East Japan Railway Company (JR East), NTT DoCoMo, JCB, and bitWallet just announced that they have agreed to share a common platform to enable their e-payment brands — Suica, iD, QUICPay and Edy — to share the same point-of-sale reader/writer device and data center. The system is expected to begin commercial operation with the Suica and iD brands in January 2007, with QUICPay and Edy [ .jpg image ] to be added subsequently.
Via: DoCoMo PR:
The shared platform will significantly improve convenience for customers, encourage more merchants to install the reader/writers, and promote the wider use of mobile phones and other devices with FeliCa smart-card technology for small-sum transactions. The platform is being jointly developed by JR East and DoCoMo based on an agreement between the two companies in July 2005 to create and manage common infrastructure for JR East’s Suica e-money and DoCoMo’s Osaifu-Keitai credit card service, both of which are based on FeliCa smart-card technology.
A quick snapshot of the current market share for each brand according the today’s Yomiuri:
The four services are Bitwallet, Inc.’s Edy, in use at 43,000 shops; East Japan Railway Co.’s Suica used at 8,300 shops; NTT DoCoMo, Inc.’s iD, used at 50,000 shops; and QUICPay, used at 10,000 shops by several firms, including JCB Co. and Toyota Finance Corp. The number of people registered as users of Edy is 21 million: Suica 17.5 million: iD 750,000 and QUICPay 70,000. About 40 million people will use the new scanning system from next spring at the earliest and the companies involved hope that the agreement will boost electronic money services.