More and more pay-by-hour Japanese parking lots are accepting payment via contactless cards or mobile phones equipped with contactless chips.
Japanese parking lot operators are beginning to accept contactless payments as card issuers continue to try to make inroads in Japan's cash-based consumer economy. Nippon Parking Development Co., which runs about 100 lots in Tokyo and elsewhere in Japan, will accept iD, the contactless credit brand launched by mobile network operator NTT DoCoMo and credit card company Sumitomo Mitsui, the Nikkei report says. Another parking-lot operator, Park 24 Co., accepts three contactless electronic purses: Edy, Suica e-money and PiTaPa. The latter two e-purses are mainly used to cover transit fares in and around Tokyo and Osaka, respectively. Overall, Japanese consumers make more than 90% of their purchases in cash, according to DoCoMo estimates. To capture a piece of this market, card issuers are supporting a total of five major brands of contactless credit and electronic-cash programs, with more on the way. Consumers can make contactless payments at thousands of convenience stores and other merchant locations, but few of the card-reading terminals are interoperable, which threatens to confuse consumers. Masao Nakamura, president of DoCoMo, told the Nikkei Marketing Journal this week that his company is now working on a contactless point-of-sale terminal that can accept all three brands of contactless credit in Japan.