Japanese Prepaid Cards Nanaco and WAON to Support Apple Pay Later This Year
Two popular Japanese prepaid money cards will be gaining support for Apple Pay later this year, allowing the cards to be added to the Wallet app for contactless payments using an iPhone or Apple Watch where accepted, it was announced today.
The cards set to gain Apple Pay support include Seven & I's Nanaco card and AEON's WAON card, as noted by Ata Distance. The blog, which focuses on mobile payment and transit cards in Japan, believes it will likely become possible to add the cards to the Wallet app shortly after the public release of iOS 15, which is expected in September.
As part of its Apple Pay announcement, Seven & I said it has issued around 74 million Nanaco cards that are accepted at around 800,000 retail locations in Japan, including 7-Eleven and Ito-Yokado stores. Likewise, AEON said it has issued over 87 million WAON cards that are accepted at more than 840,000 retail locations across the island country.
Apple Pay continues to expand to more issuers around the world, including ING in Belgium and FNB in South Africa earlier this month.
Top Rated Comments
Each has its segment of the market. Nanaco will be good at 7-Eleven convenience stores and (more importantly to me) supermarkets under the Seven and I Holdings umbrella. Waon is accepted at other convenience store and supermarket chains.
Suica is widely accepted, and has the huge advantage of being able to be set as an express transit card. So, even when used for non-transit transactions (stores, restaurants, etc.), it's not necessary to double-click the iPhone or Apple watch. Just wave and go.
The Waon card mascot is a dog, and "waon" is an onomatopoieia for a dog's bark, and the Waon NFC terminals make a barking sound when the transaction is successful.
Most Japanese e-payment cards have very clever names. Here's a page from a book I helped write that explains the meaning of Suica (mentioned elsewhere in this thread) as well as the Icoca card.