E-Money Expanding to Overseas
Banks, insurers and securities firms in a number of Asian markets have been working to establish mobile payment services as an opportunity to grow their business. Now, mobile payment services initiatives are going inter-regional. NTT Docomo, a Japanese mobile carrier, and KT, a Korean mobile carrier, announced that they will embed Cashbee e-money, a prepaid stored value card of the LOTTE group in South Korea, in NTT Docomo’s smartphones. The technology used by Cashbee for mobile payments is the global mobile standard NFC. Cashbee, which can be used at more than 50,000 stores in South Korea, is a NFC-type payment card with a reward card function. Cashbee is available both as a plastic card and as a mobile contactless payment service. The number of Cashbee users is approximately 5 million in South Korea. Cashbee is offering its mobile payment service to KT customers in South Korea and it will now be offering this service to NTT Docomo users too. Most of NTT Docomo’s smartphones are embedded with Felica, Sony’s contactless payment technology which has penetrated the Japan market. In addition, NTT Docomo has announced that they will embed NFC in their smartphones from winter 2012. With the increase of smartphone users and smartphone uses by overseas travellers, customers needs are becoming more complex and detailed. The KT – NTT Docomo tie-up will allow Docomo smartphone users to make mobile contactless payments at Cashbee locations when they travel to South Korea. The NFC market has just begun in terms of international business models. I expect that we will see more initiatives like this one, as mobile payment providers and mobile carriers look to expand internationally to seek new revenue sources and business opportunities.