Using Starling in Japan 🇯🇵


#1

Hey all!

So I’m about to move from the UK to Japan for 10 months for a year abroad at the end of September. I’ve been researching banking and what the best options are for me to avoid having to pay stupid large fees while I’m there to withdraw money. Japan is a cash society and cards aren’t really used in shops, restaurants, etc so I really only need a card to withdraw money.

I came across an article about Starling and it seems to be a really good choice since there are apparently no fees for withdrawing money abroad. I just want to see if there was anyone here who has any advice or anyone who has used their Starling card in Japan who can give me feedback/advice on it.

Thank you! ^~^


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#2

Sorry I can’t help, but I’m very jealous, Japan is definitely one of the places I want to go! I hope you have a fantastic time!


#3

Hi! I’m currently living in Japan after using Starling in the U.K. You’re absolutely right…Japan is infuriating in that it’s a cash only society. I’ve not actually seen a card-friendly restaurant or shop yet! What’s worse is that most U.K. Cards aren’t accepted in a heap of the ATMs here either. Starlings is absolutely fine in most Convenience Store (Konbini) ATMs though. My last transaction I needed to pay for my rent in cash so I withdrew ¥25,000 and Starling converted this as £176.82. Just don’t forget to choose local currency! At the convenience stores like Lawson or 7/11 you can also pay for gas bills and things which sort of blew my mind when I arrived a little over a month ago! Happy travels and enjoy your Starling Card on your Japanese adventures! :jp::jp::jp:


#4

Hey Max! Nice to get your feedback from using your card in Japan. Thanks for sharing :blush:


#5

Hi all,

Just got back from Japan last week and for credit and debit cards ATMs are generally located in 7/11 stores and most restaurants / Shoos in Tokyo albeit take card payment do operate a cashless basis when going out of the hustle and bustle of Tokyo!

Took 40,000 yen before I went and ended up taking another 100,00 yen at atms for my 2 weeks over there!


#6

To cash in ATM’s in Japan my trick will be.
Stations ATM ( most of them ) and 7Eleven ( all? ) will save your day!

Used 3 different debit cards on those and never had an issue.


#7

Thanks @Katalan


#8

Hello,
I do not have a Starling card yet (getting one soon) but I am in Japan every week since 14 years ago.
Cards are more widely accepted these days but withrawing can be occasionally an issue.
Withdrawls are free in 7/11 konbini ATMs (24h) but you can only withdraw multiples of 10000 yen (GBP66). So if you only wanted say 3000 yen the ATM will not allow it.
These are the current free alternatives:

  • PRESTIA ATMs (24h when they work, they might be out of service occasionally…). These were formerly Citibank ATMs but there are sadly VERY FEW in Tokyo and probably not many outside Tokyo, if any a at all. There are PRESTIA ATMs in Haneda and Narita Airport. I believe in Kansai Airport too.
  • MIZUHO ATM for international cards on the first floor of Haneda airport, inside the actual Mizuho Branch. Normal Mizuho ATMs will not take foreign cards.

JP (Japan Post) charges a withdrawal fee these days. Also many JP ATMs close in the early evening. Common in Japan.
Sadly all HSBC branches closed years ago.

I hope this helps!

PS.: I have now a Starling debit card and works very well as expected in Japan


#9

We plan to go to Japan this April and prefer to bring as little cash there as possible. Is it easy to find those convenient store ATMs which accept Sterling cards in Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo, Kanazawa, Takaoka and Omachi? Is free to withdraw cash in all of those ATM?

Btw, is there a limit on how much you can withdraw cash in a day from Sterling card? Sorry I am new to Sterling. Monzo starts setting a limit, so I’m switching to Sterling. Thanks


#10

Hi @Quynh_lq

Welcome to Starling Bank (your auto-correct facility is changing it to Sterling :grinning:).

Take a look in-app. On the home screen, tap the home screen and the cog top-right.
Tap "Customer Service"
Tap "Get in touch"
Tap “FAQs”

You’ll find the answer to your question and probably many others.

Remember to tell us about your Starling experience when you return :+1::grinning:.


#11

Thank you


#12

I believe you can withraw GBP 300 a day. But both of you could open an account, then it will be 600.
For Tokyo please read my advice above your posting.
The only completely free ATMs widely available in the whole of Japan are those of 7 eleven convinience store but you will only be able to withdraw multiples of 10000 yen (roughly 66 quid)
But you can also pay with the card in many many places, specially in big cities.
I hope this helps. I am in Tokyo every week if you have any more questions :wink:


#13

Really helpful info, Ricard.

As a frequent flyer, how about a photo from Tokyo next trip?:+1:


#14

My pleasure Graham. Will consider it … :wink:


#15

I can confirm that you can use Starling in Japan at 7 Eleven ATMs with no charges (you can find them on almost every main road throughout Japan). I’ve used Starling in places that accept credit cards too, but be advised that they largely do not accept non-Japanese cards outside international hotels.

One extra piece of advice: the ATMs have a 20 minute period every day where they refuse to transact with certain cards. This is from about 23:50 until 00:10, probably to reconcile the day’s accounts. I came across this by mistake and later noticed that the ATMs actually state as much on them.


#16

Nice feedback, Phil.


#17

@PhilCooper Yeah I’ve seen this catch one or two people out occasionally. Visa/Plus cards are the only ones that work 24 hours a day at 7-11 ATMs.