The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms & Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.
AwardsBest Bank Awards

Japan's best digital bank 2020: Rakuten Bank

Rakuten Bank

Hiroyuki Nagai, Rakuten Bank.jpg
Hiroyuki Nagai, Rakuten Bank

The old adage that one should never let a good crisis go to waste sure didn’t elude Hiroyuki Nagai’s staff during these last 12 months of coronavirus chaos.

For two decades now, Japan’s premier e-commerce site had been trying to turn the cash-obsessed populace toward digital applications. In more recent years, that has meant wallets and smartphone apps of the kinds already ubiquitous in China.

Japan’s demographics present a consumer idiosyncrasy. The 30% of households already older than 65 are far more inclined to stuff piles of 10,000 yen ($97) bills under their tatami mats than give electronic payments a try. Now, though, the pandemic has made Japanese of all generations worried about touching physical cash.

If any bank is ideally positioned to harness this about-face in consumer behaviour, it’s Rakuten Bank. Nagai’s team is riding this sizable head start to broaden its ecosystem, which includes card, insurance and securities subsidiaries.