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Question Cash or Card?

Discussion in 'Japan' started by streetdaddy, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. streetdaddy

    streetdaddy Early Days

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    Would love to hear any advice from anyone from seasonnaires or those who've done long-ish trips ... I'm around Niseko and Nozawaonsen for a few months, and after reading many wildly contradictory and random opinions around the interwebs, I'm not sure if I should be carrying around a large wad of Yen, using a low-forex-rate credit card at ATMs (if there are any), or a mixture of both... Its seems as though I'll get much more useful insights from folks on here! Thanks in advance...
     
  2. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Carrying a lot of cash is pretty normal in Japan. You can usually only get a reliable supply of cash from ATMs in Post Offices (usually 9am-5pm) and 7-11 (not other convenience stores, just 7-11)
    At Nozawa Onsen, there is a post office, but no 7-11 (closest are two at Iiyama, about 15km away)

    Not sure about ATMs at Niseko these days.

    If you change cash from AUD to Yen, make sure you DON'T do it in Japan, as the rate will be worse.
    e.g. Current rate is around 89, you will get around 85-87 yen per AUD in Australia, but around 78-80 yen/AUD in Japan.
     
  3. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    Citibank Plus account with a Visa debit card. No Citibank foreign transaction fees and an exchange rate very close to the market rate.

    https://www.citibank.com.au/aus/banking/everyday_banking/citibank_plus.htm

    Withdraw cash at the airport and then any 7-Eleven ATM or Post Office ATM. Use your visa card where you can but for restaurants/shops you'll mostly need cash. Also many lodges will only take cash so work out what you'll need and stock up on yen when you visit an ATM.
     
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  4. streetdaddy

    streetdaddy Early Days

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    Thanks for the advice so far, very helpful :) Especially since I already have a Citibank Plus card!
     
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  5. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    On a little side note, those 7-Bank ATMs can also be found outside of 7-Eleven stores. For example Prince Naeba resort has a 7-Bank ATM in building 4 even though there is no 7-Eleven in the complex.

    Here's a 7-bank ATM locator. http://pkg.navitime.co.jp/sevenbank/?lang=en
     
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  6. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    There's also an increasing number of JP Bank ATMs (which is Japan Post)
    Look like this:
    [​IMG]
     
  7. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Cash
     
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  8. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    Products change from year to year but this appears to be about the best arrangement and pretty much applies to all main ski destinations with obvious local application variables.

    Use online banking to balance the various transactions and you can avoid most fees and interest charges except some ATM fees. Carry a back up card such as a 28 degrees card and keep the limit low to avoid fraud related clean outs.
     
  9. Musgrove

    Musgrove Addicted

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    Cash is king.
     
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  10. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    Access to cash is king ....
     
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  11. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Citibank card for withdrawing cash from atm and 28 degrees card for credit purchases where you can.
     
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  12. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    There are more options now than there used to be years ago, especially in the main tourist areas, but I still always have a fair amount in cash.
    I still do a rough budget for trip, subtract what I have pre-paid and what I have confirmed can be paid by credit card and take the rest in cash.
     
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  13. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Any Visa debit card will always work in 7-11, 7-Bank, Post Office or JP Bank ATMs.
    The same applies to Mastercard, except when 7-Bank has an agreement dispute with Mastercard, but will work at Post Office or JP Bank ATMs.
    However, they will invariably NOT work in typical Japanese ATMs. Period.

    Some will work in Citbank ATMs (if you can find them, as there are not many.)
     
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  14. sara777

    sara777 A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    That is really useful link BTS :thumbs:
     
  15. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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  16. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    One thing to be aware of wrt the ATMs inside the post office is that the hours are limited. So business hours and Saturday mornings and they are closed at night, on Saturday afternoons, Sundays and public holidays.

    And relatively recently they have reduced the amount you can withdraw each time to 100,000 yen. First time I used on the limit was 1 million yen. I was a bit shocked!
     
  17. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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  18. sara777

    sara777 A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    How is it around Myoko? Some in 7/11 when I am looking at that link BTS provided..
     
  19. JoeKing

    JoeKing Old n' Thrusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just take cash.
     
