Japan boasts an overall environment that is favorable for mobile payments. According to the results of the latest MasterCard Mobile Payments Readiness Index (MPRI) that is on display this week at Sibos in Osaka, Japan earned the number six spot on the Index which analyzed 34 countries and their readiness to use three types of mobile payments: person to person, mobile web commerce and mobile contactless payments at the point of sale.
The Index found that while Japan scored well on most of the components measured, consumer readiness is the critical success factor to drive mobile payments adoption in Japan.
While Japanese consumers are not yet ready for all three varieties of mobile payments, they do show some interest in m-commerce. 20% of Japanese consumers are familiar with mobile payments at point-of-sale, while only 8% are willing to use the capability. The gap between consumer willingness to use mobile payments and their familiarity with the concept is the key barrier that needs to be overcome before market adoption will accelerate.
Japan scored particularly well in the areas of financial services, mobile commerce clusters, and infrastructure. According to the Index, Japan has the most extensive range of financial services in the world. At 91%, Japanese financial services received exceptional ratings for how well they treat consumers.
"Japan has many of the right elements in place for mobile payments to flourish. A very large economy built upon a well-banked, highly educated population that has a strong awareness and appreciation for leading technologies makes Japan a very exciting market for the advancement of electronic payments," said Robert Luton, division president, Japan, MasterCard Worldwide.
"Besides having the right infrastructure and advanced technology, strategic collaborations with key players of the mobile payments industry will help accelerate progress. Just three weeks ago, MasterCard collaborated with NTT DOCOMO, the country's leading mobile operator to expand mobile payments options for consumers in Japan, which enables them to enjoy the benefits of mobile payments when traveling overseas," added Luton.
"Although sophisticated technology developments are already in place, the gap between consumer willingness to use mobile payments and their familiarity with the concept signifies that more consumer education is necessary before we see broad acceptance," concluded Luton.
The MPRI identified Singapore, Canada, the United States, Kenya and South Korea as the most prepared markets. The Index indicates that while it's early stages for mobile payments adoption, all markets globally - either highly scaled and integrated ones like the United Kingdom or compact and technology-driven ones like Singapore - are making progress towards reaching an inflection point where mobile devices account for an appreciable share of the payments mix.
In addition, findings of the MPRI reveal that partnerships among the key players in the mobile payments ecosystem are essential to accelerate the commercialization of mobile payments. Cooperation and collaboration among financial institutions, telcos, governments, technology providers and others can foster an environment that enables a market to reach critical mass.
Other key findings include:
- Nine of the 10 markets with the highest consumer scores are in APMEA (Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa).
- Of the three mobile payment types, more consumers had engaged in m-commerce in 71 percent of the countries surveyed.
- In developing economies, consumers are typically drawn to mobile payments for access to the larger economy, both national and global, as well as to a regulated and secure economic infrastructure. Consumers in the developed world are drawn to the convenience of mobile phone payments.