Apple to Bring Mobile Payments to Japan 12 Years After Docomoby and
New iPhone to be compatible with Japan’s e-money payments
Both Apple and Google are entering cashless payments in Japan
Apple Inc.’s new iPhone 7 will be equipped with FeliCa in Japan, a tap-to-pay standard that could enable users to pay for mass-transit rides with their mobile phones.
The phone’s new operating system also will include a transit feature in the Maps app for Japan, the Cupertino, California-based company said Wednesday in a statement as it unveiled its latest iPhone models. Apple Pay, the company’s mobile payments system, will launch in Japan in October, the company said.
Japanese have for years been using rail passes that double as electronic money cards, which a growing number of retailers now accept for payments. The system is also accessible through a system known as Osaifu Keitai, or mobile-phone wallet, introduced in 2004 on certain devices provided by NTT Docomo Inc. that are equipped with Sony Corp.’s FeliCa chip technology.
In addition to the rail turnstiles, Japan’s cashless payments network has expanded more than seven times since September 2007 to about 1.9 million terminals at convenience stores, shops and cafes, Bank of Japan data show. Depending on negotiations with card providers, the new iPhone may be able to access this ready-made network, which was used to process 4.6 trillion yen in sales ($44 billion) in 2015.
“Apple Pay will support many of the most popular Japanese credit and prepaid cards issued by AEON, Credit Saison, JCB, Mitsubishi UFJ Nicos, Orient Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Card, Toyota Finance, UC Cards and View Card, and carriers KDDI, NTT Docomo and Softbank, representing more than three-quarters of all credit card spending in Japan, with major global and domestic networks like American Express, Mastercard, JCB, iD and QUICPay,” Apple said in the statement.
Other technology giants are also looking at getting into Japan’s mobile-payments market. Google parent Alphabet Inc. will tie up with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Japan’s biggest bank, on its Android Pay platform, a person with knowledge of the matter said last week. Starting as early as Japan’s autumn, users of certain Android-based mobile phones will be able to use MUFG’s debit cards for transactions made through Android Pay, the person said.