  20. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    I only take 2000 yen or so to japan now.
    I just withdraw at Narita ....then 7/11 as I need it.
    Nothing like it used to be.
     
  21. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    There are 7/11s about every 5km down route 18. All the ones I have been in have ATMs. You go past one on the way up from the station.
    There is one in the post office at Akakura Onsen. Probably one in the post office at Myoko Kogen as well and the other post offices around. Not my local so have not been in them.

    I got cash from a 7 holdings ATM at T3 this time. There was also an Aeon ATM but my card will not work in that.

    It is actually harder and way more expensive to get cash before you go.
     
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  22. sara777

    sara777 A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I always take a combination. My Qantas cash card is Mastercard, so presumably useless, but I normally used my Visa to withdraw some cash at Narita airport and will go from there.
     
  23. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you put cash on your Qantas card that is then converted to yen you will get a terrible exchange rate. The citibank Plus account with a Visa Debit card uses the Visa exchange rate at the time and charges no fees. You get something very close to the official exchange rate.

    Some ATMs will let you use mastercard. I just know that the 7/11 and post office ones let you use Visa debit cards.
     
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  24. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    So I just thought I would do a quick comparison on the Qantas card compared with the citibank plus card.
    Current exchange rates:
    Qantas Card: https://www.qantascash.com/why-qantas-cash/daily-rates/
    1 AUD = 80.6320 JPY
    1 JPY = 0.0124 AUD
    and there is a fee of either Au$1.95 or 160 yen.

    Citibank Plus account Visa Debit card: https://www.visaeurope.com/making-payments/exchange-rates
    1 JAPANESE YEN = 0.0113520000- Or - AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR
    1 AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR = 88.0902043693 JAPANESE YEN

    So roughly about a 10% difference.
     
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  25. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Niseko ATM in Shiki building is easy, reliable, not known it to run out of cash.

    I take cash, keep cash, but use CC where possible.

    When young one was a seasonaire in multinational backpackers accom I supplied him with a travel safe for spare CC, cash and passport. He would attach it to underside of bed and there were never any worries about losing wads of cash.

    Other than that I've never had a concern carrying large sums in Japan.
     
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  26. sara777

    sara777 A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes, won't be using Qantas card. I know about the Citibank Plus advantage, but is it worth it opening yet another account?
     
  27. almontyrat

    almontyrat One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I Know the Qantas card currently has a pretty poor exchange rate compared to Citibank but I am SOOOO glad I loaded it up before the dollar fell. I loaded it at 1 AUD = 93 JPY so definitely a bit better than the current Citibank rate. I take a wad of cash, loaded Qantas card and the Citibank card for extra cash if the wad gets thin. I thinks it called hedging ones bets.....
     
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  28. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    Years ago ATM only accepted japanese card, since I have always used cash.:(

    Can you nowadays use foreign lets say VISA or MasterCard in japanese ATM's?
     
  29. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    When I go over I usually take out enough cash first up that I think will cover all my expenses that probably cant be paid for by card. Most of the time I find more and more places accepting card and I end up with cash left over, which isnt that much of an issue. It's always good to have 2 forms of payment on you at all times just in case.
     
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  30. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Refer Sandy's post above. Generally I've found there is a good acceptance rate these days of using foreign cards in 7-11, 7-Bank, Post Office or JP Bank ATMs. Basically, I use the ATM's at the international airport when I arrive to withdraw a large amount for the trip, but can always drop into a 7-11 store (which are basically scattered everywhere along most state routes or in major cities) if I'm hovering too low mid-trip. I also try and put everything on my 28 degrees credit card where I can - lift tickets, accom, etc.
     
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  31. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    X 2
     
  32. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Selected ATMs will accept foreign VISA and Mastercards.

    The thing with the Citibank Plus account and the 28 degrees CC used as a debit card, is that the banks give a great exchange rate and there are no extra charges.

    Probably the next best is the ING Orange card who only charge $2.50 per transaction. NAB gold card was god till the upped the fees a few years ago.
     
  33. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Probably need to clarify - 28 degrees should only be used as credit card...and not for withdrawing cash from ATM's, otherwise it becomes a cash advance and attracts very steep interest rates.

