Nintendo customers can top up their store wallets with an NFC tap
Nintendo has brought NFC payments to Japan in a new update to its Wii U console.
The update means that customers can now top up their online Nintendo eShop wallet by swiping their Suica card across the Wii U’s GamePad.
The Nintendo eShop allows players to buy games for their Wii U and 3DS online and download them directly to the devices. By accepting NFC payments from a Suica card – which is a card used to pay for train tickets in Japan, a little like an Oyster card – it means that Japanese gamers can purchase games and top up their wallet really easily using the funds on their Suica card. It’s also another use for the Suica card and thus makes it even more ubiquitous in Japanese society, especially as the Wii U grows in popularity in the region.
The NFC payment works thanks to an NFC reader embedded into the Wii U GamePad that was designed for both payments and for interactivity with games and figures.
While this feature hasn’t been announced for the US and European market, there’s nothing really holding back this feature rolling out elsewhere.
However, there could be concerns that linking it to a credit or debit card would be detrimental, where as a pre-paid Suica card means that customers can’t overspend too easily.
Still, NFC payments are still in their infancy in Japan, so a move like this from Nintendo is rather forward thinking. Japanese-based payments network JCB has plans to test and roll out a contactless payments service in Tokyo, before launching the service commercially in 2015.
Perhaps this introduction of NFC into Japanese homes might help spur contactless adoption in the region.