MAG Insights

Announcements from the MAG & Featured Articles

MAG Sponsor Spotlight: Bringing Together Asia Pacific Consumers and US Merchants (MAG Quarterly- Volume Four, Issue Four)

By Dan Skaling, Executive Vice President, JCBUSA

December 1, 2016

E-commerce and brick & mortar spending by Asia Pacific consumers at US merchants continues to rise.  Dan Skaling of JCB, Japan’s leading payment brand, shares his thoughts on how merchants can leverage this trend to increase sales.  

Never heard of JCB?  Unlikely if you are a merchant who values the business opportunities that have come from the explosive economic growth in Asia, or have spent time in Japan, where JCB has been a leading payment brand since 1961.  But JCB has from the beginning aspired to become a global player, and its establishment in the US in 1981 to serve JCB cardmembers visiting the US was a huge step in this pursuit.  JCB now has 95 million cardmembers and is accepted by over 31 million merchants in 190 countries and territories, including the US, where it uses Discover’s rails and is accepted at nearly all of their merchants.

In recent years, the primary target of JCB’s growth has been Asia where millions of cards have been issued in China, South Korea, Taiwan, and emerging economies such as Vietnam and Thailand.  For merchants this has meant that to benefit from the spending power of the increasingly affluent consumers from these countries, it is critical to include JCB among the payment options offered.  This is true for both brick & mortar and ecommerce merchants, who continue to benefit from the more frequent travel and increasing affluence of Asian consumers as they purchase products and services from US merchants.

Most of JCB’s face-to-face volume comes from major tourist attractions and cities popular with Asian tourists and business travelers to the US, such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Honolulu.  But as Japanese and increasingly other visitors from Asia move beyond group tours and venture to less well-known destinations across the US, purchase volume is picking up across the country – especially as visitor numbers from Japan, Korea, and China in particular continue to rise.  JCB is the preferred brand for many consumers in these countries, so to avoid missing sales we recommend that merchants confirm that JCB is included as a payment option.

Since it runs on the Discover rails, JCB should already be among the brands on your POS device or checkout page.  Your acquirer or POS software provider can help you fix any acceptance issues, and we recommend that you confirm the J/Smart implementation is included on your EMV solution.  Also critical to leveraging JCB acceptance is to have the logo visible along with other payment methods, and staff trained to recognize the card when presented.  At a restaurant, for example, if the logo is not there servers will waste time searching for it rather than attending to customers.  We have also found higher spending at merchants with the logo prominently displayed.  For ecommerce, if JCB is not included in the dropdown menu, conversion rates may be impacted as valuable customers go to other sites. 

JCB is a proud first-year sponsoring member of the MAG, and we look forward to a long-term association as we navigate together this rapidly changing payments environment.  The MAG provides an unparalleled opportunity for us to connect with leading merchants and payments industry peers, learn from each other, and build lasting and mutually beneficial relationships.