About The Blog

Debate at the intersection of business, technology and culture in the world of digital money, both commercial and government, a blog born from the Digital Money Forum in London and sponsored by Consult Hyperion

Advertisers

Technorati

  • Add to
Technorati Favorites

License

  • Creative Commons

    Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

    Please note that by replying in this Forum you agree to license your comments in the same way. Your comments may be edited and used but will always be attributed.

« Cheap as chips | Main | Comforting phone call »

Competition for cash

By davebirch posted Mar 15 2007 at 8:45 AM

[Dave Birch] Some unrepentant e-cash fanboy was quoted saying that "society will eventually end its love affair with cash and embrace technology - as in Japan where mobile phones, not bank cards, are replacing coins and notes".  It this a reasonable comment or techno-blinkered boosterism?  We need, as Aneace says, to find some figures on actual transactions performed with mobile phones.  Let's look at Japan.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

The main alternative to cash in Japan in the EDY (euro-dollar-yen) stored-value e-purse run by bitWallet, but in the last couple of years four other competing contactless payment schemes have launched.  EDY now has to compete with DoCoMo's DCMX credit product, the Suica combination train and e-purse scheme and the new Pasmo combination transit and e-purse scheme.  Seven-Eleven Japan is about to launch another contactless payment service, called “nanaco,” in 12,000 stores.  Phew.

But, you might note, Japan is a cash-oriented society.  In Japan, 90% of retail payments are cash whereas in the UK it is 60% (although, obviously, a much higher proportion of small payments).  But on the other hand, 90% of payments in the UK used to made in cash, so maybe we're ahead of the curve.

In February 2006, Japanese consumers performed 15 million transactions with the nearly 27 million Edy cards and Mobile Edy applications on wallet phones in circulation.  For comparison, I think Visa has around 70m+ cards in circulation in Japan and just one major card issuer, Sumitomo Mitsui (which is partly owned by DoCoMo), handles about $3 billion per month.  Nevertheless, the EDY volume is more than double the 11 million monthly transactions made a year earlier.  80% of EDY users carry cards, 20% use EDY on phones (all the telcos --DoCoMo, KDDI and Softbank -- have EDY handsets).  There are nearly 50,000 merchant locations that accept EDY.

While the EDY application already runs on a number of banking cards, bitWallet is about to extend the reach significantly.  ATM cards issued by Japan’s postal savings bank are the next stop: and this is vitally important because the postal savings bank is huge there.  Japan Post has agreed to put EDY as well as Suica onto some of the more than 70 million magnetic stripe ATM cards it is replacing with chip cards.  And bitWallet will try to expand the merchant network to gas stations, retail shops and restaurants along Japan’s toll motorways.

What I find particularly interesting about the latest figures is that Japanese consumers are already buying goods and services over the Internet by tapping their EDY cards or mobile phones on readers connected to or built into PCs and as we have discussed before, bitWallet hopes to increase use of Edy for e-commerce, along with payment by the e-purse for downloads of games to PlayStation 3 consoles.  As in Europe, where we expect NFC interfaces to be built in to a variety of consumer electronics, more devices (such as set-top boxes) will be sprouting contactless interfaces to support small payments in the future.

So what does all this means when it comes to figures?  Well, here's the key one: the Feds say that the Bank of Japan reported that the total amount of coin in circulation has started to fall for the first time on record.

These opinions are my own (I think) and presented solely in my capacity as an interested member of the general public [posted with ecto]

Comments

In today’s highly competitive outsourcing market, a closer proximity to the United States , Central Time Zone and Spanish language capability as an added value are now considered almost basic requirements when making a decision on what call center to use for your important project. Leaving this to chance is not even an option anymore.

Many of the offshore call center agents are bilingual in their native Middle Eastern or Asian language which is difficult to the North American ear. Whereas Spanish is more useful and practical as a second language for potential untapped markets throughout the North, Central and South American populations as well as those countries where Spanish is either a primary or secondary language. This aspect alone has made Costa Rica a very attractive “near-shore” outsourcing solution. Most importantly, you can take advantage of the international tax laws granted to international companies that invest in Costa Rica and its local economy. The potential savings and benefits will make your outsourcing campaign a very wise business decision.

In addition, unlike other traditional call centers, Costa Rica’s Call Center stays focused on managing no more than a hundred person call center, one outsourced or inbound customer oriented campaign at a time in order to properly control quality, performance and positive employee morale. Once capacity is reached at one of our call centers, another location will be created with the same structure and business plan in order to keep our call center results and expectations consistently higher than that of the competition.

Call center software is as important to an outsourced campaign as telemarketing training. Both areas must be secure, reliable and willing to out perform the same competition that you are currently considering. Costa Rica has a very solid infrastructure ,stable democratic government, very competitive labor costs and a call center job pool that is especially attunded to the North American culture. Call center jobs are some of the top paying career opportunities in Costa Rica. This differs greatly from other countries that consider it as a starting position in a dead end company. Turnover at these other locations are five to ten times more than in Costa Rica. The high demand for call center services has provided our company with an abundance of respectable resumes of qualified telemarketers that want to work with and for you.

We encourage you to visit one of our call centers on your next personal vacation or business trip to Central America’s paradise, Costa Rica. While you are here, we would recommend taking an extra day of your trip to visit breathtaking virgin beaches, play golf next to the ocean, try your luck at deep sea fishing, explore tropical jungles, climb a volcano or just relax in natural hot springs. Come and see for yourself why call center outsourcing in Costa Rica is a perfect solution for your growing company and a powerhouse in the BPO industry.


http://www.costaricascallcenter.com/why_costarica.html

Great post, Dave.

Great. Thanks for the update--good to know the source.

Bill

Where did you get the info that states: "the Feds say that the Bank of Japan reported that the total amount of cash in circulation has started to fall for the first time on record"? It's not in the Boston Fed report . . .

Bill S.
SVP, Unidelp

[Dave Birch] I apologise unreservedly for my sloppy editing. The Philidelphia Fed report says that "coin" in circulation fell, not "cash", and I have edited the blog post to make the correction. Thanks for drawing my attention to it. The full quote is "The large number of cardholders and transactions is one measure of these products’ success in Japan; another is the recently observed changes in coin usage. The Bank of Japan has reported that coins in circulation dropped by 0.05 percent in 2005, marking the first time that such a decrease has been observed since the bank started keeping records 30 years ago. The first few months of 2006 show additional
declines."

The comments to this entry are closed.