Line, the maker of a digital chat app in Japan, disclosed on Tuesday (May 30) that close to half of its domestic chat app users are also using its payment app.
According to a report, the number of Japanese residents registered to use Line Pay stands at 30 million. In 2014, Line added mobile payments to its offering and since then has inked deals with 30 banks in Japan to enable instant transactions on its mobile network. Customers are also able to load the app with prepaid credit in convenience stores and via bank transfers. In March of last year the company expanded further by rolling out a prepaid card that links with the Line app and provides loyalty points when used at certain retailers.
In a statement, Line said it “will continue to pursue its vision of transforming the Line platform into a smart portal, giving users seamless access to an array of information, media, and services.” The company said “Line Pay fits into that vision by improving convenience and providing more opportunities to use e-payments with Line’s various lifestyle services,” the company said.
Currently the company’s main chat app has 68 million Japanese users and 214 million in total in 230 countries. Line offers more than just payments as a way to differentiate. It also offers games, sticker creation software, a security system and camera app, the report said.
The number of Japanese consumers that are using the payment app is telling, given that the country has been slow to embrace it as a payment method. Though consumers are growing more comfortable with it, there are still concerns about the security associated with storing credit card information on a device. In August, a study by research firm Meiji Yasuda looking at payment methods of Japan’s internet users in physical stores found close to 70 percent of consumers across every age group mainly used cash when purchasing something. The study found that it was more than double the percentage of Japanese internet users who typically pay via a digital payment method. “This hesitant embrace of digital payments has come up in previous investigations of Japanese transaction habits,” the report said.