Developing a mobile payment system for nationwide use
Rakuten Pay was introduced in 2012 for primarily small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) who did not have a point of sale (POS) system. It enables easy credit card payments (pay in store) at a low cost to merchants using the consumers' mobile device. In 2016, Rakuten Pay App, which enables payments through a smartphone app, was launched. Today it is now used by a rapidly growing number of small- to large-scale retail stores.
Increase penetration of Rakuten Pay in promoting a cashless society
In 2017, a major nationwide chain store operator with POS in store decided to offer the Rakuten Pay App, which led to the development of a new system prior to start of service provision. Since then, a number of other major chain operators have decided to follow suit. However, concurrent implementation on a large scale requires system customization which presented some limitations.
As a result, we developed a system to link POS and Rakuten Pay. This began with the development of a generic API for franchise stores with consideration of both methods of direct connection between POS and the system and processing through a settlement gateway connected to the POS.
Through testing done with prospective Rakuten Pay member stores and gateway businesses, we developed multiple schemes to reduce the hurdle of implementing Rakuten Pay. Today, we are able to collaborate with multiple gateways and franchise stores through a single API.
More and more businesses have begun offering Rakuten Pay since 2018, and the Rakuten Pay App has become an accepted form of payment at countless businesses, from major restaurant chains to convenience stores, and for the first time in Japan, even portable vendors circulating the stands at a baseball stadium too. We are also testing out a new technology called Walk Through Pay, which enables automatic ringing up and payment of merchandise for shoppers picking up items and walking through a gate after scanning their Rakuten Pay QR code.
The constantly growing Rakuten Pay is supported by a multinational team of both Japanese and foreign nationals. Team members share their expertise on solutions such as Rakuten Edy and Rakuten Point Card as well as their specializations in expanding and stabilizing services. Sometimes engineers lead discussions and propose specifications.
We are also consolidating the functions of Rakuten Edy and Rakuten Point Card into one app to improve user friendliness. The aim is for users to seamlessly access multiple payment options using one smart phone app. In order to achieve this new convenient way of payment, we are also enhancing collaboration with Rakuten Group Services.
Rakuten Pay's engineers are striving to develop more dynamic services in hopes of reducing the stress of payment through technology and creating an even more convenient cashless society.