Japanese Essentials: Can I Pay by Credit Card?


Cash or Card?

First of all, visitors are often surprised at how Japan still remains to be a paper-money based society. Instead of using credits cards, many Japanese continue to carry large amounts of cash with them. However, credit cards are now growing in popularity as more and more stores and restaurants now accept credit cards.

If you intend to pay by credit card, however, do keep in mind that it would be better to ask first. We’ll cover more on that in the following segments.


Asking for Permission (to use Card)

Therefore, here’s a simple phrase to help you ask for permission in Japanese.

Kādode īdesu ka
Can I pay by credit card?

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

Consequently, the phrase でいいですか (de īdesu ka) typically follows a noun. This, in turn, translates to “can I do something with/by (noun)” or “is (noun) okay?”. For that, it can also imply making a choice. For example, it can be making a choice of method of payment by either cash or by credit card.

ジョン: すみません。カードでいいですか。
John: Sumimasen. Kādode īdesu ka.
Ten’in: Hai, daijōbudesu yo.
John: Excuse me. Can I pay by credit card?
Clerk: Yes, that’s okay.

The phrase だいじょうぶです (Daijōbudesu) means “it’s okay”. The clerk could also say “Yeah, that’s fine” with: ええ、いいですよ。(E e, īdesu yo)


What if it’s not accepted?

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

John: Sumimasen, kādode īdesu ka.
Ten’in: Mōshiwakearimasen, chotto…
John: Excuse me, can I pay by credit card?
Clerk: I’m terribly sorry but…

Japanese people tend to avoid giving a direct “no” as an answer. Instead, they would use words like “ちょっと”  (“chotto“) to indicate that it’s difficult for them to meet John’s request.
Here are some more examples:

Ten’in: 980-Endesu.
John: Sumimasen, ichiman’ensatsude īdesu ka.
Clerk: 980 yen.
John: Excuse me, can I use a ten-thousand yen note?

Ten’in: Kochira ni kinyū shite kudasai.
John: Sumimasen, rōma jide īdesu ka.
Clerk: Please fill out the form here.
John: Excuse me, are roman letters okay?

Ten’in: Irasshaimase.


John: Sumimasen, yoyaku nashide īdesu ka.


Clerk: Welcome!
John: Excuse me, is it okay to enter without a reservation?


  • 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

Want to find out how to pay in Japanese? Check out this page here!

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