Megabank and Mobile Carrier Partnerships

Akihabara News (Tokyo) — There is an emerging trend in Japan of megabanks starting to partner up with major mobile phone carriers.

The first move of this sort took place last June when SoftBank and Mizuho Financial Group announced that they would partner on delivering financial services via smartphones. Now comes news that the largest players in their respective fields, NTT Docomo and MUFG Bank, are also on the verge of forming a comprehensive tie-up on financial operations.

While the details of these partnerships are likely to have variations in terms of the range of financial services that they encompass, they hold in common the characteristic that customers of a certain mobile phone carrier will be given preferential treatment with the partner megabank.

In this way, it seems likely that mobile carrier services and banking services in Japan may increasingly be seen as part of a package deal.

Docomo and MUFG Bank have yet to publicly confirm their agreement, but in regard to its own arrangement with SoftBank last June, Mizuho commented, “The two companies will work to support and assist customers in realizing new lifestyles by cultivating the next generation of financial services that tailor finance businesses to different scenarios in people’s lifestyles, enabled by smartphones, as well as by offering highly convenient, new online services.”

If the Docomo-MUFG Bank deal goes forward, it seems only a matter of time before the other two major mobile carriers, KDDI and Rakuten, make their own bank partnerships, though only one megabank, SMBC, remains open for such an arrangement.

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