December 6, 2014
Earlier this year, Line Corporation, known for its popular messaging app, had cited plans for a mobile payments service. A new payment feature dubbed as ‘Line Pay’ is soon to be launched on the messaging app, which now has 170 million monthly users. Line Pay would allow users to pay through the app at online as well as physical stores. The payment service would require users to register their payment cards. Future updates to Line Pay would bring a P2P remittance service 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.
Here is an illustration on how the service would look like on a mobile interface:
Considering security of payments, Line is leaving nothing to chance. Users won’t be allowed to use their standard account password for Line Pay. iOS users will have the option of using Apple Touch ID present on compatible iDevices. Access to Line Pay would require use of a separate set of passwords. Accessing Line Pay from a PC would require the two-step authentication procedure where a password would be require to be entered on the computer and a separate authorization code sent to the user’s smartphone.
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.
The company is poised to take the Line Pay service global in the near future. The service would be competitive on a commission basis as Line is promising the lowest rates possible. Line Pay aims to bring additional services in the future like sending money to overseas contacts and a loyalty scheme called Line Pay Points.
Line Pay would be officially available to users as an update to the Android and iOS apps later this month.