    I also use the ING direct card as my ATM withdrawal card and can vouch for it. Flat $2.50 rate and to my knowledge, a comparable exchange rate to the Citibank.
     
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  34. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I think the people who use the 28 degrees card put it into credit and then use it as a debit card.

    And yep the the orange ING direct card is the same rate as the others. The rate is set by visa not the individual bank.
     
  35. azzski

    azzski Should know better Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just wondering, what exactly is an "etc" ATM on this map? i.e. at Furano resort, there is only an "etc" ATM on that map - should I take that to mean it's a non-Seven Bank atm and as such can't be relied upon with regular Australian accounts?
     
  36. azzski

    azzski Should know better Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    This was mitigated against back at the start of 2014. Any cash withdrawal is charged $4 or 3% of the amount, whichever is greater.
    http://www.28degreescard.com.au/faqs/cash-advance-fee.html
     
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  37. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    The "etc" refers to its location, so it's not located in a 7-Eleven, shopping mall or airport. It will still be a 7-Bank ATM that accepts foreign cards. The one I used at Prince Naeba resort this year is marked as an "etc" ATM and I had no problems using it. The Furano one is also at a Prince resort.
     
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  38. azzski

    azzski Should know better Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sweet thanks very much - same goes for Hoshino at Tomamu. Just makes life less complicated :)
     
  39. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Don't have one myself and was just passing on information gathered from others on here. It is good to have current information. I was considering getting one but may not bother now. Though being able to use it as a credit card and have no international transaction fee may be beneficial.
     
  40. azzski

    azzski Should know better Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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  41. conradskis

    conradskis One of Us

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    Yes, I have a 28 Degrees Card that I use exclusively for travel, and purchases online in foreign currencies.

    Advantages:
    1) Better exchange rate than my other credit card and fewer fees
    2) If subject to fraud from overseas use, I can easily cancel it without affecting my various linked direct debits (has happened once).

    For Japanese ATMs, there are some others aside from JP Bank and 7 Bank that will work, though they are few and far between. Usually they need to accept cards from the Cirrus network. Sometimes you can find ATMs badged as "International ATMs".

    Note that in my experience 7 Bank only allows you to do cash withdrawals in multiples of Y10,000. JP Bank allows smaller withdrawals so is much more convenient - particularly when you just need a small amount at the end of a trip.

    Re carrying around cash - my personal preference is to minimise trips to the bank and so I tend to take a fair amount of cash; also, Japan is a relatively safe country so I feel better about having large amounts of cash on me or locked up in my room than I would in (say) Europe or SE Asia. However what is best for each person tends to depend on their personal prefs, what type of accom they have, etc.
     
    #41 conradskis, Nov 24, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2015
  42. sara777

    sara777 A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ok, I applied for Citibank Plus debit card.
     
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  43. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    One thing to be aware of for repeated and long term use of the account, they de-activate the account if there is no activity for 6 months. If you have funds in there it is just a phone call to re-activate. If there are no funds they close it. Only takes moving a dollar in and out to keep it active. Just found out my mogul skier's account has been closed and he needs to go through the whole process to get another one. He leaves for Nth America on Saturday - :headbang: Sigh teenage boys!
     
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  44. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    Happened to me. Now I use the card to do internet purchases on Ebay to keep it active.
    https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/citibank-have-made-me-nervous.67868/#post-2433054
     
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  45. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah I do the same, it gives a much better rate than paypal and keeps the account open. 28deg/GE will also offer up deals for using the card, like $10-$20 credit into your account etc which is a nice bonus for something you essentially are using for a different purpose than just a credit card. When you add in the awesome exchange rate when purchasing in foreign currency + the odd bonus or 2, it makes sense to keep it activated. The cash advance thing really does suck though.
     
  46. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Should have got the ING acct!
     
  47. sara777

    sara777 A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    But this is just debit card, no other acc. I don't need to keep any money on it except for travel purposes, which is exactly what I will do. With the ING I would have to deposit my pay into it to keep the benefits.
     
  48. silva

    silva One of Us

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    Does anyone know if the ticket offices at Hakuba take international visa credit cards?
     
  49. smackies

    smackies A Local

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  50. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not all....
    Tsugaike takes cash only.