Japanese fintech brand JCB: history and key products

JCB is one of the five largest payment systems in the world

JCB

Japanese fintech brand JCB: history and key products. Source: shutterstock.com

Uniquely yours – that’s a promising slogan of the Japanese fintech brand JCB. This message traces back to the early days of the only international payment company in Japan. Their unique approach differs from the others by being incredibly client-oriented. This is one of the factors that makes JCB a global payment card provider and the leading industry player in its home country. Currently, this famous company is the largest payment system in Japan and one of the five largest payment systems in the world, as well as one of the top ten B2C e-commerce market players globally.

The history of JCB

In fact, their initial brand message sounded: “Good times start here”. For Japanese customers, good times started in 1961 when the company’s founders created Japan Credit Bureau, later shortened to JCB.

The organization became a pioneer in many spheres. JCB issued Japan’s first credit card, compatible with the ISO standard. It also became the first private company in its native country to offer customers automated bank draft payment for credit card bills. In addition, their revolutionary Joy Joy credit card point reward program became the first of a kind in Japan and was eagerly accepted by users. Moreover, the company launched no-signature transaction acceptance ahead of all other financial organizations in Japan (in 1988).

In 1968, JCB merged with Osaka Credit Bureau (OCB) that brought the company new scale and perspectives.

JCB stood out among its Japanese competitors since it decided to reject outsourcing credit card issuance to already popular US-based international brands. Instead, the company established its own global service network.

Since the 1980s, the company has begun its international expansion. The net of services has gradually covered almost all corners of the world. First, their credit card solutions were offered in Asian markets. Then, offices in the US, Canada and Europe started opening. After that, the renowned services were offered to the citizens of Oceania, Australia and New Zealand. JCB is also currently present in many post-Soviet countries.

Having established partnerships with local financial institutions, JCB now has subsidiaries and offices across 23 countries and territories, with more than 130 million members. It partners with American Express, Diners Club International, Discover and Union Pay.

This cooperation provides their partners’ cardmembers with more payment options and gives JCB merchants access to a larger customer base worldwide. Therefore, JCB branded credit, debit and prepaid cards are now accepted in over 190 countries and territories.

JCB products and solutions

The main products of the Japan Credit Bureau brand are, naturally, its credit cards. However, debit, prepaid and gift cards are also popular among their international customer base. Moreover, the company provides branded contactless payment solutions and a range of membership privileges.

Visa and CPI Card Group

Enlisting the types of credit cards offered by JCB would be ridiculous. Source: shutterstock.com

Credit cards

Enlisting the types of credit cards offered by JCB would be ridiculous since there are over 20 distinctive brand products on the market in Japan only. Furthermore, you can get both JCB-only cards and co-branded ones. Truly, each customer can find something that satisfies their particular needs. Let’s just say that the credit product line includes Standard, Premium, Affinity and Corporate cards offering different sets of features. In addition, there’s a contactless version of the brand credit card for those cherishing speed and convenience.

Premium cards provide high added-value services such as dedicated service desks and free travel insurance. JCB The Class is the most luxurious offer of all which can be received only upon a special invitation. Its selected owners enjoy the special status, exclusive services and premium individual support.

JCB Plaza is the name of JCB’s service counters available at 60 locations around the world. Their staff receive inquiries and provide helpful information regarding reservations at JCB member merchants and sightseeing arrangements in the Japanese language. At 9 locations in major cities, JCB Plaza Lounges are also available exclusively for JCB members as spaces where they can spend time and relax as they please.

Corporate cards can be used by businesses of all sizes including self-employed entrepreneurs. They can be equipped with special optional features required by a particular organization.

Finally, Affinity Cards can combine credit card features with the partner organization’s services. Added features can include bonus, frequent flyer, cashback, discounts, benefit and loyalty programs. It is also possible to custom design those cards in very different ways by using specific graphics and illustrations.

Other cards

JCB Debit Cards withdraw transaction funds directly from your savings account at the issuing bank. They can be used at JCB merchants all over the world. Those include both brick-and-mortar and online stores. Each card payment in foreign currency overseas will be converted into yen by using the standard rate prescribed by JCB plus the rate set by the issuing bank.

Faith loan card comes with a borrowing limit of up to 5 million yen. The APR is quite competitive (4.4% – 12.5%) and depends on the borrowing limit. The application is completed online. If an applicant is considered eligible, the card will be delivered in about 3 business days. To receive a loan card, you have to be between 20 and 58 years old and have a stable monthly income at work. Persons whose current total borrowing balance (excluding housing and automobile loans) exceeds one-third of their annual income are not eligible. Students are not eligible for this type of card, even those working part-time.

Prepaid cards such as JCB Premo can be used at selected stores (both online and offline) and locations. You can load the card with the help of credit cards, gift cards, electronic money, cash, and all payment methods together. The JCB PREMO balance will be displayed on the receipt or purchase completion screen.

QUICPay

JCB developed the contactless payment product QUICPay which allows signature-free authorization of transactions. Customers can use QUICPay at major convenience stores, gas stations, supermarkets, and other shopping venues in Japan. The function embodies in both QUICPay contactless card and a mobile payment app. QUICPay payment balances can be settled with the credit card balance, and there are also membership rewards such as points and air miles.

JCB

JCB branded cards are now accepted in over 190 countries and territories. Source: shutterstock.com

JCB Shopping & Dining Passport

Initially released in 1989, this exclusive offer has recently been updated. In April 2010, JCB launched the new JCB Shopping and Dining Passport Tokyo full of discounts and special offers for JCB cardmembers traveling to Japan. It can be either picked up at JCB Plaza Tokyo (located in Shinjuku) or downloaded from the JCB brand site. The new JCB Shopping and Dining Passport is published in Chinese (traditional and simplified), Korean and English.

The owners of this brochure enjoy discounts at JCB recommended merchants in Tokyo, Osaka and Hokkaido. “Passports” provide information about recommended restaurants and shops along with handy maps for top travel destinations. You must present this passport or download the promotion page and purchase with your JCB card to take advantage of the special offers.

J/Smart

The smart card is the new emerging technology, which may be a shield against counterfeiting and has a strategic aim of the expanding capabilities and services. The smart card is embedded with an IC (Integrated Circuit) chip with a unique computing function and large memory capacity. Therefore, a single card can perform a wide range of additional functions such as credit or cash advances, ETC (electronic toll collection), loyalty programs, public transport fare payment, amusement park passes and E-purse. Applications for the Internet, digital satellite broadcasting, mobile phones and mobile terminals are also possible. In addition, the card can be used for accessing e-government services.

As an international payment brand, JCB has designed its own J/Smart™ credit application which is compliant with ISO 7816 standard and EMV Specification.

J/Secure

This e-commerce security solution enhances data safety compared to the currently prevalent method of payer authentication whereby the user only inputs their credit card number,  expiration date, and CVV code. Alternatively, J/Secure identifies the cardmember by requiring a pre-set password, or by using additional information gathered during the authentication process, such as the cardmember’s device or country.

Recently, Nexi has become the first payment provider to acquire JCB’s online security protocol in Europe, which will strengthen global transactions between Asian-Pacific buyers and luxury Italian e-commerce brands. Nexi S.p.A. formerly known as Istituto Centrale delle Banche Popolari Italiane S.p.A. (ICBPI) is a major Italian bank that specializes in payment systems.

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