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Problems With Chase Sapphire Card In Japan

Problems With Chase Sapphire Card In Japan

Old Sep 9, 13, 3:42 am
  #1  
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Problems With Chase Sapphire Card In Japan

I had read one or two messages posted here about problems using the Chase Sapphire card in Japan. I just wanted to confirm that there are issues. We have had them at 2 restaurants in Tokyo. Neither was what I'd call a "Mom and Pop" restaurant by any stretch of the imagination.

When we called Chase (we had notified the company in advance about our trip) - it said that there was no hold on our accounts and no credit limit problems. In fact - Chase didn't even show that a charge had been attempted (and declined).

So - best I can figure out - this is a problem some Japanese card readers have reading the cards. I don't know what I can do about it - except to notify Chase (which I did). And tell those of you here to bring at least one other credit card with you on any trip to Japan.

FWIW - Chase international collect call service worked great. Although I will admit to having hotel reception place the call (I haven't made a collect call in years - and I've never tried to place one through a Japanese operator). Robyn
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Old Sep 9, 13, 3:47 am
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Always good advice regarding taking multiple cards when traveling, in case of problems.

That said, I made 2 trips to Tokyo in the last 2 months and each time used my Chase Sapphire as my primary card in shops, restaurants big and small, taxis etc. and didn't encounter any issue. A case of YMMV maybe?
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Old Sep 9, 13, 4:45 am
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Originally Posted by User Name View Post
Always good advice regarding taking multiple cards when traveling, in case of problems.

That said, I made 2 trips to Tokyo in the last 2 months and each time used my Chase Sapphire as my primary card in shops, restaurants big and small, taxis etc. and didn't encounter any issue. A case of YMMV maybe?
I'm quite sure it's a YMMV thing depending on the card reader a place has - something no one can know in advance. FWIW - the place where the CS cards didn't work today (my husband and I have separate cards) was a 2* Michelin restaurant in Ginza. We used our AMEX card instead. Robyn
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Old Sep 9, 13, 6:27 am
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Are they the newer cards that are "vertical" and have smaller numbers that are not raised but stenciled into the card? I have one like that that I have never taken with me out of the country because it seems to cause confusion even here at home.
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Old Sep 9, 13, 7:42 am
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I use the chase sapphire all the time in Japan from 7-11 to michelin star restaurants. The key is to show them the back side so they know it's a visa. Then if they swipe it the wrong way and hand it back saying it doesn't work, ask them to try it the other way around @:-) they often confuse which side is the front, but my card as always gone through by the second try. Still always a good idea to carry a back up card ^
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Old Sep 9, 13, 4:53 pm
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Originally Posted by cardesigner2000 View Post
I use the chase sapphire all the time in Japan from 7-11 to michelin star restaurants. The key is to show them the back side so they know it's a visa. Then if they swipe it the wrong way and hand it back saying it doesn't work, ask them to try it the other way around @:-) they often confuse which side is the front, but my card as always gone through by the second try. Still always a good idea to carry a back up card ^
+1. That's also my experience in Japan. You might need to show them where the stripe is with non-standard looking cards.

Last edited by freecia; Sep 9, 13 at 5:00 pm
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Old Sep 10, 13, 2:21 am
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Originally Posted by freecia View Post
+1. That's also my experience in Japan. You might need to show them where the stripe is with non-standard looking cards.
I tried that today at a small store - didn't work. OTOH - the sales people at Matsuya didn't seem to have a problem at all. As long as the card works at the hotel (it does) - it isn't a big issue (the most expensive restaurant in our dining plans is cash only). But thanks for the advice. Robyn
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Old Sep 10, 13, 8:03 am
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I had issues with the card being read at various places in Japan, but it has happened here in the US too. It probably has something to do with the card being metallic. There didn't seem to be any pattern as to where the card would work and where it didn't. If I recall correctly by the end of the trip I ended up using my BA card more often than the CSP because of the issues.

In my experience some places in the US have issues with the card as well.
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Old Sep 10, 13, 3:46 pm
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I've also had problems a couple of times in Japan w/the Chase Sapphire. As others have recommended, I always present the back of the card with the numbers showing to help to eliminate some confusion. A few times (Daimaru above Tokyo Station) they gave up after failing to get the card to work and with my limited Japanese, I decided not to belabor the point and handed them a different credit card that was more traditional than the Chase Sapphire.
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Old Sep 10, 13, 7:05 pm
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Can't they punch in the number in case the stripe reader doesn't work?
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Old Sep 11, 13, 1:43 am
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I don't think most Japanese CC terminals have that option. Even if it did I highly doubt most merchant staff have been trained on how to do so. In any case, I've had problems with mine as well, and the same places won't play nice with my UA Club card so I'm guessing it's the metallic design.

I should note that at a couple of small shops in Komatsu I was asked if I had "a normal card" and as far as I could figure out they just wanted a chip card; my (still metallic) Marriott Visa worked fine in those cases.
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Old Sep 11, 13, 10:59 am
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Originally Posted by KPT View Post
Can't they punch in the number in case the stripe reader doesn't work?
Assuming they can, it also costs the merchant extra when manually punching in numbers v. swiping the card due to security concerns. Not sure if that's an additional factor.
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Old Sep 11, 13, 3:48 pm
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For what it's worth, I routinely have difficulty with using Chase Sapphire in Japan. It is definitely a compatibility problem with some card readers. I'd say that it works about 95% of the time, but the other 5% it doesn't matter how many different ways they try to swipe it. Most recently, I ran into a vendor who had 3 different card readers (no idea why) and it didn't work in their preferred reader, but did work in one of their other ones. (All were Panasonic readers.)
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Old Sep 11, 13, 4:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Sykes View Post
For what it's worth, I routinely have difficulty with using Chase Sapphire in Japan. It is definitely a compatibility problem with some card readers. I'd say that it works about 95% of the time, but the other 5% it doesn't matter how many different ways they try to swipe it. Most recently, I ran into a vendor who had 3 different card readers (no idea why) and it didn't work in their preferred reader, but did work in one of their other ones. (All were Panasonic readers.)
It's good to know we're not alone (or crazy). We'll see what happens today at lunch. Robyn

P.S. Card didn't work at lunch today either. 2* Michelin in Ginza. Think I will have a word with Chase when we get home (because we have had zero problems with AMEX - or cash ).

Last edited by robyng; Sep 12, 13 at 3:50 am
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Old Sep 13, 13, 7:13 am
  #15  
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Card Worked Today!

At Joel Robuchon. If I had to draw any conclusions from our experiences...

Card works in newer places. Doesn't work in older more traditional places. Robyn
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