Asian Contactless Wallet Trials Faring Poorly

For years, Asia has taken the lead in anything that intersects consumers and wireless, with Europe one notch behind Asia and the U.S. a good two notches behind Europe. It should be no surprise that the same pattern had emerged with the rolling out of various contactless applications, especially RFID-embedded credit/debit cards.

With that in mind, this story from CardTechnology is quite eye-opening, with a look at how Asian consumers are simply not taking to a major Japanese trial with contactless mobile-wallet phones from telco NTT DoCoMo and a major railroad.

Some 13 months after its much-anticipated launch in January 2006, only 350,000 customers had signed up for the mobile service. That's only about a third of what the commuter rail operator had expected. Nor was 2006 a breakthrough year for any of Japan's other contactless payment schemes that have launched service on wallet phones, known as "Osaifu-Keitai" in Japan. This piece is definitely worth reading if you're considering any contactless payment project this year.