MoneyTap Puts Ripple to Work in Japanese Mobile Payments

March 9, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Japan has, oddly enough, been behind the curve a bit when it comes to mobile payments. A surprisingly large amount of its business is done in cash, and that’s left mobile payments in the lurch. That may be poised to change, however, thanks to a new release from a group of Japanese banks releasing the MoneyTap system, powered by the Ripple, or XRP, cryptocurrency.

With MoneyTap, the group’s customers will be able to settle transactions at most any time of the day or night, every day of the week. It’s said to be the first of its kind, and builds on earlier reports of a “consortium of payment card industries utilizing blockchain technology” that emerged back in December.

Flexibility is sorely needed in Japanese transactions; right now, any transaction that doesn’t take place on a weekday between 8:30 and 3:30 local time runs the risk of transaction delay. Though some efforts have been undertaken to try and expand this for the sake of easier processing, reports suggest that the costs of implementing systems that would be substantial at the least.

The app’s full release is slated for sometime this fall, and will feature Resona Bank, SBI Net Sumishin Bank and Suruga Bank as the first three to offer the service. The rest of the group, meanwhile, will follow suit at an even less determined date. Since the whole group covers 61 banks total that account for just over 80 percent of all of Japan’s banking assets at last report, it’s going to be fairly widespread.

As for the Ripple connection, word from SBI Ripple Asia’s CEO Takashi Okita suggests that it’s not so much about the cryptocurrency itself as it is about the blockchain technology connected with it. The combination of the technology, Okita noted, coupled with the group’s trust and reliability—it’s better than 80 percent of Japan’s banking industry, after all—makes it likely to provide the faster, better payment structure.

Still, considering the narrow range of payment operations Japan currently sees, this will likely prove a welcome change of pace. Making payments more reliable after traditional banking hours can’t hurt, and with 80 percent of Japan’s banks going in this direction, it’s a safe bet it will catch on.