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In Japan, credit cards are the most common payment method. The top payment methods in Japan are credit card (59.5%), Konbini (16.6%), billing receipts (11.6%), electronic money (4.7%), and bank transfers (3.5%). Konbini is a unique payment method in Japan: after placing an order online, the customer is given a unique payment reference number that can be paid at a kiosk terminal found in stores such as CVS. [1]

Domestic and Preferred Card Schemes

70% Credit/Debit Cards 11% Cash 10% Online Banking 5% eWallets 3% Mobile 1% Prepaid [2]

About 85% of Japanese population have one or more creditcards. About half of the cardholding population have a JCB card, followed by Visa, MasterCard and Diners and American Express. Japanese payment methods for online use include credit cards, prepaid cards and wallets (Edy) as well as offline methods such as cash on delivery and bank transfers. Payment at convenience stores, called Konbini, is one of the more popular bash-based payment methods for online shopping.

Alternative Payment Methods

• Bank Transfer: the transfer of funds from one account to another within the same or interbank, as long as supported.

• Cash on Delivery: the sale of goods by mail order where payment is made on delivery rather than in advance.

• Mobile Suica: mobile payment system for use in Japan's major cities and towns.

• PayPal: online payments and money transfer service that allows you to send money via email, phone, text message or Skype. Founded in 1998, PayPal offers products to both individuals and businesses alike, including online vendors, auction sites and corporate users.

• Pay-easy: payment solutions for the purchase of digital content over the web. The PayEasy system interfaces with digital content providers, billing agents, online payment providers, and consumers to streamline the business of online content delivery such as music, software products, games, articles, icons, pictures or titles.

• Yahoo! Easy Payment: online payment service mainly used on Yahoo! Japan Auction.[3]

Other Payment Methods


Digital Invoicing


Customer Experience



Japan is one of the few markets worldwide where cross-border acquiring on a like-for-like basis is actually more cost effective than the domestic acquiring rate, meaning a cross-border approach is advised for international credit cards. However, it should be noted that a local entity is required for Konbini. [4]

Payments Regulation


Local entities

Nanaco is an electronic money system issued by Seven & Holdings, a retail company in Japan. The system launched in 2007 and is issued alternatively in the form of cards or as JAVA application downloaded to a mobile phone. Nanaco is used by Ido-Yokado retailer.

Waon is a Japanese electronic money system introduced by retailer AEON from 2007. It is a rechargeable contactless smart card and, like other FeliCa-based systems, Waon has a mobile payment system, known as Mobile Waon.

The Osaifu-Keitai mobile wallet was launched in 2004 and is one of Japan’s most used m-payment standard. Osaifu-Keitai wallet for smartphones incorporates Sony’s contactless mobile FeliCa payment technology. This is based on radio frequency identi cation (RFID) technology allowing phones to communicate with other RFID- enabled devices, such as turnstiles at train stations and contactless card readers in shops, so purchases can be made using e-money.[5]

Mobile payments



For Japanese consumers it is most important to have free delivery of orders. An average transit time of 6.3 days is being accepted (global average). Comfortable home delivery, flexible opening hours, and complete price transparency are the central drivers for distance selling in Japan. When ordering from abroad, the fear of fraudulent intentions is the major barrier for Japanese distance selling clients. With more than 50% agreement, this value is significantly above the global average. Lack of product availability and lower prices are the main drivers for cross-border shopping.[6]


To return a product seems to be a sign of discourtesy in the opinion of Japanese distance selling customers. Barely every seventh consumer returned products in the past. The rate of returns is with 2% respectively low and significantly below the global average. A return is mainly caused by a faulty product. It almost never happens in Japan that a product is returned because the consumer is generally unsatisified with it. So far, it has been unthinkable in Japan to purposefully order several variants for selection.[7]


Japan‘s society is very much concentrated in urban areas. Accordingly, the majority of eCommerce customers lives in urban centers. The group of heavy users can be increasingly found in the group of older consumers, who do not work anymore. Within this group only 46.4% are using mobile devices, which is significantly below the global average.[8]

Import Duties



In the eye of Japanese consumers price comparison websites are considered as most useful, followed by search engines. Consequently classic media, such as advertising letters, billboard advertisement and radio are less valued within the Japanese target group.[9]

As a country, Japan is a pioneer in technology innovations and is home to one of the most inventive commerce companies in the world (Rakuten). As an example, Japan’s mobile conversion rate is the highest in the world among leading eCommerce countries and is more than double the conversion rate of the United States.[10]



Social Media


Major shopping categories

The leading internet retail category in Japan is ‘Apparel and Footwear’ with USD 7.6 billion (JPY 818 billion) value in 2013. [11]

Major retail holidays

There many local holidays and traditions that can be used for a themed seasonal sales push (New Year, Hanami season, “ochûgen” – mid-summer presents, etc.). Adding to that Japan has happily adapted various western (Christian) holidays for marketing purposes. Although only 2% of Japanese are Christian, big marketing campaigns are run every year in time for Christmas, Halloween or Valentine’s Day. Easter is not (yet?) widely known in Japan, though.[12]

Japan consistently has higher online spending in the summer months when Japanese firms are known to give yearly summer bonuses. In 2015, the average bonus was approximately $2,900 and spending primarily focused on luxury goods, leisure, and travel.[13]

Legal / Regulatory


FX Policies



85% of the Japanese distance selling clients mainly place their orders via PC. Around every tenth person uses a tablet or smartphone. Only 3% use online ordering channels.[14]


There is a large scale penetration rate of smartphones in Japan and, although mobile fraud levels are low today, this may be expected to change as mobile commerce increases. A recent survey has found that, in line with other Asia Paci c consumers, improved personal data security is a key driver for increasing the adoption of transactions and communications over mobile in Japan. International online merchants looking to expand across borders into Japan will bene t from robust online security and fraud prevention capabilities, ensuring they are well placed to attract and retain consumers as the ecommerce market grows.[15]

Mobile appetite

While Japan boasts one of the world’s most advanced mobile broadband infrastructures, smartphone and tablet device ownership is generally low. Just 23% of respondents own a smartphone, 9% a tablet. Spending is comparably tiny on these devices, with just 1% of total online spend made via mobile. [16]


  1. Ekos Global "Global ECommerce Payment Methods in China-APAC"
  2. Expert Market "Online Payment Methods Around the World."
  3. The Paypers "Payment Methods Japan"
  4. Adyen. Global E-Commerce Payments Guide. 2015.
  5. The Paypers "Payment Methods Japan"
  6. DHL eCommerce "Shop the World!"
  7. DHL eCommerce "Shop the World!"
  8. DHL eCommerce "Shop the World!"
  9. DHL eCommerce "Shop the World!"
  10. PFS eCommerce Solutions "PFS Japan Country Guide"
  11. The Paypers "The Paypers eCommerce Japan Country Guide Report"
  12. the Plant "Launching eCommerce in Japan"
  13. PFS eCommerce Solutions "PFS Japan Country Guide"
  14. DHL eCommerce "Shop the World!"
  15. The Paypers "Payment Methods Japan"
  16. Worldpay. [www.Worldpay.com/global_shopper "Global Shopper."]