Japanese Essentials: Can I Pay by Credit Card?

Let’s learn this simple phrase to ask if you can pay for an item with a credit card.

Posted by on October 11, 2017 – Japanese Study
credit-card

Visitors to Japan are often surprised at how Japan still remains a paper-money based society and instead of using credits cards, many Japanese still continue to carry large amounts of cash with them.

Luckily, credit cards are now more accepted in stores and restaurants but if you intend to pay by credit card, keep in mind it’s better to ask first. 

Let’s learn this simple phrase to ask for permission in Japanese.

カードでいいですか。(Can I (pay) by credit card?)

  • カード: credit card. クレジットカード is also used but the word カード alone is enough.
  • で: Japanese particle, indicates a mean.

The phrase でいいですか follows a noun and translates “can I do something with / by (noun)” or “is (noun) okay?”. It also implies making a choice, here for example, between paying by cash or by credit card.

ジョン: すみません。カードでいいですか。
店員てんいん:はい、だいじょうぶですよ。

John: Excuse-me. Can I pay by credit card?
Clerk: Yes, that’s okay.

The phrase だいじょうぶです means “it’s okay”. The clerk could also say: 店員てんいん: ええ、いいですよ。

If the store doesn’t accept credit card payment, the clerk would say:

ジョン:すみません、カードでいいですか。

店員てんいんもうわけありません、ちょっと・・・

John: Excuse-me, can I pay by credit card?
Clerk: I’m terribly sorry but…

Japanese people will rarely give a direct no to an answer, preferring instead to give an indirect answer that conveys the message of no. Here, ちょっと means that it’s difficult to meet the John’s request.

Let’s see more examples:

店員てんいん:980円です。
ジョン:すみません、一万円札いちまんえんさつでいいですか。

Clerk: 980 yen.
John: Excuse-me, can I use a ten-thousand yen note?

店員てんいん:こちらに記入きにゅうしてください。
ジョン:すみません、ローマでいいですか。

Clerk: Please fill out (the form) here.
John: Excuse-me, are roman letters okay?

店員てんいん:いらっしゃいませ。
ジョン:すみません、予約よやくなしでいいですか。

Clerk: Welcome.
John: Excuse-me, is it okay without a reservation?

Vocabulary:

  • 一万円札いちまんえんさつ: Ten-thousand yen note
  • 記入きにゅうする: to fill out a form
  • ローマ: roman letters
  • 予約よやくなし: without a reservation

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