January 2, 2015
LINE, the popular messaging app, has launched its mobile payments service LINE Pay globally to all users of the app. This is a significant step for the company in the mobile commerce space. LINE Pay will go head to head with other mobile payments services like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Alipay, PayPal, etc. It is a recent trend that developers of messaging apps are now turning their services into mobile commerce platforms.
Companies such as LINE have already established a massive consumer base. This is giving them an ideal opportunity to participate in the mobile commerce sector more aggressively. LINE is turning its popular messaging platform into a powerful platform for mobile commerce services. This could threaten existing players in the space. LINE had already tested its mobile payments system in some countries. The test phase helped the company identify security issues and improve the service to better comply with financial regulations.
Some LINE users have already made purchases through in-app shopping and have also made payments to online merchants directly from smartphone. LINE users are required to add their financial information to the app before they can actually make purchases. The company is taking responsibility of monitoring all transactions in order to ensure security and uninterrupted access to the mobile payments service. The authentication of the payments would involve the use of a password. The iOS version of the app supports the use of Touch ID.
The company claims to have 170 million active users worldwide. LINE is further looking forward to add support for offline shopping, peer-to-peer remittance and a loyalty scheme as well. The new mobile payment service is part of a key strategy to add more revenue streams to the messaging app. Current revenue streams include a connected games platform, accounts run by brands to reach customers and sale of digital stickers. Line is competing against other popular messaging apps like WeChat, KakaoTalk, WhatsApp, etc. and is looking to diversify its services.
Besides Line Pay, other features are being added to the messaging platform like Line Wow, Line Maps and Line Taxi. Line Wow is a food delivery service in Japan while Line Taxi is similar to Uber. Line is shifting away from being just a communications tool. Line’s competitors are also trying to introduce some payment features. KakaoTalk recently launched KakaoPay for its South Korean customers. Even WeChat added a payment feature that let users pay their utility bills.