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Nearly 20% of Japan households using e-money but cash still king

43 Comments

Almost a fifth of Japanese households use electronic money for small purchases, a survey by a central bank-affilated research institute showed, up from a year ago and a sign the country’s cash-hoarding culture is changing.

In the survey published on Monday and conducted between June and July, 18.5% of households said they use electronic money, such as smartphone apps and debit card payments, on shopping trips where 1,000 yen ($9.17) or less is spent, up from 15.4% in the previous year.

Among single-person households - 43% of whom are in their 20s and 30s - the ratio was much higher at 35.6%, suggesting government efforts to prod Japanese to go cashless may be paying off, at least among the younger generation.

Despite the growth in electronic payments, Japan’s “cash-is-king” mentality remains entrenched with the survey showing 84% still use notes and coins for small purchases.

And for payments exceeding 10,000 yen and up to 50,000 yen, 48.5% of households said they pay by cash and 3.4% by electronic money, the survey showed.

A low crime rate, years of ultra-low interest rates and a nationwide network of automatic-teller machines (ATMs) have long made cash appealing in Japan, giving people few reasons to shift to cashless payments.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing to make more Japanese switch to cashless payments to allow stores to automate sales estimates and banks to cut back on costly ATMs.

Shoppers have recently been encouraged to ditch cash for e-money after the government introduced a rebate program to ease the pain of a sales tax hike on Oct 1.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

43 Comments
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Old people knows that they shouldn't trust banks and politicians so that is the reason why they keep money at home or hidden somewhere.

Shinzo, Japan and BOJ wants to take that money from old people or those who save so they can eat caviar and have parties.

16 ( +17 / -1 )

A low crime rate, years of ultra-low interest rates and a nationwide network of automatic-teller machines (ATMs) have long made cash appealing in Japan, giving people few reasons to shift to cashless payments.

Keep drinking the kool-aid! This statement about "low-crime rate" is just to keep the sheeples feeling safe!

There is plenty of crime, and when you see or hear about crimes being committed over a few hundred yen, it's says that there are serious problems in society that those in charge do not want the general public to know about!

0 ( +6 / -6 )

I refuse to give up cash which has been used for hundreds of years for unproven electronic methods of payment...

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Brainwashing by the boys at the top, if they say it enough we'll all follow.

Good for the oldies, they still want communication and control of their lives/money, just wish they'd stop voting for Abe

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Only smart people can handle smart monies.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

cash still king

Long may it be! All them other things like "e-money", using smartphone payments, bitcoin etc is just a passing fad, and wont last. With theft of cash almost unheard of, Japanese culture has always used cash of some type. And always will.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

While I would like to believe that the number is shifting upwards, it's going to be hard to shift to a cashless system when most businesses still won't shift to a system that allows such payments. Doesn't matter how cashless you want to be, if most businesses only accept cash, then it's pointless.

The other day I went to a state of the art clinic for an MRI. They are trying robot check ins and it looked amazing. However, they still didn't accept cashless payments and wanted you to pay a high bill in cash.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Why is Japan invested into QR codes? The rest of the world has already moved onto pay wave...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why is Japan invested into QR codes? The rest of the world has already moved onto pay wave...

QR codes were invented in Japan, and they are used all around the world to the point that iphone (and I'd guess Android but don't know) have integrated a QR code reader right into the camera, not even needing a separate app as far as I know.

Which, is an incentive to use them.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It seems to me most Japanese love cash very much because probably there is no fake money. When disaster and power failure happen, they know cash will be necessary anyway.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I love having cash in my wallet and to know what I spent. I just would like the banks to remove the ridiculous administration fee when withdrawing from atm's like Shinsei ginko does.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I don't like cash. Always use card, and edy.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan also invented (or at least pioneered) Felica/NFC payments, well before the rest of the world got into the pay wave thing.

