Paymo has become the latest addition to Japan’s mobile payments sector. Launched in January 2017, it follows the likes of Apple Pay and Origami Pay, but differentiates itself by focusing on making it easier for people to pay individually at social occasions.
The service, which is operated by Tokyo-based AnyPay, has announced its debut with a short film called ‘Table Trick’. Developed by Party, the film features Kanon Kawaguchi (an up-and-coming model who has appeared in work for Sony and Subaru), and an upbeat original soundtrack. It was apparently shot in close to a single take and aims to present the Paymo experience as seamless and hassle-free. Kawaguchi is shown flitting from one social occasion to another, impressing the gathering each time by whisking a Paymo-branded tablecloth off a fully set table.
Paymo’s tagline translates as ‘Turn going Dutch into fond memories’. Mandy Wang, a spokesperson for Party in Tokyo, said Paymo aims to accelerate the use of cashless services in Japan by helping reduce the awkwardness of one person footing the bill for occasions like dinner or karaoke and chasing the group for payment afterwards. The app facilitates the collection of outstanding money by centralising communication and transactions. Payments can be saved as points on the app or transferred directly to users’ bank accounts.
Core target users are people in their 20s and 30s who have experience of making mobile payments and often find themselves in such situations with friends or colleagues. A selling point is ease of registration, which requires name, user ID, email and credit card details but not personal details from official documents such as a driving licence. Wang said it is “slowly picking up speed with the general public”. AnyPay is reportedly targeting 7 million downloads in Paymo’s first year.
DoCoMo kicked off mobile payments in Japan over a decade ago. Adoption is still not as widespread as might be expected for such a technologically advanced nation, but has grown rapidly in recent years. According to Bloomberg, the country’s cashless payments network spans close to 2 million terminals. Restaurants and cafés account for a large proportion of all cashless payments.
Paymo’s parent company AnyPay was founded by Singapore-based Shinji Kimura, a co-founder of the news curation app Gunosy. AnyPay was established as a credit card payment platform for small businesses. Readers should note that the Paymo discussed here bears no relation to a project management application of the same name.
Campaign’s view: The visuals are attractive, but the song is perhaps the most important feature of the work as it’s both unusually catchy and helps give a clearer understanding of what Paymo is all about. Something to consider is that videos tend to be viewed silently on platforms like Facebook, but the film does include subtitles. Does the absence of a big-name celebrity endorser matter? Not at all, we think. All in all it seems very well directed at Paymo’s target group, but the style, protagonist and settings will naturally appeal more to female users. A male-skewed alternative would balance things out.
This article has been updated to clarify that AnyPay is headquartered in Tokyo and its founder is based in Singapore.