Breaking news: As of April 19th 2013 it is no longer possible to withdraw money at ATM’s in Japan

Click here to see the notice.

As per April 19th 2013 it is no longer possible to withdraw money with a card that has the maestro, mastercard or cirrus logo at the convenience store chain 711 or the 711 banks.  When you go to ATM’s of Japan post you can still withdraw money with your bank card, regardless of the logo.

Many automatic teller machines (ATMs) in Japan do not accept credit, debit and ATM cards, which are issued outside of Japan.

The big exception are the ATMs found at the over 20,000 post offices and over 10,000 7-Eleven convenience stores across the country. (only visa or amex cards allowed since April 19th) These ATMs allow you to withdraw cash by credit and debit cards issued outside of Japan, including Visa, Plus, American Express and JCB cards and provide an English user menu.

Important notice: On April 19, 2013, ATMs at 7-Eleven stores stopped accepting Mastercard, Maestro and Cirrus cards issued outside of Japan. Similarly, international ATMs across Japan, including postal ATMs, stopped accepting Maestro cards with EMV chips. Efforts are ongoing to restore acceptance of these cards.

ATMs at 7-Eleven stores are available 24 hours per day around the year. In case of post offices, however, only the central offices of major cities offer a 24 hour/7 days ATM service, including the Tokyo Central Office,Shinjuku Office, Shibuya Office and the central offices of OsakaKyotoand a few other major cities (note that even these ATMs are unavailable on Sundays and public holidays for four hours between 20:00 and midnight).

Postal ATM operating hours then decrease proportionally to the size of the post office, from major post offices (typically 7:00 to 23:00, shorter hours on weekends) to medium sized offices (typically 8:00 to 20:00, shorter hours on weekends, possibly closed on Sundays) to minor offices (typically 9:00 and 16:00, closed on weekends).

In addition to the ATMs at post offices and 7-Eleven convenience stores, international ATMs can be found at international airports, in major department stores and in Citibank and Shinsei Bank branches.

In order to use international ATMs, ensure the following at home before leaving for Japan:

  • Make sure that your credit or debit card can be used abroad.
  • Inquire what fees and daily and/or monthly limits are associated with international withdrawals.
  • Remember your card’s secret 4-digit PIN.
  • Notify your bank that you are going to use your card overseas, since many banks will block a card which is suddenly used abroad, suspecting a fraud.

I advise all travellers coming to Japan to bring cash in advance in order not to face the problem of not being able to withdraw money. Many stores accept major credit cards but some smaller shops or small restaurants don’t. So please be smart and get your yens in your home country!

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