SoftBank-backed Japanese mobile payments platform PayPay flagged a rapid increase in the number of transactions made on its platform, as it continues to recruit merchants to support the system.

In an update on the service’s progress, the company said as of last week it had processed a total of 1 billion transactions since launch in October 2018.

Just before the anniversary of launch, the company said it had processed 170 million transactions and it was accepted by 1.5 million merchants. As of last month this footprint had increased to 2.2 million.

PayPay noted many of its partner retailers were small- and medium-sized companies which previously did not support any contactless payment options.

In an attempt to support state efforts to contain Covid-19 (coronavirus), it introduced a number of offers and tailored services to ease payment for deliveries and promote cashless transactions between individuals.

The company is a joint venture between SoftBank and subsidiary Yahoo Japan, created with support from India mobile wallet specialist Paytm.

Since launch, PayPay has been bullish on both its progress and the prospects of mobile payments in the traditionally cash-reliant market of Japan.

In addition to recruiting businesses to support its payment method, the company last month signed deals with Alipay Hong Kong and Kakao Pay to open up merchants to accepting mobile payments from visitors from Hong Kong and South Korea.

It is also in the process of rolling out overdraft facilities to selected users.