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  • Debit Cards Start Circulating in Japan
  • January 8, 1999 (TOKYO) — The Japan Debit Card Promotion Association on Jan. 4 started the use of debit-type cash cards issued by financial institutions to settle purchases at retailers.
    The association comprises the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, about 900 financial institutions and 100 retailers. It will issue a monthly report on the utilization of debit cards.

    At Seibu Department Stores Ltd. in Shibuya, Tokyo, a ceremony to commemorate the launch of the service was held by officials from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and various financial institutions.

    Debit cards entail a system to provide cash cards issued by financial institutions with a function to settle payments. When a debit card holder buys products or services, the payment settlement can be made through a bank account after a shop terminal reads the debit card and the customer inputs a security code.

    Every member company in the association expressed its intention to introduce debit cards. However, only eight financial institutions, including post offices and eight retailers, Seibu, and Japan Travel Bureau Inc., started to accept debit cards on Jan. 4.

    Customers are required to use only those cards issued by a financial institution which has business relations with the retailer. Industry sources believe that debit cards will become widespread only after October 1999. That’s when more cards will be available for settlement following the establishment of a clearing center to take care of transactions between financial institutions.

    The association will issue a report on the usage of debit cards in mid-February, for distribution to each of the member companies.

    Related story: Settlement Center for Debit Cards to Start in Oct. 1999

    (BizTech News Dept.)



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