Retail Payments in Japan: A Land of Contrasts and Opportunity

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7 January 2014
Zilvinas Bareisis


The Japanese retail payments market is full of contrasts and unique traits which can be difficult for outsiders to grasp. Contrasts notwithstanding, it also presents opportunities for players both inside and outside of Japan.

In the report, Retail Payments in Japan: A Land of Contrasts and Opportunity, Celent aims to shed light on the retail payments market in Japan. The report is an overview aimed primarily at those seeking to get an introduction to payments in Japan. The market overview is organised into three main sections:

  1. Cash, credit and debit cards
  2. E-money, contactless and prepaid instruments
  3. E-commerce market and key payment instruments

Japan, with its rich and distinctive culture, has always posed a challenge to foreigners seeking to understand its ways. Despite Japan’s deserved reputation as an advanced payments market, it remains a cash-heavy society. Credit cards are popular, although the numbers have remained flat in recent years. On the other hand, transactions on debit cards are virtually non-existent. Credit cards are issued by a broad range of companies, not just banks, and most serve as both issuers and acquirers. The e-commerce market is large and fast growing, and it has a number of unique payment methods, such as konbini.

“Domestic and international players interested in the Japanese payments market have a number of opportunities with different risk and investment profiles,” says Zilvinas Bareisis, Senior Analyst with Celent’s Banking Group and author of the report. “For example, in Celent’s view, all issuers should be considering a mobile app with sophisticated capabilities for cardholders to manage their cards and engage with their finances. However, some opportunities around mobile payments are likely to be suitable for selected players only.”

This report provides an overview of the market, discusses some of the latest trends and developments, and suggests potential opportunities for card issuers and their technology partners. The report also suggests potential market opportunities for card issuers and their technology partners.

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Insight details

Retail Banking
Subscription(s) required to access this Insight:
Banking, >>Retail & Business Banking
Insight Format
Geographic Focus