What is Line Pay?
According to Line, "Line Pay is a payment service that allows you make purchases from Line Pay Merchants. You can also send money and split bills with your Line friends. You can make payments easily with your credit card without registering, and if you register for Line Cash (a Line Pay account), you can make payments with your balance, as well as request money and make requests to split bills."
In addition to this service, in 2016, Line launched a Line Pay Card for its Japanese users. The card couples nicely with Line services, but it can also be used in physical shops as a regular JCB debit card.
1. It's free
The Line Pay card is completely free. There's no cost for applying and no cost for recharging the balance. So even if you don't use it that much, you're not losing anything.
2. It's easy to get
Applying is a piece of cake (read on for a full step-by-step guide), and once you complete your application, you just have to wait for the card to arrive in your mailbox. You don't even need to open a new bank account for it!
3. Most of the process is in English
While some parts of the process (for example recharging, linking your bank account or consulting some of the FAQ) will require Japanese ability, the language on your Line account will depend on your phone settings, which means that most of it will be in the language that you prefer. This makes it much easier to manage than other Japanese cards.
4. You get Line points
With each purchase you will collect Line points. You can send them to your Line Pay Card for free money, or use them to purchase any Line-related products, including stickers or themes. This makes it the perfect card for people who like to personalize their Line experience. Line Points can also be converted in Lawson Ponta points, Seven Eleven Nanaco points or Amazon gift cards.
5. You can easily send money to your Line friends
The card has two interesting features: if your identity is verified (a very easy process we'll explain below), in a couple of clicks you can send money to your Line friends or split bills with them. This is ideal for housemates or families who need a fast way to get money around.
1. It's not accepted everywhere
The Line Pay card is a JCB branded card, and JCB is far less accepted than other companies like Visa or Mastercard, especially outside Japan. While most major Japanese websites will take it, you might be unable to shop at smaller or foreign vendors, or use it abroad. Additionally, some websites or companies only accept "real" credit cards (this could happen with SIM providers, for example).
2. Once money is on the card, it's costly to take it out
Once you top up your Line Pay card, getting the money back can be a bit troublesome. In order to get your money back, you will first need to connect your bank account and verify your identity (read the "How-To" section on the next page for more details). While the process of transferring money, per se, will be easy, it will cost you around ¥200 per transaction.
3. You can only charge rounded amounts
There are various ways to charge your Line Pay Card, but the smallest amount that you can send seems to be ¥100. This means that if you buy something online, there might be leftover money on your card. And as we discussed above, it might be hard to get that money back into your bank account should you need it later on.
4. It only works for Japanese accounts
At the moment of writing, the physical card option is only available for people who register their Line account with a Japanese phone number. The Line Pay Card isn't available to those who use Line without a Japanese phone number.
Now we've addressed the pros and cons, head to the next page if you're ready to apply.