BANKING TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Japan

Japan banks bid goodbye to centuries-old tech in paperless shift

Hanko or personal stamps are being phased out.

Bloomberg reported that Japan’s largest banks are starting to ditch the hanko, or personal stamps that have been used for simple transactions since the 1800s as as lenders try to catch up with the fintech revolution.

Also read: Japanese banks speed up cashless push before 2020 Olympics

On its part, Mitsubishi UFJ Group (MUFG) has already kicked off offering accounts that do not require hanko or passbooks and has been working to replace tellers with tablet computers and video booths. By 2024, about 100 of MUFG’s domestic outlets will have the new format as it eyes to halve the number of branches with traditional counters over the same period.

Meanwhile, Resona Holdings have allowed customers to open accounts without hanko at about 600 of their branches since 2018.

Also read: Japanese banks join cashless revolution in digital shift

Small businesses still use hankos for many contracts and it is still required for major contracts like marriage and home ownership.

Introduced during the Kamakura period (1185-1333), hanko-making has grown to be $1.5b-a-year industry with the stamp coming in three types: jitsuin for major contracts; ginkoin for bank transactions and mitomein for common tasks.

Here’s more from Bloomberg.

Photo from Bloomberg.

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