Osaifu-Keitai: DoCoMo’s Powerfully Convenient Mobile Wallet

DoCoMo’s Osaifu-Keitai platform for mobile-wallet services has taken Japan by storm in less than three years. Osaifu-Keitai turns DoCoMo phones into powerfully convenient tools for payment applications and services that build on the i-mode mobile Internet platform. As an innovative business model backed by increasingly sophisticated and evolving partnerships, Osaifu-Keitai forms a win-win-win relationship among DoCoMo, service providers and customers. Osaifu-Keitai’s e-money applications also have gained popularity rapidly. DoCoMo subscribers can now use their phones for payments in countless convenience stores throughout Japan, as well as Tokyo’s massive fleet of taxis. Besides no more fumbling with cash, purchase histories and balances can be checked in a glance, and adding more e-money is as easy as pushing a few buttons.

Osaifu’ means ‘wallet’ and ‘keitai’ stands for ‘mobile phone’ in Japanese. DoCoMo announced in March that users of its Osaifu-Keitai compatible handsets had doubled to over 20 million in the previous 14 months — astonishing growth for a service launched in July 2004.