Google's Android Pay mobile payments solution is launching in Japan in over 470,000, thanks to a partnership with Japanese online retail giant Rakuten.
The digital wallet service is launching with Rakuten's Edy eMoney system, a prepaid contactless smart card already popular in Japan. Edy is already accepted by a number of brands, including McDonald's Bic Camera, Family Mart and Yobobashi Camera, and over 100m Rakuten Edy cards have already been issued, giving Android Pay a strong base to launch from.
Users who download the Android Pay app will be able to create a virtual Edy card in seconds, or enable a mobile card on Android Pay if they already own one. This card can be topped up in app or at any local store that also supports Rakuten Edy top-up. Android Pay's digital wallet function will also support a number of loyalty cards, including Rakuten's Super Points program.
Android Pay has further plans for Japan in 2017. It's working with FeliCa Networks to support more eMoney providers, as well as payments companies like Visa, Mastercard and The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ to expand its mobile payments scope in Japan.
As an incentive to encourage sign-ups, new users will receive a ¥400 (£2.72) sign-up gift when they create a Rakuten Edy card in Android Pay.