NTT DoCoMo acquires 34% stake in Japanese card firm

NTT DoCoMo acquires 34% stake in Japanese card firm

Japanese wireless operator NTT DoCoMo has confirmed that it is acquiring a 33.4% stake in Sumitomo Mitsui Cards for Y98bn as part of its plans to develop a new range of mobile payment services.

DoCoMo sources told reporters last week that the firm was in final talks to acquire a stake in Sumitomo Mitsui Cards, under plans to expand further into financial services. DoCoMo was also said to be looking at purchasing a ten per cent stake in JCB, although this has yet to be confirmed.

Sumitomo Mitsui Cards is Japan's second-largest credit card company with 12.8 million cardholders. The equity stake enables DoCoMo to take a cut of the fees Sumitomo Mitsui gets when customers use its cards. The deal will also give the card company access to DoCoMo's 49 million subscribers.

In today's statement, DoCoMo says it will team with Sumitomo Mitsui to launch a mobile payment service based on its 'wallet phone' which allows subscribers to pay for goods and services with handhelds embedded with contactless chip cards.

Under the deal, Sumitomo Mitsui will develop eftpos terminals that will enable customers to make payments with mobile-wallet handsets. The Sumitomo Mitsui Banking unit will also develop ATMs compatible with mobile wallet handsets.

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