Japan has had cashless payment systems that kick ass over any other system in terms of speed and ease of use for years now. I have no idea why they are trying to push barcode payments now; After even apple gave up on them (if you remember, Apple Pay was originally barcode based with them saying "who needs fangled NFC tech",,, but then they flipped and included NFC on more recent iphones - sparking a renewed interest in mobile suica etc)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

People should use whatever they like, e-money or cash. I personally don't want to keep going to the ATM everyday or have too many coins (especially 1 and 5 yen coins) in my wallet. I'm fine with my credit card and Suica.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Many of the shops I go to still don't have any kind of cashless payment option.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I can't remember the last time I used cash at a convenience store or supermarket in Japan. I refuse to shop at places that don't offer payment by card. Last year I flew to Okinawa for free using points I had earned by never using cash.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Cash wins every time. Anything electric can fail. Anything tech based can be hacked from anywhere in the world.

There is no substitute for cash in your pocket.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@afanofjapan

Japan also invented (or at least pioneered) Felica/NFC payments

That is incorrect. NFC has been a huge payment system long before Japan started using it and it was invented by the Americans. It was first used by Doctors and government officials as a way to do everything within their jobs on one card. Then Ericsson in the public world and for mobile payments. The reason Sony has the NFC license in Japan was because they acquired Ericsson. They wanted to make money and used a system different than the rest of the world. That is why NFC payments used to could be used across the world on one device except for Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Long may it be! All them other things like "e-money", using smartphone payments, bitcoin etc is just a passing fad, and wont last.

Unfortunately I think most governments will continue to push for cashless societies.

Just one step closer to dystopia.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

My students pay me in cash and I'll be damned into changing that.Long live paper money!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The other day I went to a state of the art clinic for an MRI. They are trying robot check ins and it looked amazing. However, they still didn't accept cashless payments and wanted you to pay a high bill in cash.

I think in this case it's a bit silly not to be set up for credit/debit card payments. Same with stores that sell slightly bigger ticket items like phones, TVs, furniture, expensive clothes/jewelry, etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Eventually, the digital monetary system will prevail and everyone is assigned a control number to buy and sale in the monopolized new world trade order.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I love having cash in my wallet and to know what I spent. I just would like the banks to remove the ridiculous administration fee when withdrawing from atm's like Shinsei ginko does.

Interesting, Okinawa Bank, Ryukyu Bank, and Kaiho Bank down here in Okinawa do not charge anything for administration fees during regular banking hours, weekends and holidays they charge only a couple of hundred yen.

I wonder how much you are paying?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Only smart people can handle smart monies.

so the elderly are all dumb in your book!?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Last year I flew to Okinawa for free using points I had earned by never using cash.

I only use cards for my business so there is a electronic trail for the taxman, I accumulate a over a couple million yen in points just on my cards every year. when it comes to personal stuff I use cash whenever I can, the J government doesn't need to know everything I spend my money on

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Maybe it is just me, but I remember when you got paid in cash, even your bonus was in cash, and there is something about holding that in your hands after being given to you that made you feel like it was all worth it, and on your way home you would pick something up for the kids and wife, and when you arrived at home everyone was glad you were home, it was like a small holiday itself. Now it is all deposited into the bank and all you see are numbers on paper, not the same feeling, and no one is waiting for your arrival on payday, it is just another day, kids have no idea where the money came from, they just know that dad and mom leave in the morning and come home at night cranky and bitter!

You will always need cash, never think you can always depend on Credit cards and such, because when you are in a pinch, Cash is King as stated before!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

People should use whatever they like, e-money or cash. I personally don't want to keep going to the ATM everyday or have too many coins (especially 1 and 5 yen coins) in my wallet. I'm fine with my credit card and Suica.

I cannot agree more. Each payment methods has its advantages and drawbacks. It is just a matter of choices.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I assume they aren't including IC cards used for rail and bus travel.

