Thursday, 12th December 2013
In General Japan News,
Japanese ATMs to be revamped
Foreign travellers to Japan have often expressed annoyance over the fact that very few ATMs are capable of dispensing yen to those using credit cards issued abroad, but this is all set to change.
From next year, three major Japanese banks will start revamping their ATM machines so that they will be able to accept credit cards dispensed in other countries, ending decades of frustration for tourists.
The financial institutions in question - Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho and Sumitomo Mitsui - claimed they took action after the Japanese government intervened.
Despite its reputation as a high-tech gadget-loving society, Japan has been exceptionally slow in adapting to plastic payment, with cash still proving to be the best way to purchase many goods.
A growing number of retail shops are starting to permit foreign tourists to use their credit cards, but banks have been largely resilient to the idea up until now.
Currently, the most reliable way for tourists to find a compatible ATM machine is to locate the largest post office in their vicinity. Many hub train stations such as Tokyo Central also possess these.
Areas frequented by tourists that are outside of centralised hubs - such as Nikko near Tokyo - and therefore away from these machines are generally furnished with one for the convenience of visitors.
Officials are currently trying to increase the number of foreign visitors to Japan in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, and a number of initiatives have been announced to help tourists.
These include street signs in English and encouraging restaurants to have English-language menus, although there have been a number of typically high-tech solutions trialled such as a Google Glass-like device that guides visitors around the tourists sights of major cities.
Written by Graham McPherson
Related news stories:
Japanese banks to boost ATM availability for tourists (17th March 2015)
Government pushes for foreigner-friendly ATMs (28th July 2014)