Tap your cell phone or your contactless card and you’re in business. That’s the purpose behind a new venture of two credit card companies and a mobile phone supplier.
QUICPay (Quick and Useful IC Payment) is a new payment solution for cards with contactless IC chips. Its development was recently announced jointly by the parties involved: JCB, Japan’s largest credit card issuer, AEON Credit Service, a retail-affiliated credit card company, and NTT DoCoMo. The chip is designed to work in NTT DoCoMo smart-card handsets, which are capable of using the i-mode Felica® mobile wallet service.
A QUICPay trial project is scheduled to begin this fall. If it’s successful, JCB and AEON representatives said they plan to invite other credit card companies to participate in cooperation with NTT DoCoMo.
JCB spokesman, Executive Officer Atushi Gondo, said the company’s goal “is to increase user-friendliness and at the same time maintain healthy growth in the credit industry. We believe that QUICPay benefits not only consumers, but merchants and card companies as well.”
Adding a cell phone to the mix with its “visual and communication elements, make this payment system fun as well as user-friendly,” he said.
When the customer applies for the service, part of his existing credit limit is assigned to a specific contactless IC chip, which may be embedded in a plastic card, or incorporated in his i-mode FeliCa service compatible cell phone. As the QUICPay amount is billed to the customer’s existing credit card, he can also receive his existing credit card loyalty point and mileage benefits.
Another advantage: while users of prepaid cards must track the remaining value and take the time to reload it with cash, with QUICPay, they can increase the credit line amount during a payment transaction at any service supported store.
Yet, QUICPay’s most prominent advantage, according to the joint venture, is the throughput speed compared to conventional cash payment. Transaction times of less than one second are standard for offline processing and, of course, no signature is required. That’s why the companies participating in QUICPay say it’s well-suited for merchants demanding quick turnaround, such as convenience stores, supermarkets, and fast food restaurants.
JCB, Japan’s largest card issuer and acquirer, launched its card business in 1961 and began expanding overseas in 1981. Its merchant network includes 11.7 million merchants in 189 countries and territories. Its cards are issued in 18 countries and territories, with 51.6 million card members. As part of its growth strategy, the company has formed alliances with more than 320 leading banks and financial institutions globally to increase merchant coverage and its card member base.
JCB was an early leader in the implementation of contactless payment systems, starting with a system for the Megaweb theme park in Odaiba offering visitors the choice of prepay or postpay by JCB card. Recent projects included participation in the preview of the i-mode FeliCa Service in March 2003, the e-METI JCB Business Card for employee purchases at METI canteens, and technological advances such as the DualPlus interface providing contact and contactless interface on a single chip. Contactless postpayment is also part of JCB’s Offica and Mobile Offica corporate solutions, currently in use by 10 Japanese companies..
NTT DoCoMo serves more than 48 million customers, offering a several leading-edge mobile multimedia services, including i-mode, which provides e-mail and internet access to over 41 million subscribers. In addition to wholly owned subsidiaries in Europe and North America, the company is expanding through alliances with mobile and multimedia service providers in Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America.
AEON Credit Service Co., Ltd. is a leading credit card company in Asia. Its AEON Card can be co-branded, like the TOYS R US Card. AEON has a user base of more than 12.1 million cardholders and has seen rapid development since it first set up operations in Hong Kong in 1987. Its reach has expanded into Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan and Shenzhen, China.