Monday, December 04, 2006

Study Abroad Japan: Smart Cards

Japanese Customers are getting accustomed to using and carrying smart cards in their daily lives. Payless payment systems or often called "smart cards" are taking off in Japan. Popular cards include Suica a card that allows users to pay for train travel on Japan Railways lines and for items at convenience stores and vending machines.

"I carry my Suica card everywhere I go, it's convenient for purchasing items without using cash" Noriko, a university student discussing the benefits of smart cards. Four major companies involved in the roll out of payless systems reach agreement this week to integrate their different types of scanners.

According to the Daily Yomiuri article "4 companies unite to unify smart cards" September 28, 2006 "The four services are Bitwallet,East Japan Railway Co.'s; NTT DoCoMo,and QUICPay...The number of people registered as users of Edy is 21 million: Suica 17.5 million: iD 750,000 and QUICPay 70,000".

The article goes on to describe that "About 40 million people will use the new scanning system from next spring at the earliest". This is an amazing market sixe and shows the success and popularity of such systems with Japanese Customers.

The convenience of payless, the reduced need to carry cash, the simplicity of receiving one bill with all purchases recorded have allowed the concept to catch on quickly with Japanese Customers particularly younger technology savvy consumers who rely, use and depend on their mobile phone for communicating and keeping up to date.

Photo: of a Suica card

Photo: Suica vending machine customers - view

Photo: explanation of how to use the suica card with the vending machine

Photo: Suica mascot on side of vending machine.

Learn more about Suica at Wikipedia

Study Abroad Japan - the last true adventure!

Learn more at Study in Japan