It was reported last month that Apple is planning to launch an iPhone model in Japan with support for the widely used FeliCa mobile payment technology. Now, Nikkei Asian Review reports that Apple is planning to partner with Sony to bring the technology to the iPhone next year.
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Last month’s report was somewhat unclear as to when Apple was planning to launch Apple Pay in Japan with FeliCa, today’s report details that the mobile payment will not launch in the country until next year. One reason for the launch being pushed into 2017 is Apple’s ongoing negotiations with retailers and service providers.
Like it has done in most countries, Apple will rollout its mobile payment platform on a gradual basis with more retailers and banks being added as time progresses.
FeliCa is a technology developed by Sony that allows users to store things like train cards, bus passes, store cards, and credit and debit cards on their mobile devices. The technology is the most widely used mobile payment platform in Japan with over 1.9 million payment terminal supporting it. Last year, FeliCa payment transactions totaled $46 billion in Japan.
Apple is said to be in talks with multiple providers of transit payment cards in Japan, as well as at least one major financial institution for e-money transactions.
Though the new iPhone being unveiled Wednesday will roll out worldwide this fall, Apple Pay likely will not launch in Japan until next year. Apple still needs to work with retailers and service providers using the readers, as well as negotiate fees with the financial institutions from which payments will be withdrawn. The company plans a gradual rollout of the service across the country.
While the hardware for the iPhone unveiled this year is already finalized, it’s unclear if the FeliCa technology is included. If so, then Apple Pay support in Japan could rollout anytime next year, pending negotiations with banks and other card providers. If the hardware technology isn’t implemented, however, then Japan customers would have to wait for the 2017 iPhone before being able to use Apple Pay.
Since its launch, Apple Pay has gradually been rolling out to more countries and banks. The service continues to come to more banks in the United States, while the expansion around the world is continuing gradually.