As previously leaked as early as September 2018, Mizuho Bank, a core subsidiary of Mizuho Financial Group, announced last week the launch of its “J-Coin Pay” smartphone payment service using QR codes for March 1, supported by a consortium of about 60 Japanese financial institutions, and implementing its own JPY-pegged stablecoin, “J-Coin”.
While we have recently seen various regional financial institutions working on developing their own stablecoins, tied into their local ecosystem (see for example: “First Bank Coin of Toyama”), the Mizuho effort unites a large number of banks under common branding and a single implementation.
Very similar to the other contenders in the Japan cashless payment wars, “J-Coin Pay” provides functionality to send and receive funds, pay with the smartphone and make deposits/withdrawals to/from participating financial institution’s bank accounts. The service’s motto is ”Anytime · Anywhere · Free“.
With the “J-Coin Pay” app, Mizuho Bank and the participating financial institutions aim to support the promotion of cashless payments in Japan. As we have reported before, the Government of Japan aims to achieve a cashless ratio of 40% (twice the current rate) by 2025 (please refer to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry [METI] “Cashless vision” from April 2018).
Following the motto “Anytime · Anywhere”, the app is designed for use not only in urban areas, but also in rural Japan, and will thus also support regional revitalization programs.
Following the motto “Anyone”, Mizuho is also aiming to promote use of the smartphone application among elderly people (the only requirement is having a savings account). Through cooperation with overseas QR operators, foreign visitors to Japan are also targeted by the app. It is possible to transfer funds not only stores but also between individuals. Funds transfers are possible among all participating financial institutions.
The smartphone app will be available for iOS and Android on March 1, 2019. Registration of Mizuho Bank’s savings account is also possible from that date, and other bank accounts of participating financial institutions will be expanded sequentially after March 25, with detailed announcements to follow.