Takeshi Idezawa, COO of mobile messaging app LINE, announced a new payments service and a partnership with two leading local financial institutions Mizuho and SMBC.
LINE Pay enables users to make purchases via mobile or PC, using either credit card or pre-paid card (the firm’s Japanese home market has relatively low credit card take-up). It is scheduled for winter, 2014 launch.
The aim is to start with payments for virtual goods, followed by transactions in physical locations.
In addition, users can transfer cash between one another without needing to supply bank account information.
LINE is the most popular messaging app in Japan, but also has significant numbers of users in Thailand and Taiwan, as well as parts of Europe and Latin America. It wants to expand its reach to markets like the US and China.
Idezawa said that the aim is for LINE Pay to be a global service in the near future but the pre-paid cards will not be available outside Japan, at least not immediately.
He was speaking at LINE Conference Tokyo 2014.
The firm’s payments plans are similar to those announced by another mobile messaging app, Kakao, earlier this year.