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Japan Country Report

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  • Published Date: November 2020

A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in Japan, with clearsighted commentary backed by detailed market data.

The pandemic is expected to cause a sharp recession, wiping out recent economic progress but also presenting an opportunity to accelerate the uptake of cashless methods. In addition, MSC caps and cashback schemes may incentivise merchants and consumers to make the switch. QR codes, once a footnote in Japanese tech history, are coming to the fore in payments having revolutionised payments in China. New regulations require non-card issuing acquirers to apply for a licence to operate. Network-branded debit cards are slowly gaining ground.

What you will learn from this Japan payments report

  • How the government has been improving payments infrastructure
  • Which online bank has proved the most attractive and why
  • What the implications are of homegrown standard FeliCa
  • Why QR codes' appeal has seen a resurgence for providers
  • How long-cherished payments rituals reassure consumers

JAPAN CARDS & PAYMENTS REPORT | KEY FACTS

  • Japan largely remains a cash-based economy with consumers and merchants reluctant to embrace electronic payments.
  • A new official roadmap aims to double cashless payments to 40 percent of transactions by 2025.
  • Both at the point of sale and online, credit cards are the most popular non-cash payment tool.
  • Debit cards are not a major feature of the payments market; although debit functionality is added to most ATM and credit cards, it is barely used.
  • Credit card borrowing is low by international standards. Outstanding balances on credit cards are usually settled in full at the end of the grace period, thus incurring no interest.
  • Card revenue is heavily dependent on fees. Merchant fees are among the highest in the world, and most transactions are on-us.
  • E-money cards are widely used and can be added to mobile wallets or issued virtually for quick and convenient transactions both online and offline.
  • The wide array of payments services available has hampered adoption. Technology conflicts and premature products have been confusing consumers.
  • The retail banking market is concentrated for a market of this size, with four large banks dominating the landscape.


Japan Payments Research | Report Contents

Key Topics
Demographics and the economy
Payments environment
Japanese cards market
Mobile payments
Profit pool
The networks
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Online acquiring
Regulatory and other cards market information

Appendices: Card Payments Data

Appendix I: Demographics and the economy

  • Demographic and economic indicators
  • Ownership of key consumer devices
  • Internet usage by population

Appendix II: Payments environment

  • Access points
  • Account penetration
  • Consumer payment trends
  • B2C e-commerce payment methods

Appendix III: Cards market data

  • Total cards payment metrics
  • Contactless cards metrics
  • Japan credit card data
  • Total credit cards metrics
  • Credit cards profitability indicators
  • Debit cards numbers
  • Debit cards metrics
  • Prepaid/e-money cards metrics

Appendix IV: Mobile payments data

  • Mobile P2P payments

Appendix V: Profit pool

  • Profit pool

Appendix VI: Card networks

  • Networks' credit card market shares
  • Networks' credit card numbers
  • Networks' credit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of credit card transactions
  • Networks' average credit card transaction value
  • Credit card interchange fees by network
  • Networks' debit card market shares
  • Networks' debit card numbers
  • Networks' debit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of debit card transactions
  • Networks' average debit card transaction value

Appendix VII: Key retail banks and issuers

  • Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers
  • Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings
  • Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers

Appendix VIII: Acquirers and processing

  • Merchant acquirer credit card market share
  • Credit card merchant service charges
  • Merchant acquirer debit card market share
  • Debit card merchant service charges
  • Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships
  • Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships
  • Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers
  • Credit card acquiring processor market shares by the number of POS transactions

Appendix IX: Online acquiring data

  • Online merchant acquirer market share

Japan Country Report | Selected Extracts

Demographics and Economy:
The total labour force of Japan came to an estimated 62% of the total population at the end of 2019, with
a median income of $35,500 and an unemployment rate of just 2.4%.

Payments Environment:
Consumers have been slow to adopt card usage due to a hard-to-break preference for cash. However, debit cards are now held by approximately 88% of adults, while 70% of adults hold a credit card.

Cards market:
Cash continues to be a preferred payment mode in Japan, in particular for lower-value purchases. The low crime rate also impacts the preference for cash over cards as consumers feel safe carrying cash, whereas they remain fearful of the counterfeiting of cards and potential data breaches.

Mobile Payments:
Japan has been at the forefront of payment technologies, inventing QR codes in 1994 and also pioneering mobile wallets technology and integrated circuit (ie, chip) cards. That may come as a surprise as, when it comes to payments, Japan is now notable as a cash-heavy country despite its digital prowess.

Profit Pool:
The Japanese payment cards market is mature. Around 284 million credit cards are in circulation as of the end of 2019, producing a credit card penetration rate of 258 credit cards per 100 adults.

