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RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, Japan
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Japanese banks tie up for QR code payment service

A trial will begin in October 2019 with full launch slated by April 2020.

Banks and regional financial institutions in Japan have tied up to roll out a unified smartphone payment service that is tentatively slated for rollout in April 2020, reports Nikkei Asian Review. 

The service aims to enable savings account holders to pay for purchases via QR codes, Payment amounts will then be debited from the buyer’s bank account.

Also read: Credit card is still king in Japan

However, the involved financial institutions are still ironing out operational details such as the collection of service fees.

A trial will start in October 2019, with full launch slated for April 2020 amongst a wide net of retailers with initial target audiences including small retail brands and mom-and-pop operations. Banks also hope to popularise the service for online shopping and utility bill payments. 

Also read: Japanese banks join cashless revolution in digital shift

The move comes at a challenging time for the country’s banks who have been grappling with less earnings from their loans as the country rapidly ages. Japan’s top three megabanks - Mizuho, MUFG Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group earlier agreed to unify QR code specifications in June in support of the country’s cashless push.

The government has also been working overtime to reduce reliance on cash as it aims to meet 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.

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