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Local payments in Japan - JCB, Konbini and Pay-Easy

Market overview

Japan is a large ecommerce market, given the high internet penetration rate and the large urban population. 75% of the over 127 million Japanese have purchased products online at least once. Latest studies show that nearly 90% of them have placed orders from mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

Ecommerce transactions in Japan have surpassed $100B in 2014, most of the electronic transactions taking place in the local market, with less than 20% of online shoppers buying products from abroad.

Japanese shoppers have spent $1.8B purchasing products from businesses located in the US and China. Merchants selling to shoppers in the US and China have exported products amounting to roughly $1.4B and $0.5B respectively. Following the US and China, the biggest markets for Japanese merchants are South Korea and Thailand.

Japanese is the official language, with more than 125 million speakers, making localization a key element in the Japanese ecommerce scenery.

Key payment methods

When it comes to preferred payment methods, credit and debit cards are the payment methods of choice, with 71% of transactions. Cash and convenience store payments (Konbini) are the second most used payment method, totaling 18% of transactions. Other payments methods, including Direct Debit, amount to only 11% of the total number of transactions.

Japan is no stranger to mobile payments either, being one of the first countries to introduce advanced electronic payment methods. The most popular mobile payment methods include smartcard chips and corresponding Java applications that link together mobile credit cards and e-money.

Visa and MasterCard are the two most popular card schemes used by Japanese shoppers, followed by JCB, American Express and other payment methods.

Alternative payment methods used by Japanese shoppers include:

  • Bank transfers
  • Cash
  • Mobile Suica - mobile payment system used in Japan's biggest cities
  • PayPal
  • Pay-easy
  • Yahoo! Easy payment - online payment service used on Yahoo! Japan Auctions

What Avangate offers

As of September 2011, over 70 million Japanese JCB cardholders were generating 9,600 billion yen in transactions annually. JCB holds a 40% market share in the Japanese credit card industry with no less than 56 million JCB cards in circulation.

In addition to Visa/MasterCard support, Avangate offers support for JCBKonbini and Pay-easy payments.

With over 25% of all Japanese Avangate transactions having been paid with JCB, supporting this payment method is highly important for merchants wanting to penetrate the Japanese ecommerce market.

Konbini is used to refer to payments made through local convenience stores throughout Japan. Konbini supports online payments for Japanese shoppers who don't use credit or debit cards, choosing to pay cash instead. Over 40,000 convenience stores across Japan accept Konbini payments for online purchases. Stores reserve products/services purchased online for a maximum of seven days, while shoppers can finish their payments using a payment ID received via email.

Offering support for Konbini and Pay-easy through a single page, Avangate gives merchants who sell in Japan access to both online and offline payment methods. Pay-easy is an online payment method that allows shoppers to pay for their purchase from their online bank account. They can also use ATMs to complete their payments, provided they make a note of the payment reference.

Avangate opens up the primarily cash-based Japanese culture to international merchants, enabling you to easily accept Konbini and Pay-easy payments and expand your business in the area.

Besides payment processing, Avangate also covers support and legal issues:

  • Customer support: +81 (0)3-4579-0155
  • Risk and anti-fraud management
  • Tax compliance