Electronic money is a digital equivalent of cash, stored on an electronic device or remotely at a server.
Most of the electronic money in Japan is used to pay for train fares. Electronic money has been applied, for example, as JR East’s prepaid train ticket (Suica) and JR West’s IC Operating card (ICOCA). Suica and ICOCA are plastic cards with a built-in IC chip. Suica was originally introduced in 2001.
In addition, many types of electronic money are used in other train stations in Japan. For example, Kitaca is electronic money in the Hokkaido area, Sugoca is used in the Kyusyu area, etc. Most electronic money is also used to pay for goods at convenience stores in Japan.
In 2004, NTT DoCoMo launched a mobile phone that uses smart card chip to realize electronic money capability. Recently, many people have been using these kinds of electronic money cards in Japan.