Japan’s three biggest commercial banks, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Mizuho Financial Group, and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, are set to integrate their respective digital currencies into popular JR East’s Suica card, a Tuesday report revealed.
The Super Urban Intelligent Card (Suica) is a contactless IC smart card issued by the East Japan Railways with an estimated 80 million Suica cards in circulation. The card grants holders the opportunity to pay for train rides, as well as subways, vending machines, and some convenience stores.
Last year, Mizuho bank, a unit of the Mizuho Financial Group, launched its J-coin Pay platform, which will enable the ease of money transfers and other cashless payments. The Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group is also working toward modifying its plans for its digital currency, the MUFJ Coin.
However, the number of customers using these digital currencies is quite a few and they are losing to startups like SoftBank Group that started the trend earlier.
Therefore, the three megabanks believe that a partnership between them and the JR East will be a win-win situation since it will go a long way to expand the banks’ customer base as well as offer added convenience to users of the Suica card in transactions involving direct bank transfers.
DeCurret, the cryptocurrency exchange responsible for organizing the initiative is setting up a forum to discuss the partnership with representatives from the Financial Services Agency, the Ministry of Economy, and the Bank of Japan as well as 10 or more other companies, JR East and the three banks in question.
Plans are being put in place to create a platform that incorporates these digital currencies to the Suica cards as early as autumn, however, enabling a two-way transfer between users’ bank accounts and digital wallets will require stricter security measures.
For this reason, some of the main points of the forum will be on security measures such as expanding deposit insurance, strengthening safeguards against anti-money laundering, and recording information regarding transactions using blockchain technology.