ATMs for tourists coming at last
ATM and money changer machines that allow visitors from overseas to withdraw cash from their accounts and credit cards has long been a wish among overseas tourists, who are often surprised and disappointed that such service is not available here.
The relief is now under way, as 12 locations in Okinawa are expected to get ATMs that can do just that. The locations are places where foreign tourists are likely to visit, such as shopping centers, popular tourism facilities and the airport.
All four major Okinawan banks are taking part in the project that is supported and received a subsidy from the central government. The subsidy pays in part the maintenance of the ATM network.
The machines will be in the service by the end of this year at earliest.
The machines can handle and exchange to yen 17 currencies including U.S. Dollar, Euro, Yuan, Won, Pound, Australian Dollar and Taiwan Dollar.
Some of the machines will also be able to handle Hong Kong dollars.
The ATMs will accept credit cards of ten different companies including MasterCard and VISA.
Not all of the ATMs can handle all cards and currencies, though. Supported cards and currencies depend on the location of the ATM.
According to Okinawa Prefecture Tourism Promotion Division, tourists have been able to exchange money at counters of local banks, and the Postal Bank ATMs in Okinawa prefecture in the past, but the main users of such services have been local residents. This measure specifically targets foreign tourists for the first time.
The division expects to see results saying “This measure can promote consumption by foreign visitors by making it easier for them to buy souvenirs and do small shopping during their trip.”