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Gov't to launch smartphone-based rewards program to soften tax impact

13 Comments

The government will launch a smartphone-based rewards program in 2020 using national identification My Number cards, as part of measures to mitigate the impact of the consumption tax hike next month, sources close to the matter said.

The government is considering providing 5,000 yen worth of points to spend at stores across Japan to consumers who load 20,000 yen in their account for smartphone payments, starting in October next year, the sources said.

There will be no income restriction for applicants for the program and details of the framework will be disclosed soon in an upcoming Cabinet meeting on the promotion of digitalization of public administration.

Some municipalities in Japan offer similar rewards programs to spur their local economies and the government initially considered using their systems. But the plan was scrapped as their programs are available only within their own areas, not nationwide.

The new program that is expected to cost several hundred billion yen will follow another measure to give rebates for cashless payments at small shops from October to June next year, for which the government set aside 279.8 billion yen. The consumption tax will be raised to 10 percent from the current 8 percent from Oct. 1.

The government will look into the feasibility of bringing forward the start of the rewards program to July 2020, in time for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics beginning late in that month.

Partnering with major mobile payment operators, the government will devise a system that will require consumers to first apply for a My Number card to be used as an ID for an account to open on the program's website.

The government is in the midst of efforts to boost the issue of My Number cards, with such cards having been issued for only 13.9 percent of the population as of Aug 22. The card was introduced in 2016 as part of Japan's new social security and tax number system aimed at simplifying administrative procedures.

More mobile settlement services are becoming available in Japan as companies such as Rakuten Inc. and Line Corp. have been offering smartphone-based payments using QR codes and other methods.

© KYODO

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
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More smartphone payment options,

more waste of money by the government,

and in the end nothing achieved.

I mean, "they're" talking several hundred billions of Yen.

Can't "they" come up with any better ideas, more consumer and family friendly?

If you don't have those Yen 20.000 to upload, what're you gonna do?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I trust this as much as I trust the 7/11 Payment System. We all know how that worked out. Just what we need is our MyNumbers stolen. No thanks. I will cotinue to use cash/U.S. Bank Cards.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Cool. Once your My Number is registered on your phone, the government will know everything you buy using your phone.

That's one reason why I don't have a smartphone.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

No thanks.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Ridiculous. It's like that this country just likes to make things complicated for the all sake to annoy people. And don't even get me started with using the My Number thing.....

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Considering you aren't supposed to really share your 'My Number' with anyone, there's a whole lot of My Number sharing starting to creep in.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Partnering with major mobile payment operators, the government will devise a system that will require consumers to first apply for a My Number card to be used as an ID for an account to open on the program's website.

So basically they are wasting billions of our tax money in order to sign more people up for My Number so the J govt Big Brother can get access to more people,s private info. Big surprise....

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Of course they’re doing this because they have our best interests at heart, not because they’re hoping to extend the surveillance state via the back door, right?

Huge sound of collective raspberry being blown in their general direction.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

With less than 15% applying to get My Number Cards even after several years, I guess we can’t say it’s been a resounding success, ha ha. I suppose this plan will entice some more people to get the cards but I don’t really expect it to be a really great number. One thing I know for sure is that no one in this household will be getting one.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It's a trap. More govt tracking.

More govt spending means more taxes.

It's a trap.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The government is considering providing 5,000 yen worth of points to spend at stores across Japan to consumers who load 20,000 yen in their account

That's a good 25% profit! People would just use the points and withdraw their money.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fourice, “People would just use the points and withdraw their money.”

Will that be possible? With electronic money like nanaco and such, as far as I know, once they’ve been charged the only way to get the money out is by spending it. Not sure about smartphone payment systems.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pay the tax.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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