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Line starts bank transfer service via smartphone payment platform

The LINE app logo is seen on an iPad in Tokyo. (Mainichi/Robert Sakai-Irvine)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Messaging app provider Line Corp. started Monday a new service that allows users to transfer money to bank accounts via its smartphone payment platform, a first for Japan in a crowded market.

Other mobile payment service providers in the country have enabled transfers between individuals using the same payment platform but Line allows its Line Pay users to remit money to bank accounts held by nonusers of the service, including those belonging to companies.

The daily limit for transfers was set at 100,000 yen ($920) with a fee of 176 yen for every remittance. Transfers can be executed simply by entering the name and phone number of the account owner, without the need to type the number of the bank account to which the money will be transferred.

When a sender wants to transfer money to a bank account without knowing the bank details, he or she sends a link to the recipient's email address or phone number via a mobile phone short message service.

To complete the transaction, the receiver clicks on the link containing information about the sender and the amount to be remitted and enters information about his or her bank account, while going through a process of identification.

The new function can be used for a wide variety of services, including the monthly payment of living expenses, rent or lesson fees, Line said.

The race to attract users has been heating up in the market of smartphone payment services in Japan, with phone carriers and banks joining the fray. The government has also been pushing for a cashless society in a bid to spur consumer spending.

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