This updated version as of October 2023 provides a refreshed and accurate insight into Japan’s digital payment landscape, incorporating the latest trends and statistics available.


Japan, a land where tradition meets innovation, has a distinctive market known for its unique consumer behaviors and advanced technological adoption. It’s a place where the past and the future coexist, and this narrative extends to its payment landscape as well.

The Japanese market is a fascinating blend of conventional and modern payment methodologies. On one side, there’s a deeply ingrained preference for cash transactions, reflecting the society’s value for privacy and exactness. On the flip side, the e-commerce wave is sweeping across the nation, accelerated by the global pandemic, and bringing with it a tide of digital payment options.

With an e-commerce turnover projected to be between US$153.98 billion and US$155.10 billion in 2023, Japan is undeniably a lucrative market for both local and global payment service providers. As the 4th largest e-commerce market globally, its low cross-border shopping rates pose a unique challenge and opportunity for market players.

Credit cards, bank transfers, and digital wallets are making headway, driven by consumer demands for convenience and contactless transactions. Innovations like QR code payments and Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) schemes are slowly gaining traction, attempting to break through the cash-dominant barrier.

In this article, we’ll stroll through the various payment avenues in Japan, shining a light on local nuggets and global actors weaving the fabric of Japan’s payment landscape. From the ubiquity of Konbini (convenience store) payments to the rising popularity of digital wallets like LinePay and PayPay, we’ll delve into how the traditional and the modern coalesce in Japan’s payment ecosystem.

Payment by cardΒ 

Japan stands as the 4th largest e-commerce market globally. However, it has some of the lowest cross-border shopping rates worldwide, with just over 13% of Japanese consumers shopping on overseas websites. In 2023, credit cards remain the most prevalent cashless payment method, further propelled by a 7.5% growth in the card payments market, reaching JPY97.3 trillion ($742.4 billio​n3).

Local actors: JCB, J-Debit

JCB logo Β JDebit Logo

Payment by bank transfer

Pay-easy continues to be a renowned brand in Japan, offering a seamless interface for online bank payments. Shoppers can either complete the payment online or note the payment reference to pay at an ATM, with a vast network of Pay-easy branded ATMs available across Japan.

Local actor: Pay-easy

Pay-easy payment method

Payment by cash payments

Konbini (which means “convenience store” in Japanese) payments are the second most popular payment method in Japan. It is a local cash payment method that allows consumers to order goods and services online and pay for them at a convenience store counter.

More than 55,000 convenience stores, including 7-Eleven, Lawson and FamilyMart accept Konbini.

FamilyMart logoΒ  Lawson logo

Payment by installment and BNPL

The need to provide multiple interest-free installment options in Japan is low. That is why there are so few players present in this sector. In 2021, U.S. fintech giant PayPal acquires Tokyo-based Paidy Inc. for Β₯300 billion, an unprecedented price for a Japanese startup.

Local actor: Paidy

Paidy logo

Payment by digital wallet and X-Pay

The mobile payments landscape in Japan is evolving swiftly. LINE’s mobile messaging service is a key player. It boasts nearly 40% market share. This is a testament to the sector’s growth. A recent survey provided more insight. Around 29.7% of respondents reported using one QR code payment service. In contrast, 41.2% did not use any. This indicates a potential growth area​4​.

With local actors such as: LinePay, RPay, Mer Pay, Au Pay, D-Barai, PayPay

LINEPay logo Β RPay logo MerPay logo Β auPay logoΒ  NTTDocomo logo PayPay logo

 


 

Payment methods in Japan interesting you? You want more? Access to the #PayWorldTour libraryΒ 

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