CARDS & PAYMENTS | Staff Reporter, Japan

Credit card is still king in Japan as payment apps remain lacking

Payments via ‘konbini’ and debit card fail to catch up.

Three-fourths of Japanese consumers admitted that credit cards are still their preferred payment method in a development that derails the cashless adoption in the cash-reliant country, according to a report by Worldpay.

‘Konbini’ or a local payment method where users purchase goods online and pay at nearby convenience stores is the top payment method for a third (35%) followed by only 20% who embrace debit cards.

Mobile payments have a huge market in Japan especially as there will be an estimated 68.8 million smartphone users by 2022. The report noted, however, that players need to act fast and beef up their cybersecurity controls to capture the country's tech-savvy demographic.

“With their mobile savviness comes a slightly higher than average concern with how secure the payment process is. As a result, offering biometric authentication is seen as a desirable security feature,” the report’s authors noted.

The government has been working overtime to reduce reliance on cash as it sets a target of doubling cashless settlements including credit, debit and e-money to 40% of transactions over the next ten years as part of “Society 5.0” strategy.

The country’s top lenders, Mizuho, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., have also agreed to unify QR code specifications to provide greater convenience to merchants and customers as they speed up the cashless shift before the 2020 Olympics.

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