 No: 13 Msg: #81848  
B Posts: 847
My niece reported it stolen in under 2 hours since her card was stolen. That is why she insisted that she should not be made liable. She has not paid. But she continues to receive demand letters. I don't know if the CC sent her case to a collecting agency already. I should ask her. Hope not. 😞 Reply to this

11 years ago, August 3rd 2009 No: 14 Msg: #81969  
N Posts: 19
It is very strange for your niece to be forced to pay for it. Chances are they have already sent her file to the collecting agencies and most probably her credit history will reflect that. I know for certain that if there is no possible fraud case on the CC holder, the investigation dept authorizes us to delete the expenses in her situation after few weeks and the CC holder is not liable for them. Ask her what kind of expenses she is disputing, where they are coming from. It might give me a better idea how to go about to help her. Reply to this

11 years ago, August 4th 2009 No: 15 Msg: #81997  
B Posts: 847
Her stolen card was used to buy 2 mobile phones in 2 hours. Thanks, max. Reply to this

11 years ago, August 5th 2009 No: 16 Msg: #82143  
N Posts: 19
1. Ask her if she had once signed up for services with the mobile phone company in which the transactions came from. If she ever bought a cellphone from them, then she must have given them access to her card information to them including the last 3 numbers found at the back of the card. If that is the case, then the CC company won't delete the illegal transactions because it is considered an issue between your niece and the mobile phone company. If the company cheated her, she can take them to court. The court will then decide on the matter. Only then can the CC company be involved. If the transactions are not hers, she can easily prove with the forged signature from the receipts. She should have the record of these receipts sent by the CC company to her. The court will then force the CC company to delete the expenses and credit bureaus will do the same once presented with court documents. It is nearly impossible to buy a mobile phone in America with a credit card without a thorough ID check. She can easily prove her case. Reply to this

11 years ago, August 5th 2009 No: 17 Msg: #82173  
B Posts: 847
Will advise her. Thanks mucho. Reply to this

11 years ago, August 7th 2009 No: 18 Msg: #82460  
N Posts: 5
I have always used VISA in all my travels all around the world! Reply to this

10 years ago, October 23rd 2010 No: 19 Msg: #121574  
For traveling in Asia i want to suggest using MacterCard credit card cause when i was in Asia i had 2 cards but only MasterCard works there
Reply to this

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