The number of prepaid electronic money cards in circulation hit 182.17 million in June, or triple what it was five years ago, a recent Bank of Japan survey said.
The number of e-money cards, including East Japan Railway Co.’s Suica and Rakuten Inc.’s Edy, has been growing at an annual pace of 15 percent to 20 percent in recent years, the central bank said.
The BOJ credited the surge to people in their 30s who were the first to use the technology when it debuted and have since shed their privacy concerns to adopt it.
According to the survey, those in their 30s are the biggest users of the cards for transactions of ¥1,000 or less (14 percent), and between ¥1,000 and ¥5,000 (9 percent), compared with all other age groups.
Yasuhide Yajima, chief economist of NLI Research Institute, said the use of e-money cards will continue to spread because elderly people feel safe using them and they can be handled like cash.