Japanese mobile operator KDDI has seen 6.6 million users apply for its au WALLET prepaid card programme (as of October 20, 2014), which was launched in May in partnership with MasterCard.
Au WALLET allows the operator’s subscribers to use the card at any retailer that accepts MasterCard in around 210 countries and gives customers 1 point for every JPY200 (US$1.8) spent. The operator said the service aims “to combine the Internet and physical worlds.” There doesn’t seem to be a specific mobile application for the service as yet, although points can be used to purchase additional mobile data packages.
KDDI also plans to launch a credit card where users will have more opportunities to accumulate reward points. The au WALLET credit card opened for applications on October 28 and will award 2 points for every JPY200 spent.
At the time of the May launch, Robert Luton, division president of MasterCard Japan, said, “We are excited to launch this product with KDDI because our two services have great synergy. Japanese consumers are savvy users of electronic payments, so we are thrilled to support them with innovative technology.”
The company said it is continually aiming to increase the number of ‘reward point-up stores’ that accept the WALLET across Japan.
“The number of ‘Point-up Stores’ has grown steadily, amounting to approximately 22,000 shops operated by 19 companies as of September 30, 2014,” KDDI said in a statement. “Also, in the second quarter, we introduced links to the ‘au Shopping Mall,’ conducting the ‘au Lucky Sale.’ The sale offers customers an opportunity to save money and accumulate up to 40 times more ‘WALLET points’ than usual when purchasing a variety of popular products, including home appliances, gourmet food items, and brand-name goods.”
KDDI has also struck a deal with Jibun Bank that sees foreign exchange transaction fees cut by 25 per cent when using au WALLET.