Card Networks:
The market for credit cards remains primarily split between Visa, Mastercard and JCB, which together had a combined market share of 98% in terms of card numbers in 2019. The development of debit cards in Japan lags behind that of credit cards.

Key Retail Banks and Issuers:
Despite the weak yen, operating costs in Japan are among the highest in the world and it is difficult to compete against the country's traditional domestic banks, which have deeper roots and higher capital bases.

Acquiring and Processing:
The merchant-acquiring market in Japan is highly competitive, with all the major issuers involved. With retailers operating multiple terminals to facilitate on-us transactions, the majority of domestic transactions are on-us: hence interchange rarely applies.

Online Acquiring:
The size of the B2C e-commerce market has been expanding steadily, growing from $102 billion in 2013
to $178 billion in 2019, the majority of which is retail-based, followed by services and lastly digital content.

Regulatory and Markets Information:
Local and foreign firms carrying out banking business are required to obtain a banking licence. In addition, banks are required to obtain a separate licence from the FSA for providing securities-related services in Japan.

Japan Payments Report | Entities Referenced

2Checkout
7-Eleven
7pay
Aeon Bank
AEON Group
Aozora Bank
AIFUL Corporation
All Nippon Airways
AlliedWallet
Amazon
Amazon Pay
ANA
Android Pay
Aozora Card,
Apple Pay
Bank Mizuho
Bank of America
Bank of China
Bank of Nova Scotia
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ
Bank Pay
bitFlyer
Bitpay
BMW
Branché
Bundle
CAFIS
CARDNET
Cardstream
Cathay Pacific
Cedyna
Cedyna Financial Corporation
Central Finance Company
Citi Cards Japan
Citibank Japan
Coiney
Costco
Credit Saison
CyberSource
Dai Nippon Printing
Daiwa Securities Group
Daon
Delta
Denso Wave
Diners Club
DNP
DOCOMO
East Japan Railway Company
eBank Corporation
E-Saifu
Family Mart
FeliCa
Credit and Finance Information System
Financial Services Agency
FSA
Fujitsu
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
Garmin Pay
General Electric Group
Ginza Lounge
Glassdoor
Global Payments
GMO Epsilon
GMO Payment Gateway
GoCoin
Golf Digest
Google Pay
GP Net
GP Network
Grab
Honda Motors
HSBC
IDEMIA
Indeed.com
Ingenico ePayments
J/Speedy
JACCS Card
JAL
Japan Airlines
Japan Card Network
Japan Credit Bureau
Japan Debit Card Promotion Association
Japan Electronic Payment Promotion Organisation
Japan Net Bank
Japan Post Bank
Japanese Credit Bureau
JCB
J-Coin
J-Coin Pay
J-Debit
JEPPO
JR East
KDDI
Kidzania Koshien
KidZania Tokyo
Korean Air
Kyash
Lawson
Life Card Co.
LINE
LINE Pay
Lloyds TSB
Manepa
Mastercard
McDonald's
Miraino Debit
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
Mitsubishi UFJ NICOS
Mizuho Bank
MMD Lab
Mobile Suica
MtGox
MUFG
MUFG Coin
MUFG Wallet
My Wallet
Nanaco
Naomi Osaka
NeoMobile Securities
New Otani
Nippon Pay
NTT
NTT Data Corporation
NTT DoCoMo
Olympic Games
OMC Card
Orico
Orient Corporation
Osaka Credit Bureau
PayGent
PayPay
Paytm
Persona STACIA
PGA Tour Champions
PRESTIA
Qubitous
QUICPay
QUOQ
Rakuten Bank
Rakuten Edy
Rakuten Pay
Recruit Group
Ripple
Rugby World Cup
S&P
Sakura Card Company
SBI Holdings
SBJ Bank
Seven & I Holdings
Seven Bank
Shinsei
Sky Traveler
Smartpay
SMBC Trust Bank
SMFG
Société Générale
Soft Space
Softbank
SoftBank Mobile
Sony
Sony Bank
Sony Payment Services
Square
Starbucks
Starwood Preferred Guest
Stripe
Suica
Sumishin SBI Net Ban
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
Sumitomo Mitsui Card Company
Sumitomo Mitsui Finance & Leasing
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group
Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank
Suruga Bank
Tap on Mobile
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
Tokyo Star Bank
Toppan Printing
Toyota Finance
TSYS
UBS Securities
UC Card
UnionPay
United
Universal Studios Japan
Verifone
Visa
VisaNet
V-Preca
Wako Tea Salon
WAON
WorldPay
XRP
Yahoo
Yahoo Japan
Yosakoi Soran Festival
Zengin

MORE ASIA-PACIFIC CARDS & PAYMENTS REPORTS

Verisk financial reports include detailed market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring, retail banking, and consumer credit in the Asia Pacific region. Analysts use primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and finance experts.

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