AF News

Monday, December 8, 2014

ETC Card

Ever wondered how you could use those ETC express lanes coming on/off the toll highways here on Okinawa, or all of Japan for that matter?? Well there is company that is catering to SOFA/Expats living here in Japan by allowing you to get your very own ETC card through them! Normally, non-Japanese nationals cannot get a ETC card, as you need a Japanese credit card/bank account to have one. Well this company just acts a an middle man and takes on all the "risks" of offering you a ETC. You can sign up in your name and with your credit card, and then breeze through those special ETC gates like all the locals, and your credit card gets charged the toll automatically! No more stopping and  rolling down my window  to pay, that is so what the "foreigners" do! Well no more! Well sort of, you still need to get the hardware for the ETC system (can be found everywhere) and have it installed in your car. If you are lucky, you might already have one installed in your car. I do and mine talks to me in Japanese when I start the car, and then when I get near a ETC gate, it starts talking automatically in a cautious voice; probably since I don't have a ETC card in the reader and it is warning me I don't have in there, so don't drive through the ETC gate dummy! Well, this company seems legit and I think it is relatively new, however I stopped short of signing up for one reason. After you get through the numerous signup pages (all online), you get to the kicker, and it is about the "risk" I mentioned earlier. They want a $400 dollar-ish deposit up front, in addition to what ever plan you go with. That is a little steep for me to get going on something I wouldn't use that often to be honest. If I was a frequent user of the toll highways or was on mainland Japan, I would do it, plus as a added bonus you can take advantage of those special ETC campaigns they have every once in awhile. Plus, some of their plans have contracts and I don't like contacts with stuff like this, as even having a contract for my cell phones bothers me. I wish they had just a straight up prepaid ETC option. Like, I will pay any setup fee, buy the actually ETC card, but just let me charge it up when I need to use it. I think on the Japanese side of the house they have something like that, but it is not offered through these guys. Either way, if your needs are different than mine, go ahead and check these guys out, just be sure to read the fine print.

No comments:

Post a Comment