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Don’t Throw out Your Quo Card

If you receive any kind of card in Japan, please check it before you put it away in your name card box or even throw it into a wastebasket. Who knows, you may have received unexpected money inside. Yes, that’s just what happened to me with the Quo Card. Quo cards look like name cards and are similar in size but are thinner than ATM bank cards. There are many designs of Quo card, some are very attractive and are decorated with various graphic designs while others display promotional products or company names so the receiver will remember them.


The Quo card is a pre-paid card which is often used as a “thank you” card. When I visited Manekineko karaoke (17/05) as a guest respondent for their halal food menu, I received a Quo card with a nice Manekineko karaoke icon on the front. The Quo card can be used to buy food or beverages etc. in certain stores such as convenience stores.

Can you give Quo cards as a gift to other people in Japan? Of course you can. When I did some research involving Japanese respondents, I bought 50 Quo cards for 50 respondents at a bookstore. The Quo card is not sold everywhere, only at selected stores.

The amount of money on a Quo card can vary from 300 yen to 10,000 yen. It is very convenient, but it has limitations. It can only be used in certain places. However, shops which do accept it include convenience stores, restaurants, drugstores, gas stations and so on. A list of merchants that accept Quo cards can be found on the Quo card website at: http://www.quocard.com/member/.

Why do Japanese people like to use Quo cards to express thanks? I think it’s because the Quo card is so practical. Let’s say I want to say “thank you” to 50 people. I don’t have to change money and prepare 50 bundles with the exact same amount of cash for 50 people. I also don’t have to buy envelopes to put the money in because each Quo card comes with its own envelope. So, it is a practical method to give gifts of money to say “thank you”.  Another reason Quo cards are used is maybe related to culture. People may be too embarrassed to give cash directly to others. It is wiser and more classy to give money in a Quo card.

Another advantage of Quo cards is that you can use them several times until the amount of money on your card runs out. Let’s say you get a card with 10.000 yen on it. If you use only 5000 yen the first time, you can keep the card and use it another day, as long as it is used before its expiry date. Unfortunately you cannot add more money to your Quo card: it is not an ATM card. However, when your card runs out, you can keep it as a memento because it has interesting graphic designs on it.

By A.A Hadi

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