Back in October, mobile messaging app LINE said it was prepping a mobile payments solution. Now we know the feature will officially be rolled out around the world under the moniker LINE Pay.
The service will allow users to connect their accounts with a credit card in order to make payments directly from their smartphones.
Eventually, the plan is for LINE Pay to gain ground as an accepted method of payment in both virtual and real-world stores. There’s even promises of peer-to-peer payments where friends will be able to send money to each other through the service, allowing groups to “go halves” on restaurant bills and so on.
For now, however, the service will be restricted to a handful of affiliated retailers – including LINE’s own online store, where you can use it to buy stickers and the like.
And to encourage usage, for a limited time, all purchases made in the store via LINE Pay will be rewarded with a 25% chargeback bonus.
The bigger picture
Launched back in 2011 in Japan, LINE has made no secret of the fact that it wants to turn its offering into a global lifestyle platform, covering everything from messaging and games to payments.
The success of LINE Pay will be a key indicator of whether the Tokyo-based company can achieve this ambition.
With over 170 million active monthly users in 230 countries using LINE on iOS and Android, and a slew of gaming and camera applications on the side, LINE has certainly made a name for itself in the digital space.
Indeed, the company reported revenue of $192 million in the last quarter, which is up 18 percent quarter-on-quarter, or 104 percent year-on-year.
However, LINE faces stiff competition in the mobile messaging space from the likes of Kakao, WhatsApp and WeChat, and mobile payments will be no different. With Google having launched its own mobile payment system in the form of Google Wallet, and the roll out of Apple Pay across America in September, the digital commerce industry is growing rapidly.
LINE Pay will launch as part of the updated LINE app soon.