Apple Pay is now available in Japan through Line Pay, a mobile wallet service that is accepted at more than 1.21 million stores across the country and allows users to Pay with Line Pay balances through Apple’s payment mechanism. Support for Line Pay, which launched last Tuesday, adds an additional contactless payment option to the Japan-centric service by using Apple Pay.
Line Pay is widely used to Pay for everyday goods and services in stores and is linked to Japan’s dominant messaging app, Line. Like WeChat and alipay, LINE Pay has long offered QR code payment within the LINE app, and it has spread from Japan to Thailand and other regions. LINE Pay has long supported payments through Google Pay, and now LINE Pay also supports Apple Pay.
The new support means consumers will be able to make NFC transactions using their iPhone or Apple Watch without having to launch the Line app itself. In addition to NFC, support for QR codes will continue, and users’ own QR codes will also be available on the Apple Pay screen.
Line users can add Line Pay to Apple Pay by entering the Line app and clicking the Apple Pay button. Set up a virtual “Visa Line Pay prepaid Card” within Apple Pay to make transactions, as well as other payments at merchants that accept Visa.
The news that LINE Pay supports Apple Pay has been widely publicized on its official website and social media platforms, and a special webpage has been created to guide users to open LINE Pay in Apple Pay. According to LINE’s website, users can add LINE Pay to Apple Pay by clicking on the “Apple Pay” icon in the app. In Apple Pay, users will see a card with LINE Pay and an iD, respectively — essentially a virtual card provided by NTT DOCOMO’s iD.
Similar practices have long been seen in China. Jd.com payment, a subsidiary of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, also launched a “jingdong flash Payment” function. Users who open jd Pay will see a virtual bank card in the Apple Pay interface, which also shows the flash payment logo of JD Flash payment, JD Finance, card number and UnionPay.
Apple Pay has been available in Japan since 2016, but initially struggled with the Suica transit card, and it has expanded rapidly since then, with support from more than 100 banks and card issuers. In October, Apple Pay Express Transit received support from PASMO, a contactless payment system, for public Transit transactions without previously unlocking an iPhone or Apple Watch.
LINE Pay is available at more than 3.3 million stores in Japan, and Visa LINE Pay is available at 61 million offline stores outside of Japan. The company aims to build a payment service that can be used in more than 90 million locations around the world.