Emerging Technology and the Rise of Alternative Infrastructure in Wholesale Payment

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29 March 2020
Eiichiro Yanagawa

A global transformation of payments is underway, challenging incumbent providers and re-shaping long-established relationships, timescales and payment services. Nowhere is this more the case than in Japan, where far-reaching infrastructure renewal and emerging players are prompting a generational step-change.

Countries and regions around the world are accelerating implementing advancements in financial market infrastructure (FMI). These efforts go beyond initiatives to offer 24/7 real-time, payment infrastructure; rather they are evolving into an area of innovation for next-generation financial services via the provision of value-added services. Japan's payment infrastructure is at a critical stage, both in terms of the spread of emerging technologies and the rise of new business models.

Japan was ahead of the game when it launched the first iteration of the Zengin System in 1973, realizing real-time payments albeit limited to weekday daytime operation. Some 45 years later, the Zengin More Time System launched in October 2018, offering real-time payments possible around the clock. Likewise, other markets have updated payment infrastructures to support both real-time payment around-the-clock payments with the UK doing so in 2008 and North American and European countries and regions following suit by late 2017. Nevertheless, even as advancements in payment infrastructure become increasingly sophisticated, their usage by connected financial institutions varies greatly by country and region.

Payment Infrastructure Global Trends: 24/7 Real-Time Payment Developments

This series of reports is based on Celent's payment taxonomy and adopts four perspectives to examine Japan’s payment infrastructure: A) payment instruments and channels, B) corporate payments (wholesale payment services, large-value services), and C) retail payments (retail payment services (including retailers) and small-value payments services), and D) the current state of the financial market infrastructure (FMI). Part 1 of this series examined the Zengin System (the national bank data communication network system). Part 2 undertook an examination of the Bank of Japan Financial Network System (BOJ Net).

Part 3 of the series focuses on corporate payments, namely large-value payments and wholesale payments, and examines advances in payment infrastructure, promising new technologies and emerging service providers, and the inherent new value and related risk. In addition, this report addresses global trends essential to the discussion of advances in payment services and the creation of disruptive payment services, the current state of the Japanese market, and coming initiatives. Part 4 of the series will examine the diversification of payment instruments and channels, especially trends in small-value and retail payment services, coupled with an analysis of new operators and technology usage.

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