The vast majority of travellers and commuters use them, at least on any lines that I have taken.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Middleoftheroad

Maybe it is just me, but I remember when you got paid in cash, even your bonus was in cash, and there is something about holding that in your hands after being given to you that made you feel like it was all worth it, 

I remember going out during college. On my last few dollars. Then midnight of payday hit and my bank account had money again, made it all seem worth it to me

1 ( +1 / -0 )

ATMs are not costly, except for the fees they charge users... and they pay for themselves. And why are they not available 24/7, as is the case everywhere else? The plethora of digital payment systems means that simple purchases until now made with cash have to wait in line for the person or cashier figures out how to use the app...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just stop taking fee at the ATM, and maybe i'll use more cash ;) (220 yens on Sunday) lol

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The unaccounted for cash economy in Japan runs into the trillions, some of it black but a lot is legitimate.

Getting that money - including the private household hoardings - into traceable use, will enhance tax revenue considerably.

And the world wide direction in general is to make every soul traceable through electronic means and that includes spending.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

ATM's are very expensive for the banks. They require daily service. Insurance. Maintenance. That's why the banks wants to go cashless or internet banking. Within five years, there will be less ATM's.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Depending on which agenda you are pushing, that headline could easily be: More than 80% of Japanese people still value cash

2 ( +2 / -0 )

ATMS are getting too expensive, unlike Okinawa as was pointed out but when your on the mainland the local ATM will charge you so I prefer CASH.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@zichi

If only America and Europe shared your views. They've found that one ATM is more effective and cheaper than hiring 3 tellers. Maybe because Japanese companies tend to mark up the price. But when I was a manager at a bank, the company cost for an ATM was initially $10,000 and then an additional $3,000 per year for upkeep. A teller was $30,000 and then annual pay increases and bonuses.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Good to see some people questioning the push to cashless in Japan. Cashless means there is an electronic record of everything you have spent, when, and where. Even if the data is anonymous, if you are a creature of habit (most people are), big data analysis can identify you with a high level of probability.

It's not a question of if but when in terms of this record being used against you.

In my experience with cashless in the UK, payment often takes longer than with cash even when the terminal does not misread your card or you do not enter your pin number properly.

Then, there is a question of what happens when the communications and power networks are down by of quakes, tsunami, hacking, or whatever.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

JJ Jetplane

@zichi

If only America and Europe shared your views. They've found that one ATM is more effective and cheaper than hiring 3 tellers. Maybe because Japanese companies tend to mark up the price. But when I was a manager at a bank, the company cost for an ATM was initially $10,000 and then an additional $3,000 per year for upkeep. A teller was $30,000 and then annual pay increases and bonuses.

I am preferring to all the ATM's outside of banks which are in stores, shopping place, hospitals, where there are no bank staff. They must be serviced every day by a security company to collect and load cash. They must be maintained and insured for loss.

"Also, in Japan, as in many other countries, there is a stamp tax on legal documents called inshizei, which is also levied on bank account books (tsūchō). Banks pay ¥200 a year for each book they issue to account holders. In fiscal 2016, banks paid more than ¥70 billion in stamp taxes for bank books. As banking becomes less paper-oriented, many financial institutions are trying to do away with bank books."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think another thing they forgot to mention is that if you went back in time 20 years, you would have had few types of places to use a card or electronic payment.

Without cash you might as well have tried to pay for things with your looks.

It's not rocket science to see why Japan's behind when it comes to cashless payments.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You still need cash (wads of it) for legitimate, on-the-record big-ticket items in Japan, especially if you're retired.

As a pensioner, I'm not eligible for loans.

I bought a used car - I had to pay in cash.

I bought a house - I had to pay in cash.

(after answering many questions before I could extract it from my bank account)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

the pain of a sales tax hike on Oct 1.

Is the government wisely spending this extra money?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is surprising that at least Japanese no longer barter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are things I prefer to pay in cash so I want cash to always be around.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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