October 1, 2013
  • Rakuten, Inc.

Rakuten Smartpay Wins Good Design Award and makes Good Design Best 100

Tokyo, October 1,  2013 –Rakuten, Inc., today announced that it has received the 2013 Good Design Award, and entered into the Good Design Best 100 (Japan Institute of Design Promotion)  for Rakuten Smartpay, its smartphone-based transaction service. 

Released in December 2012, Rakuten Smartpay is a service that converts a smartphone into a credit card reader, upon plugging a small credit card reader into the earphone jack of a smartphone. Rakuten offers a revolutionary credit card transaction service with three key strengths for those self-employed and small business owners who until now had put off signing up with a credit card company: a low-cost card reader (a campaign offering card readers effectively for free runs until the end of December 2013), a speedy credit cycle (payments received in designated Rakuten Bank accounts the next day), and a flat transaction charge of 3.24%. Bringing more satisfaction to more customers, equipped card readers will be able to accept JCB, American Express, Diners Club and Discover credits cards starting from this autumn, where in the past they had only accepted Visa, MasterCard, and Rakuten Card.

Rakuten Smartpay was selected for the 2013 Good Design Award and the Good Design Best 100 on the basis of the following:

The assessment of the judging panel

Rakuten Smartpay is a product and service platform that enables transactions by credit card. It has opened the way to credit card transactions for small retailers and the self-employed who previously could only accept cash payments. A set-up made possible by this connected age, Smartpay is a piece of hardware that runs once a small card reader is inserted into the earphone jack of a smartphone. We welcome this service which has the potential to completely overhaul the payment infrastructure of small business both virtually and in real life through the link with e-commerce, even though there is already a profusion of competing services in the sector.

Good Design Award winners’ Good Design Exhibition 2013 to present Rakuten Smartpay

As a 2013 award winner, Rakuten Smartpay will be exhibited at the Good Design Exhibition 2013 to be held at Tokyo Midtown from  October 30.

Good Design Exhibition 2013
-Dates: October 30 –  November 4
-Venue: Tokyo Midtown (Roppongi, Minato Ward, Tokyo)
-Host: Japan Institute of Design Promotion

About the Good Design Award

The Good Design Award has served as Japan’s only design evaluation and commendation system since 1957, when it was launched by the Government of Japan to identify and recognize products with particularly good designs. For more than 55 years, the award has helped to enhance Japan’s industry and lifestyle through design, with a grand total of some 39,000 products being recognized to date. Today, the Good Design Award has grown to become a highly recognized design award around the world by many companies and organizations. The “G Mark,” which shows that a product has received a Good Design Award, is now widely recognized as a symbol of design quality.

Rakuten Smartpay

-Transaction charge: 3.24% 
-Monthly fee, app: free
-Initial fee: effectively zero

 ※Free card reader campaign through to end of December 2013 (normally 2,980 yen including tax)

-Application: Online application, screening, result notification and delivery of card reader in as few as three working days
-Credit: Payments received in designated Rakuten Bank account the next day, free of charge Payments received in non-Rakuten Bank accounts next working day

-Applicable operating systems: iOS, Android (around 100 devices) (as of September 30, 2013)
-Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Rakuten Card
※Expected to accept JCB, American Express, Diners club, Discover starting from this autumn


Rakuten continues to strive to support small business and improve the convenience of its services for the self-employed and small business owners across Japan.

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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