How to buy Japanese yen with a credit card

By   |   Verified by Andrew Boyd   |   Updated 21st March 2022

Are you looking to purchase Japanese yen (JPY) banknotes to carry along on your trip to Japan?

It is possible to use a credit card to buy Japanese yen from Australia or while in Japan. However, there are few things you should keep in mind as buying currency with a card can be expensive if you don’t know what to look out for. Find out more about how it works in this guide.

Before travelling

Buying Japanese yen with a credit card in Australia

If you've not used your credit card to buy currency before, these are some fees to be aware of.

What cards you can use

  • American Express, Mastercard, and Visa. It is possible to purchase Japanese yen with credit or debit cards. However, credit cards treat buying foreign currency as a cash equivalent, which means the transaction is subject to the cash advance interest rate and the cash advance fee.

Where you can buy Japanese yen with a credit card

  • Your bank’s local branch. The bank you use could be one of the most convenient ways to obtain Japanese yen. The problem is that the exchange rates they offer probably won't be favourable compared to other buying options.
  • Currency exchangers. You can buy yen at Travelex, Travel Money Oz, and various other money exchangers. These tend to have more competitive rates than the banks.
  • Money transfer services. You can use an international money transfer service to transfer Japanese yen to a person or a company. The rates they charge are usually very competitive.

While overseas

Buying Japanese yen with a credit card while in Japan

Here’s what to consider if you're already in Japan and need to buy Japanese yen.

  • At a bureau de change. You can easily locate a bureau de change where you can buy Japanese yen in most cities. Purchases at an exchange bureau are typically categorised as an equivalent cash purchase and are subject to interest at the rate of cash advance. Cash advance charges may also be charged, along with an additional foreign currency charge if your credit card charges one (not all do).
  • Withdrawing from an ATM. Using an ATM to get cash from your credit card may be convenient, but it’ll cost the most. Use it as your last resort. Not only will you pay interest at the cash advance rate, but there will also be a cash advance fee, a charge for using an ATM in another country, plus a possible foreign currency transaction fee.

What it might cost

Fees

Type of feeIncurred in Australia?Incurred overseas?Cost
Cash advance interestYesYesAround 20% (daily, no interest-free period)
Cash advance feeYesYes2 - 3% (one-off)
Foreign currency feeYesYes2 - 3% (one-off)
Overseas ATM withdrawal feeNoYes2 - 3% (one-off)

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Want more help?

FAQs

Do you get credit card credit points for purchasing Japanese yen?

No. Purchasing Japanese yen or another currency like Malaysian ringgit or Indonesian rupiah will be classified as a cash equivalent, which will not earn points.

Do you qualify for cashback on purchases of Japanese yen?

No. It's considered the same as cash and is not eligible for cashback.