UPDATED – SBI-Ripple JV Receives E-Payments Regulatory Approval

In Japan, SBI Ripple Asia’s new MoneyTap app will enable real time payments through bank accounts, phone numbers and QR codes.

1 October 2018 – Background from Financial Times report.

A joint venture between SBI Holdings and Ripple Asia has secured regulatory approval to handle electronic payments as an ESASP (Electronic Settlement Agency Service Provider).

SBI Ripple Asia announced that it had registered with the Kantou bureau of Japan’s Ministry of Finance as a licensed agent for handling electronic payments. As a ESASP, SBI Ripple Asia can process, manage and transmit digital payments in Japan.

The licence comes under new legislation in Japan that strengthens regulatory oversight over fintech and electronic payment technology companies as well as crypto exchanges.

SBI Ripple Asia has developed a DLT (distributed ledger technology) based payments app for smartphones called MoneyTap in Japan, which will enable users to make instant payments to anyone through a bank account, phone number or QR code.

Following its approval, the company will now work to launch the MoneyTap app to the larger public.

SBI Ripple Asia’s main client is the Japan Bank Consortium, consisting of 61 local banks. SBI Sumishin Net Bank, Suruga Bank and Resona Bank will be the first to go live on the MoneyTap app when it is rolled out later this year.

Its launch is seen as an important step in helping Japan to achieve its goal of reducing the use of cash, which still accounts for 80 percent of transactions in the country, reported the FT. “The FSA is trying to reduce cash as a percentage of the economy and once people use the new MoneyTap system they will never go back,” said Takashi Okita, chief executive of SBI Ripple Asia and a former FSA official.

Japanese banks charge customers about USD 3 to transfer even small amounts of money to other accounts via the existing Zengin payments system, which only operates until 3pm on weekdays. This is considered much more expensive and slower than many other countries.

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