©Photo by iStock: JLco - Julia Amaral

How to Switch to Cashless Shopping in Japan

Ditch The Cash And Welcome Convenience

In a country renowned for its rich history, cutting-edge technology and meticulous attention to detail, Japan presents a unique juxtaposition in its enduring preference for cash transactions.

Despite being a global leader in technological innovation, Japan’s economy has remained predominantly cash-based, a trait that surprises many visitors and expats. When shopping in Tokyo, it’s easy to forget how unusual it is for new arrivals to see you paying cash for everything. Remember when you could just flash the plastic back home? However, times are changing. With the ease of converting cash into a balance on a real Japanese Mastercard, could it be time to lighten your purse and embrace cashless shopping in Japan?

The Cash Conundrum

It's Time To Ditch Cash for Shopping in Japan© Photo by iStock: Panuwat Dangsungnoen

For decades, carrying cash in Japan was not just a preference but a necessity. From bustling izakayas in Tokyo’s narrow alleys to high-end stores on the high street, cash has been the lifeline of commerce, deeply ingrained in the country’s buying culture. This reliance on physical currency, while providing the tactile satisfaction of handling yen notes and coins, often poses challenges for new residents and travelers alike. High dependence on cash means regular ATM visits, which come with its own set of limitations, including operating hours and international card compatibility.

Combined with the fact that getting a payment card from a traditional Japanese bank is notoriously difficult for foreigners, many of us expats have had to simply make peace with our new cash-based world. We’ve all seen fellow foreigners leafing through stacks of yen in line at stores around Tokyo, right?

A Payment Card Designed for Expats

How to Switch to Cashless Shopping in Japan© Photo by iStock: Jacob Wackerhausen

Enter MobalPay, a prepaid Mastercard designed to seamlessly integrate into the daily lives of Japan’s international community. With MobalPay, we expats can enjoy the convenience of a payment card accepted both online and in stores across Japan, making it an invaluable tool for shopping, dining and entertainment without needing to carry cash.

How MobalPay Works

7 Eleven Cash Shopping in Japan© Photo by iStock: winhorse

MobalPay simplifies the transition to a cashless lifestyle. The card can be easily topped up using cash at convenience stores throughout Japan, which are ubiquitous and accessible at almost every corner, ensuring that even those who start with cash can transition smoothly to digital payments. This feature is particularly appealing because it caters to the needs of everyone, from long-term residents with a deep-rooted habit of using cash to newcomers eager to adopt a more convenient payment method from day one.

The card can be easily topped up using cash at convenience stores throughout Japan…

MobalPay is open to anyone with a valid residence card, making it an inclusive option for the diverse international community in Japan. Whether you’re a student, a professional or a family member, MobalPay offers a straightforward solution to manage your daily transactions without the hassle of dealing with cash.

Why Go Cashless?

 Woman's hand with credit card© Photo by iStock: maruco

The benefits of switching to MobalPay extend beyond mere convenience. 

  • It offers a safer way to carry money, reducing the risk of loss or theft associated with cash.
  • Provides a more straightforward way to track spending, with digital records of transactions that can help users manage their budgets more effectively.
  • MobalPay even translates the names of the stores you’ve purchased into English, so it’s super simple to keep on top of where your money’s going.

In the online shopping realm, MobalPay is a secure and straightforward payment method. It’s as simple as entering your card details, just like you would with a credit or debit card. That means that expats without a traditional Japanese bank card can suddenly start shopping online!

While Japan’s cash-based economy has its roots in tradition and practicality, the winds of change are inevitable. Services like MobalPay are at the forefront of this transformation, offering a bridge to more convenient, secure and inclusive payments. Visit MobalPay’s official website for more information.

So, is it time to ditch the cash and start cashless shopping in Japan? Sounds like a good idea to us!

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