Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tokyo 2006 Part II: Japanese banks unfriendly to foreign tourists

After living in London for more than three years, visiting Tokyo is almost like a foreign trip. I begin to understand how foreigners will find Tokyo. Although many things are convenient here, the coverage of that convenience seems limited to Japanese people living in Japan.

You can't use your credit card issued by foreign banks to make a cash advance at ATM machines of Mizuho Bank, one of the world's largest banks. It wasn't because the ATM machines were located in the suburbs of Tokyo. It was in Shibuya, one of the busiest areas in Tokyo. Can you believe this? A bank staff recommended me to use Citibank, which unsurprisingly allowed me to make a cash advance with my Mastercard issued by Natwest Bank in UK.

The situation seems the same for other major Japanese banks. According to japan-guide.com, an exception is post office ATMs, which are linked to Citibank. If you visit Tokyo, it may be a good idea to learn where Citibank branches and post offices are in Tokyo.

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