Japanese banks rushing to develop cashless options

A new law has been introduced in Japan to reduce the high usage of cash in the country. The law, which is being gradually phased in over the next two years, could spur increased financial sector competition from FinTech giants such as Ant Financial and Apple Inc. as well as startups like Ripple Labs Inc. and Origami Inc.

As a response, banks are now rushing into digital payment services in order to protect their business and not lose out to new rivals. Projects are now under way to develop platforms using everything from QR codes to blockchain technology and digital currencies. For example, many banks have already begun submitting draft policies on application programming interfaces (APIs) that will open up their systems to FinTech firms seeking to do everything from payments and remittances to budget planning. The Financial Services Agency expects most lenders to have open APIs in place by 2020.