From operating systems to ancient swords, the Japanese have always been on forefront of anthropomorphizing everyday objects into strangely compelling and highly attractive human characters. Need to boost tourism in a particular prefecture? Get a “gijinka”! Need to make a memorable ad campaign to boost sales of a new product? Get a “gijinka” too! While some of them are created purely for marketing reasons, some enterprising organizations have started using them for more practical, educational purposes.
Meet the Card Loan Girls – a group of young ladies created by online marketing firm WebKikaku, whose main goal is to educate young Japanese adults on the use of credit cards and consumer loans. Why is this important? Japan is the world’s third largest economy, but cash is still king – so a lot of young consumers have no idea how to avail of credit card loans or personal loans, let alone manage several loans at the same time.
Another important feature of the Japanese consumer loan culture is, unlike other countries where financial products such as salary loans and small business loans are readily available from commercial banks, Japanese banks only traditionally lend large sums of money to companies and corporations who are able to provide ample collateral. As a result, many people turn to card loans and consumer lending companies, who offer small loans (as little as JPY 10,000) to applicants who can satisfy their application requirements — no collateral is needed.
The ease by which consumer loans and credit cards can be availed in Japan can be a slippery slope for someone who has no self-control -– a gamer who has to have all the top-of-the-line consoles and accessories, a fashionista with a taste for designer handbags and shoes, a pop fan who has to go to all the concerts and buy all the tour merch! Sometimes, young adults end up spending more than they can earn (and pay back), and that becomes a huge problem.
This is where the cute and cuddly Card Loan Girls come in –- they can help simplify your life and get rid of financial anxiety by breaking down complex monetary decisions into something more practical and easy to understand. From selecting which loan company to patronize, to which payments options to avail of, the Card Loan Girls can help you maximize your income, lower your debts, and live your life to the fullest!
Each of the Card Loan Girls have been designed and patterned after major credit card and lending companies -– not just in appearance, but in attitude and temperament as well. Do you need a quick loan that you can pay off in under thirty days? Saki Aoi who represents the loan company Promise is the gal for you! Need a lending company with excellent aftersales service? Nadeko Tsuzurahara of Acom is ready and willing to go!
Saori Hino who represents Mobit is popular for her go-getting personality, since the company is well-known for providing business loans. Lake’s Rei Midorikawa is accommodating and always ready to lend a hand, as the company’s cash out facilities include ATMs and convenience stores. Ai Shiraki represents Aiful, which is an independent loan company not connected to any major bank – and therefore offers more flexibility in its financial products compared to traditional banks.
Komugi Orihara, who represents Orix, is unique because she comes from a more recently-established commercial bank, and in a bid to lure customers from more established brands, is willing to give more flexible terms that benefit consumers. Eira Gingami of Mizuho Bank comes from one of the oldest and most respected banking corporations in Japan, and is best known for its reliability and stability in troubled financial times.
The relationships between the girls also explain the relationships between the banks, the credit card companies, and the lending companies they represent. Some credit card and lending companies are owned by much larger banks, while others are smaller companies who concentrate only on credit cards and consumer loans. By understanding how the girls interact with each other, you can also figure out the business relationships (mutually beneficial or otherwise) of all the companies involved.
There are eight different girls (and companies) to choose from, each with their respective strengths and weaknesses. Each girl will try their best to charm the reader to select them (and the company they represent) by presenting the nitty-gritty financial details in simple and easy-to-understand terms. In the end, the choice is still up to the consumer, but at least it’ll be a fun and fully-informed choice and not a shot in the dark.
Another way the girls can help is by giving financial advice in bite-sized pieces. The Japanese call these little pieces of information as “mamechishiki”, and they simply love it! What better way to get your head wrapped around such complex ideas as interest rates, pro-rated penalties, and other scary monertary concepts by having a pretty and lovable anime girl explain these to you in the simplest terms?
For example: how much should you be earning in order to live comfortably, save enough for a rainy day, and still be able to pay off your debts? If you intend to take on a loan, is it better for you to take a high interest loan that you pay off as quickly as you can, or a low interest loan that you may still be paying off even if you are nearly retiring? Are you better off buying a house, renting a flat, or continue living with your parents? Can you afford to buy a car or will you be taking the train for the rest of your life?
If these questions are enough to give you anxiety attacks, then let the Card Loan Girls come to your rescue. By making personal finance fun and accessible, Card Loan Girls can help young Japanese make informed decisions about their saving and spending. Forget those thick financial finance books with the tiny print and complicated words – most times simpler is better, and the more visual a concept the easier it is to understand. So hooray for the Card Loan Girls, and here’s to hoping there are more of them in the future!
This post is an advertorial sponsored by Card Loan Girls.