Visiting another country, whether as part of a holiday, or to work, is always an exciting time, but it can also be exasperating, as there are just so many things that have to be done beforehand. These range from being sure the passport is valid, that we have proper insurance to cover everything from our luggage to our health, making sure we have somewhere to stay, and also being sure you have access to our money easily whilst we are away in order to be able to pay our way. All this is true for even the briefest of trips, but what if we plan on staying longer? What if we plan on staying forever? What if we plan on becoming an ex-pat?
In recent years, Japan has become one of the most popular of all tourist destinations. In 2018, The Guardian reported that its visitor numbers had risen by so much, it was now the 11th most visited country on the planet. Japan has a mixture of ancient cities and ultra modern skyscrapers that border on futuristic that tourists seem to love. It has a staggering 21 World Heritage Sites, which include Himeji Castle, Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto and Nara. Whilst other popular foreigner attractions include the cities of Tokyo and Hiroshima, Mount Fuji and ski resorts such as Niseko in Hokkaido. It is a terrific place to live and visit for lovers of technology, and has a fashion culture that ranges from high fashion brands like Issay Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garcons, to high street hero Uniqlo. Japan is bright, vibrant and forward thinking, everything the modern tourist longs to visit. No wonder so many decide to extend their holidays and actually stay in Japan, living and working in the land of the rising sun.
Japan is a fabulous place to settle and start a new life. I speak from experience, my sister-in-law lived in the country for 18 months after she trained as a TEFL teacher and spoke of the country with lots of affection. It is a very friendly place, but that doesn’t mean that expats don’t require a little extra help at times. As Timeout magazine reported:
Japan is a friendly and welcoming country, steep in history and tradition. While visitors are often amazed at how polite, courteous and gracious the society is, most first-timers may experience some sort of culture shock.
One of the issues that expats and long term visitors face is how to access their money and pay for goods and services without always resorting to Yen. It is certainly not easy for newly arrived foreigners to open Japanese Bank accounts, you need to meet the minimum residency requirements before you can gain an account and Japanese issued debit or credit card to use online.
Mobal, the leading telecoms provider for English speaking expats in Japan, are now leading the way in helping with this very real problem for Brits in Japan. They already provide the largest range of mobile Japan SIM cards specifically aimed at expats for use in Japan, including long term ones which have English language support, a real Japanese phone number and huge data allowances and reliable connections. They are also popular as they have no contracts, so you can cancel whenever you want without falling foul of activation or termination fees and can tailor your data package to you very specific needs.
Now they are launching MobalPay, which they believe will help expats access their money in the same way they are able to handle their phone calls and internet use. MobalPay is a prepaid Japanese payment card, and because it is considered to be a real Japanese payment card, the beauty is that you can use this right away, rather than having to wait to gain a bank account. MobalPay explain the beauty of their card, saying:
MobalPay is powered by Mastercard and brought to you by the team behind Mobal, the leading telecoms provider for English-speaking expats in Japan. That means you get all the benefits of a native English-speaking customer service team, and all the security and reliability of a real Japanese-issued Mastercard.
Topping up your card is easy, it can be done in shops all over Japan using cash, and the fees for using the card are very low. The card is safe to use, using the same chip and pin technology that you use for regular credit and debit cards, so there is nothing strange or alien about using the MobalPay card. As long as you have a Japanese residence card, you are eligible, and are sure to be accepted (subject to fraud checks.)
You can use your MobalPay card in the same way you’d use any prepaid card – you can use it for online transactions and in-store purchases too. Your card is equipped with Chip & PIN technology, meaning you can shop securely wherever you are. It’s also equipped with 3DS verification, keeping you safe when you shop online. When you need to add funds to your account, you can do this via online bank transfer, or by using cash or card at ATMs all over Japan.
With their pre pay card, and their already existing SIM cards, Mobal are taking the move to Japan, and making it just that little bit easier.