December 15, 2014
  • Rakuten, Inc.
  • Nippon Gas Co., Ltd.

Nichigas adopts new
Rakuten Smartpay IC/magnetic card reader

- All Nichigas sales staff to be given Rakuten Smartpay IC/magnetic card readers, allowing energy business transactions to be completed on site via smartphones -

Tokyo, December 15, 2014 - Rakuten, Inc. and Nippon Gas Co., Ltd. (Nichigas) today announced that the two companies have reached an agreement to provide Nichigas sales staff with the new Rakuten Smartpay IC/magnetic card reader*. The reader will be installed on the smartphones of the sales staff, and will allow customers using Nichigas services to make payments onsite using their credit card.

Nichigas Group is a comprehensive energy company focused on retail which supplies gas to 1.09 million customers in Japan, and gas or electricity to 180,000 customers overseas. It mainly supplies LPG and city gas to households across the Kanto region, and also sells gas appliances as part of its retail business. By providing the Rakuten Smartpay IC/magnetic card reader to the business smartphones of all sales staff, Nichigas Group will become able to offer its customers with more choices to make payments on site in a secure and convenient form. 

Nichigas, under the motto “It’s all for our customers,” strives to supply gas at a low price by keeping costs at a minimum. It has developed a cloud-based work system where smartphones are used to complete all tasks instantly on site, from gas delivery, meter inspection, and pipeline safety work, bringing much greater efficiency to its business. The Rakuten Smartpay IC/magnetic card reader developed by Rakuten has been adopted because of its security, low cost, and ease of use.

Meanwhile, Rakuten offers Rakuten Smartpay to a wide range of users, from individual users to small- and medium-sized companies and major enterprises. With the goal of improving security and the promote the adoption of safe and secure card payment in the field of smartphone payments, Rakuten is launching a Rakuten Smartpay IC/magnetic card reader for smartphone transactions that requires user identification by IC card and PIN number entry.

Rakuten and Nichigas are starting out by increasing the transaction methods available, aiming further to build new innovation in the energy sector as it moves toward liberalization.

*An IC credit card-reading EMV device equipped with PIN pad. EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa, a 1994 initiative by the three firms to set a global standard for IC cards, subsequently adopted worldwide.


Service launch date: December 15, 2014
Adopting company: Nippon Gas Co., Ltd
Number installed: 562 (as of December 15, 2014)
Device installed: Rakuten Smartpay IC/magnetic card reader
Accepted brands: Visa, MasterCard, JCB, American Express, Diners Club, Discover
*Brands accepted for Nichigas services may differ (as of December 15, 2014)
(1)  Connectivity: Bluetooth (wireless connection between smartphone and EMV device)
(2)  Global standard: EMV Level 1, Level 2 compliant, PCI PTS certified
(3)  Strong security: Superb highly secure design that leaves no credit card data on device
(4)  High-speed processing: Processing speed for credit card using smartphone network or Wi-Fi is 1-2 seconds

Key card reader specifications

Size: 97mm×68mm×18mm (L×W×D)|
Weight: 118g
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Battery: Lithium
Battery life: Up to 8 days (if device is not used after recharging)
Recharging method: USB
Recharging time(1A): 50 minutes (to around 90%)
Recharging time (500mA) : 100 minutes (to around 90%)
Battery capacity (when new): 800mAh
Battery capacity (after 1,000 recharges): 600mAh
Temperature range: 0-45℃
Security: DUKPT encryption

*1  PCI DSS is a cardholder information security standard established by five international card brands.
*2  PCI PTS is a security standard for card terminals established by five international card brands.
*3  EMV Level 1 is global standard specifications to ensure the compatibility of IC card readers.
*4  EMV Level 1 is global standard specifications to ensure the compatibility of IC card readers.
*5  Bluetooth is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc., U.S.

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

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