Security concerns have shackled consumers’ adoption of digital payment technology in Japan, where many still rely on tried-and-true purchase tools like cash and credit cards. But that’s changing now, with a growing interest in mobile payments, which seem to be helping make digital purchasing more attractive to the country’s consumers and retailers.
An October 2016 survey of smartphone users in Japan by advertising firm Hakuhodo found that more than 31% of respondents were interested in consolidating various payment functions on their smartphones. Among male smartphone users, the number was even higher, with 41.3% of respondents saying they were interested.
The concept behind payment consolidation has existed for more than a decade in Japan, in the form of a technology standard called “Osaifu-Keitai” (mobile wallet). Consumers have been able to use their smartphones to pay for public transit tickets, while also storing personal information such as credit cards, loyalty cards and personal identification.
The increasing popularity of the system hasn’t been lost on hardware manufacturers like Apple, which has worked to standardize newer versions of its iPhone and the Apple Pay system to align with Japanese payment standards.