E-commerce giant Rakuten and Japan’s largest railway company the East Japan Railway Company (JR East), have partnered in a deal aimed at promoting the use of cashless payments.
For the partnership, users will utilize Rakuten’s Pay mobile app to charge their smart fare cards called “Suica.”
The integrated service will be available to commuters at buses and train stations. Commuters will be able to pay for their transport without necessarily carrying cash and instead use the mobile app to offset their transport bills in 5000 train stations and over 50,000 buses.
The cashless payment mode can also be used in about 600,000 stores spread all over Japan.
The service is scheduled to go live in 2020, with Rakuten and JR East ready to take in more partners to grow the cashless payments sector.
In February, Rakuten published its 2018 earnings report that showed the Japanese conglomerate had plans to revamp its payments app to potentially support cryptocurrency payments.
That came after Rakuten signed an acquisition deal that saw it complete the purchase of a local digital asset exchange platform called Everybody’s Bitcoin. The reportedly $2.4 million deal was closed in August last year.
Early this year, the firm began plans towards restructuring its corporate system, looking to set up another payment subsidiary. The new platform is set to incorporate the online seller’s new crypto-focused business venture.
Rakuten has also secured regulatory approval to go ahead with plans for a cryptocurrency exchange. Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) granted the approval earlier last month, and now Rakuten Wallet is expected to go live this June.
Rakuten could follow in the footsteps of DeCurrent, a regulated crypto exchange that also partnered with JR East earlier in the year. The platform launched a payments system that it said would eventually support crypto payments for the Suica transport card.