Apple Pay Japan 8 Months in: Winners and Losers


Japanese IT journalist Junya Suzuki continues his excellent coverage of all things contactless and Apple Pay Japan. In his latest piece for Business Insider Japan he looks at the contactless payment market changes and winners 8 months after the Apple Pay Japan launch.

As indicated before, JCB and their QUICPay network are the clear winners. JCB has been the most aggressive supporter of Apple Pay from the start, QUICPay and JCB card brand member growth has been ‘off the chart’ at 25% and 10% YOY respectively. Suzuki san doesn’t mention VISA but I suspect that many former VISA card users like myself, have switched to JCB as Japanese VISA cards do not fully support Apple Pay.

JCB also paved the way for Apple Pay Japan by rolling out QUICPay+ just before Apple Pay launched. QUICPay+ supports debit and prepaid cards in addition to credit cards, and also removed the 20,000 JPY spending cap of QUICPay.

JCB also shared a very interesting data point with Suzuki san, once Japanese users switch from physical cards, three credit cards on average, to Apple Pay they use it a lot: a 60% monthly usage rate which Suzuki san says is very high for the market.

Apple Pay Japan still faces some challenges. Apple needs to add remaining major transit cards and vendors need to add full Apple Pay support (Suica, QUICPay, iD), not just Suica. With the possibility of FeliCa support going worldwide with the next iPhone, the growing impact of Apple Pay Japan should be very interesting.