NTT Docomo to take Japanese mobile wallet global

The Japanese carrier, founder of Japan’s Osaifu-Keitai mobile wallet service, has signed a deal with MasterCard that will see its 17m iD mobile credit card holders being able to use a new generation of phones to make payments at MasterCard Paypass merchants in 41 countries as well as at 560,000 Osaifu-Keitai points of sale in Japan.

MasterCard and NTT Docomo's iD
PAYMENTS: NFC meets Osaifu-Keitai

NTT Docomo has announced it is taking Japan’s Osaifu-Keitai mobile wallet service global, via a deal with MasterCard that will see holders of its iD mobile credit card able to use their phone to make payments both in Japan and abroad.

The service will leverage a new generation of mobile phones now in the process of coming to market. These new phones include support for both NFC and the embedded Sony FeliCa chips used to power NTT Docomo’s existing Osaifu-Keitai service.

FeliCa Networks, the joint venture between Docomo and Sony which runs Osaifu-Keitai, signed deals with a number of chip suppliers earlier this year to develop the technology needed to combine the two technologies in one device. The first two phones — the Sony Xperia AX SO-01E and the Sharp Aquos Phone Zeta SH-02E — have now been announced.

A diagram explains to consumers that they can use iD in Japan and PayPass in the rest of the world

Both phones have received MasterCard PayPass certification, bringing the total number of NFC handsets approved by the payments network to more than seventy. Users of the new phones will also be able to make use of Korea’s Cashbee prepaid mobile payments service, via a deal between Docomo and mobile network operator KT which was announced earlier this week.

Update Two other phones in Docomo’s newly announced Winter 2012 device list also include support for both NFC and FeliCa — the Fujitsu-made Arrows V F-04E and the Arrows Kiss F-03E — but are not on the list of PayPass phones. A tablet with support for NFC but not for FeliCa, the Arrows Tab F-05E, is also on the list of new Docomo phones (PDF).

“Docomo launched the iD-branded mobile credit payments in Japan in 2005,” explains Masaki Yoshikawa, managing director of Docomo’s credit card division. “With 17m users, we have the most number of subscribers using the Osaifu-Keitai (mobile phones with wallet functions). This collaboration with MasterCard will enable our iD users to make payments at PayPass merchants worldwide and increase the usage of mobile payment solutions.”

“Our collaboration with NTT Docomo will open up endless possibilities of new forms of payments and other value-added services, and will help us continue to make contactless payments safer and easier, giving consumers more choices in how to pay,” adds Vicky Bindra, president of MasterCard Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

The new service is scheduled to launch in 2013, during the first half of Docomo’s fiscal year, which begins in April. Customers with compatible phones will then be able to make mobile payments at any of 560,000 points of sale that accept Osaifu-Keitai in Japan as well as at the nearly 500,000 merchant locations in 41 countries that accept MasterCard PayPass contactless payments.

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