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Japan Country Report

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  • Published Date: July 2018 – Updated report available October 2020

A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in Japan.


  • Japan is a cash-based economy. There is little crime in the country, but card counterfeiting is a legitimate fear. This means that consumers are happy to use cash for low-value transactions.
  • Credit cards are the most popular non-cash payment tool in the country: during 2017, 97 per cent of credit card billed volume was carried out at the POS.
  • Debit cards are mostly used to withdraw cash at the ATM. Internationally-branded debit cards have a limited, but growing, presence in the market.
  • In Japan, outstanding balances on credit cards are usually settled in full at the end of the grace period, incurring no interest. This means that the rollover rate, which stood at 13 per cent in 2017, is very low by international standards.
  • E-money purses integrated into payment cards and mobile phones for quick and convenient contactless transactions both at the POS and online are widely used.
  • Merchant revenue and non-interest revenue are major components of credit card revenue, accounting for 44 per cent and 29 per cent respectively in 2017.
  • Visa has established itself as the leading credit card brand in Japan with an estimated 133 million cards in circulation at the end of 2017, representing a market share of 49 per cent.
  • J-Debit had a market share of 98.5 per cent in terms of debit cards in issue at the end of 2017, followed by JCB and Visa with 0.7 per cent each.
  • SMFG, which includes Sumitomo Mitsui Card Company and Cedyna Financial Corporation, is the leading credit cards issuer in Japan with an estimated 16 per cent market share at the end of 2017.
  • Card companies require merchants to sign an acquiring agreement with each card company they plan to accept. High costs due to duplicate services and low economies of scale are passed on to the merchant in the form of relatively high MSCs.

Japan Payments Research | Report Contents

Demographics and Economy:
Outlines the key metrics and trends which influence the development of retail banking and payments in the country:

  • Population structure
  • Income
  • Mobile and internet use
  • Economic data

Retail Banking:
Explores the structure of the local banking system, its infrastructure and the leading players. Data includes:

  • Aggregate retail banking indicators
  • Bank branch, ATMs and POS terminals
  • The profitability of top banks

Consumer Finance:
Overview of consumer finance in the country. Categories analysed include:

  • Mortgage loans
  • Personal loans
  • Credit card loans
  • Vehicle loans

Credit Cards:
Industry-leading credit card coverage. We detail the past present and future of the industry through our data and commentary, including:

  • Market size split by consumer and commercial credit cards: number of cards, transaction volume, billed volume
  • Profit pool analysis
  • Competitive landscape: networks, issuers

Debit Cards:

  • Market size: number of cards, transaction volume, billed volume
  • Competitive landscape: networks, issuers

Prepaid Cards:

  • Market size: number of cards, transaction volume, billed volume


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.

See more Asia-Pacific Country Reports or explore the full range of cards and payments reports available for 72 markets worldwide.

To find out more or to discuss subscription options, please email: research_enquiries@verisk.com or telephone: +44(0)20 7337 4200.