Visa, Docomo Prep Virtual Prepaid Card in Japan (Sept. 17, 2013)
Visa’s Japanese subsidiary Visa Worldwide (Japan) Co. is joining with mobile telecom provider NTT Docomo Inc. to launch what the companies are calling Japan’s first mobile-based virtual prepaid card for online shopping. Dubbed docomo Kouza Visa Prepaid, the service will launch Sept. 18. Users receive a 16-digit card number linked to their account on docomo Kouza, the telecom’s electronic money service, and can use that number to shop online at most merchants where Visa is accepted. Purchase amounts are immediately debited from customer accounts. There are two versions of the card available: a one-time card that is good for 10 days, and a long-term card valid for three years. Users can sign up for either card on the docomo Kouza Website without having to go through the application process for a traditional credit card.
Though the Kouza virtual card is being billed as the first mobile-based virtual prepaid card in Japan, Visa Worldwide (Japan) Co. has previously dipped a toe into the country’s virtual card market. In late 2011, the company teamed with Life Card Co. to release Visa E-Gift, a virtual gift card designed for online use.
Tokyo-headquartered Docomo has been active in developing payments technology throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Earlier this month, the company announced it would support a new NFC payments service being launched by Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui. And in October 2011, Docomo partnered with South Korean telecom provider KT Corp. to develop a cross-border NFC payments service.