Japanese firms unify e-money bill-settlement devices

29 Sep 2006

(Kyodo News International via NewsEdge) Four operators of electronic-money services in Japan have agreed to introduce uniform bill-settlement devices at stores and restaurants next spring in a bid to make their services more user-friendly and increase the number of customers.

The four are East Japan Railway which operates the Suica electronic money card service, NTT DoCoMo, bitWallet, and JCB, which runs the QUICPay service.

To date, the operators have employed devices with different standards for accepting cards, presenting an obstacle in the way of expanding the number of businesses introducing their services as well as the number of customers.

The four services have a combined 40 million users and can be used in 100,000 shops and restaurants.

Their adoption of common settlement devices may speed up the diffusion of electronic money services.

The newly developed reading device will be used at some of Aeon's supermarket shops from early 2007, and at the Lalaport Yokohama shopping center that opens in the city of Yokohama from next March.

The service operators aim to introduce 100,000 such devices within five years.

Under the four firms' agreement, the Edy and QUICPay operators will adopt standards for common devices being developed by JR East and NTT DoCoMo.

The four firms will call on UFJ Nicos to participate in the group using the common reading devices for the credit card firm's 'Smart Plus' mobile phone-based settlement technology.

© 2006 Kyodo News International

© 2006 Dialog, a Thomson business. All rights reserved

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