The Japanese government moved ahead 6 months with consumer incentives. This new payment service was to go on offer to the public next April but because of new services being offered by other entities the launch date will be October 2019. This incentive coincided with the October tax hike, to 10%. Many of the banks are regional lenders who are now working with market experts as they are a major part of moving Japan to a cashless society – so look for cashless services to expand quickly in rural Japan.
This service will charge storekeepers, restauranteurs and other merchants a 1% fee. This is much lower than the 2% to 7% fee that credit card companies can charge – and especially heavy burden for mom-and-pop operations. In addition, the system will not require steep equipment investments on the part of the participating businesses.
This article was written on the back of an article in the Nikkei Asian Review – Jun Watanabe, April 10.
Debit cards, that have been promoted by the bank industry, can be used in about 24,000 shops in Japan. But the average Japanese citizen is not keen on that payment route as they are shy about giving personal identification numbers. The banks believe that the key to success in thsi new payment system is to increase the number of merchants quickly. Note that last month, chat app operator Line announced a pact with flee market app provider Mercari that will make it easier for users of Line Pay and Mer Pay to use both services.