Is Japan on its way towards a cashless society?


Japan, being world’s third largest economy, is second in rank when it comes to using cash for payments. (The Paypers)

The Japanese government has launched an initiative to accelerate the spread of cashless payment habits throughout the country, hoping that cashless payment makes up for 40% of total transactions by 2020. According to an article publish by The Japan Times, the share of cashless payments among household consumption was 24.8 percent, “up 2.7 percentage points year on year” and standing at a record high. App Ape data also bodes well for the future of Japan’s cashless landscape:

The above graph shows the trend of MAU for 4 Japanese cashless (QR) payment apps. It is self-evident that every of those four apps, PayPay in particular, has seen a whopping increase in their user base over the past two years, showing no signs of slowing down.

Individually speaking, PayPay, being the most used payment app in Japan, had 70% of its users engaged with the app in September. Moreover, in the same month, 90% of PayPay Android users launched the app between 1 to 5 times on daily basis.

But promoting such mobile applications is not the only initiative that the Japanese government has established to speed up the diffusion of cashless concept. In a recent effort, “My Number Point”, a government reward point program, was introduced as a way to not only boost cashless economy, but also “mitigate the negative effects” of last year’s (October 2019) hike in consumption tax which saw a rise of 2% in taxes to 10%.(The Japan Times). The My Number Point program gives back maximum 25% percent of purchase value (cashless purchase, of course) in points to be redeemed later by consumers.

If App Ape’s Trend Radar is any indication, The “My Na Point” mobile application (developed for My Number Point program) seems to have been well-received over the past few months. The app has seen a remarkable increase of over 230% in its MAU.

Banks seems to have also been included in this cashless game. Some major Japanese banks have started to work on cutting or reducing (interbank) online money transfer fees in a bid to support government’s efforts and plans of making Japan a cashless society.(The Japan Times)

The Register, quoting a market research firm called eMarketer, reports that it is estimated that “23.9m people will use cashless payments this year, up from 19.1m people last year. By 2023, that figure is projected to grow to 27.6m – a quarter of the country’s population.”

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