Country Analysis


Asia Pacific

Real-Time Payments Launch


Real-Time Transactions



Real-Time Transactions Forecast



Japan Experiences 6% Real-Time Transaction Growth in 2022-2023

Launched in 1973, Japan’s Zengin System is the world’s oldest real-time payments system. However, it is not one of the most developed. In 2023, real-time payments represented only a 3.7% share of total payments volume in Japan, and this share is not expected to change significantly by 2028. In terms of payments volume, Japanese consumers still overwhelmingly prefer paper-based payments — largely cash, with its market share representing 62% of total payments volume in 2023. By 2028, paper-based payments are expected to decline to 54.6% of total transactions, but this decrease will primarily benefit card-based payments.

For the past several decades, the Japanese market has proven to be very resistant to change from its entrenched cultural preference for cash (and to a lesser extent, cards). However, the Japanese government is gradually pushing to transition from a cash-dominated society to a digital economy. In April 2023, the Japanese government lifted a ban on digital salary payments. This allows companies in Japan to pay salaries digitally — transferring salaries directly to their employees’ smartphone payment applications instead of moving funds into their bank accounts — a step in the Japanese government’s strategy to move the nation toward a cashless society.

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