– DOCOMO brings along a nationwide network of sales resources
– Mutual cooperation between the three partners will accelerate growth of cashless payments
LINE Pay Corporation, Merpay Inc. and NTT DOCOMO, INC. have signed a letter of intent for a business alliance to make cashless transactions more widely available. In addition, DOCOMO will join the Mobile Payment Alliance (MoPA), an alliance of merchant stores established by LINE Pay and Merpay to further popularize cashless payments in Japan.
Through this business alliance, the three companies will promote the introduction of their mobile payment services, LINE Pay, Merpay, and d BaraiTM, to stores and businesses. Each plan to make their own app capable of handling QR code scanning and payments for the other two partners’ merchant-presented mode (MPM) code payment services. Businesses only need to set up a QR code from any one of the three services to begin accepting payments from users of all three, reducing both the burden of implementing a new system and enabling acquisition of many potential new customers. Users will also benefit from being able to use their chosen payment method at more stores.
With DOCOMO joining MoPA, the companies anticipate that DOCOMO’s nationwide network of sales resources will further increase the number of merchants. Additionally, the three companies expect to mutually benefit from introducing the others’ payment services to current merchants of their own service. By bringing the three companies and their large userbases together, the alliance envisions an even more convenient experience for both consumers and merchants.
The Mobile Payment Alliance (MoPA)
As cashless transactions have become increasingly popular throughout Japan, the number of businesses entering the mobile payment market has become what has been described as “all out chaos.” The countless options offered by smartphone payment businesses in particular has placed a bigger burden on merchants and made operations more complicated, confusing not just consumers but also impeding the development of a cashless society. It is against this background that LINE Pay and Merpay made two announcements in March 2019: the formation of a business alliance to accelerate cashless services in Japan, and plans to set up a merchant alliance named the Mobile Payment Alliance (MoPA). While a tentative name at the time of the announcement, the name Mobile Payment Alliance became official, and a new logo conceived to symbolize the alliance’s aim of promoting cashless transactions. Depicting four smartphones, the logo represents cooperation between smartphone payment providers in spurring on a cashless future.
The two companies have begun business cooperation between LINE Pay and Merpay, and are currently developing a feature that enables merchants to accept payments from users on both sides, so long as either the LINE Pay or Merpay merchant-presented mode (MPM) code(3) payment service has been set up. In future, Merpay and LINE Pay aim to expand the partnership by encouraging other payment service providers in favor of the alliance’s goals and purpose to join.
Initiatives so far
LINE Pay Corporation has been providing its digital wallet service LINE Pay to users in Japan and overseas since December 2014. In November 2018, the company teamed up with Chinese service WeChat Pay, Korean service NAVER Pay, and the LINE Pay services in Taiwan and Thailand, and announced the formation of the LINE Pay Global Alliance to connect users with Japanese merchants. Under the alliance, the aim is to make LINE Pay into the number one domestic payment service for inbound tourists. Efforts to achieve the alliance’s concept both domestically and abroad have already begun in earnest, with this month seeing LINE Pay begin a service partnership with NAVER Pay, and forming a new partnership with Korean payment service Payco.
Merpay Inc. launched its mobile payment service Merpay in February 2019. Not only has Merpay been expanding its userbase since, but has also been driving its strategy of “openness” by forming partnerships across different industries — all aimed at rapidly establishing a cashless society in Japan. To date, it has already signed letters of intent with Mitsui Sumitomo Card, KDDI, and JCB.
NTT DOCOMO, INC. released its mobile payment service “d Barai” in April 2018. Since then, it has been leveraging the advantages of its “d POINT” loyalty program to increase the number of merchants and expand its service lineup. From autumn 2019, the company plans to add a wallet feature (allowing users to send money) and a mini app which can access to merchant’s services without leaving the d Barai app.