Apple Pay Japan added nine new card issuers announced on a dedicated Apple Pay New Life (now gone) web page and marketing campaign: APLUS, EPOS, JACCS, Cedyna, POCKETCARD, Life, AMEX, UCS (listed as coming soon) and late straggler Yahoo Japan Card. The page showcases the new major additions along with special kickoff campaigns running from March 1 to April 30 for previous and new partners.
The full official participation of American Express ( 3rd party bank branded AMEX cards are still extremely limited) and JACCS are major additions for Japan which until now were big sticking points for many potential Apple Pay users. Shinsei Bank subsidiary APLUS which is the main card issuer for the Tsutaya video rental chain is a major addition for many as well. Apple Pay ready terminals recently appeared at Tsutaya stores in preparation for the new rollout.
All of these new card plug into the two pay systems that Apple Pay uses: AMEX, APLUS, EPOS, JACCS, UCS, Yahoo Japan Card use QUICPay, Cedyna, POCKETCARD, Life use iD. Japanese news site MyNavi reports that with these new additions Apple Pay now supports 86% of Japanese credit cards. Not a bad result just four months after the Apple Pay launch.
Asahi Digital also reported the Apple Pay effect with Bank of Japan data that showed e-payments (defined as transit and debit card transactions such as Suica) reaching 5.1 trillion JPY in 2016, approximately 45 billion USD at current exchange rates, a 10.8% YOY increase.
As I wrote earlier the Apple Pay marketing campaigns for this rollout are interesting with more listed on the Apple Pay New Life page. Hopefully there will be many diet wrecking campaigns to come. The Apple Pay bank and card issuer list for Japan has been updated with the latest additions.
VISA is the last major holdout yet to sign on with Apple Pay in Japan. Dinners Club is also missing but a distant second place holdout. Currently VISA issue Japanese cards only have ‘backdoor’ Apple Pay support for store purchasing with the iD and QUICPay pay systems used by Apple Pay. VISA loaded Apple Pay cards cannot be used for adding money to Suica, or for in-app and web purchases. Details are on Apple Pay Japan Intro Q&A.
Last but not least Yahoo Japan Card joined the Apple Pay parade today, two days late. Parent company SoftBank is notorious for negotiating deals to the last possible second but didn’t make the March 1 cut. Yahoo Japan Card is issued through JCB and MasterCard and uses the QUICPay payment system. The launch campaign goodies are here, the usual T-Point give away that you might expect: a 50,000 T-Point lottery gimmick. My review of Apple Pay Japan Campaign Swag is here.
Apple Pay Japan partners are also running their own Apple Pay TV ads: