Beams of Money
DAISUKE TANAKA’s daily commute has gotten a lot simpler in recent weeks now that he can pay for all his train tickets with his mobile phone. To travel Tokyo’s trains, subways and even some taxis, all he needs to do is to waive his mobile near the now standard card reader. He has also download ed software for several prepaid and credit cards, turning his mobile phone into a replacement for his wallet. “I haven’t touched my wallet at all today,” he said one recent evening.
The mobile wallet was announced by NTT Docomo with great fanfare back in 2004, when the technology first became available in Japan, but so far it’s been a dud – fewer than one in five owners of a mobile-wallet handset has ever used it to pay for anything. Mobile wallets are accepted at too few places, say experts. That’s now changing quickly, however. New services are rolling out so fast, 2007 is emerging as the year of the mobile wallet in Japan.
The biggest reason is the rapid expansion of e-money services accessible by mobile: 7-Eleven, the country’s dominant convenience chain, has just launched its own brand of e-money, and leading chain AEON will follow suit later this year.
The mobile Suica service provides one of the biggest incentives for users to go mobile. The Suica fare card, introduced in 2001, now has more than 20 million users.
(Newsweek, July 9, 2007)
Segundo o texto, a “mobile wallet”
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