I am travelling in Japan and noticed that the prices are slightly reduced when I pay with my foreign credit card. Only in convenience stores so far and this only happened when I spoke English to them. When I don't utter a word or if my wife spoke in broken Japanese we didn't get this reduction.

I know about the general rule for foreigners with 5000 Yen minimum limit and that products will be sealed for that.

Is there any other rule that applies here?

a sample bill

  • 1
    the 5000 yen limit you are talking about is the tax exemption program, not a temporary promotion as the one you are referring to. and items are not sealed in that case. you just get receipts attached to the passport which you have to give at a specific counter before passport controls at the airport
    – Val
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 13:59
  • 2
    I can't fault you for not being able to read it of course, but the receipt shows that you paid 44 yen in tax and received a 12 yen credit for the cashless promotion. Perhaps you were thrown off because the itemized prices are tax-inclusive; it doesn't show pre-tax amounts and add tax at the end like you may be used to, but rather shows the total amount and breaks out what portion of that is tax at the end.
    – Gene
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 7:19

1 Answer 1


You're indeed getting an up to 5% discount for using your credit card, but it's not just credit cards: any type of non-cash payment (キャッシュレス) can be used to get the "cashless reduction" (キャッシュレス還元), not just at Lawson but at any participant in the Cashless program. The discount varies from store to store, but at Lawson it's 2%:

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Note that this is not just contactless/tap to pay in the sense of Visa/MC PayWave/PayPass, but regular credit cards, debit cards, electronic payments like Suica/Pasmo, basically anything at all that is not cold hard yen. Here's Lawson's promotion page on the topic (in Japanese only). At time of writing, the promotion is set to run until June 2020.

Also note that this is entirely separate from consumption tax (消費税), which is listed and charged separately in your receipt, so It may be possible to find a store which lets you buy tax-free and get the Cashless discount at the same time as well.

  • Yes this was the reason. I notice the cashless ad now on a lot of department stores.
    – Max Payne
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 14:06

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