Line prematurely announced the introduction of its chat app payment feature earlier this month, but now it has begun rolling out to its 500 million-plus registered users.
The Japanese company announced a new update that brings Line Pay to all users (bar those in China and South Korea), but thus far none of us staffers at TechCrunch have noticed the option appear within our Line apps. (Update: I have it now.)
The full rollout is expected to take up to a month to reach all users, but those who got the option to bind their credit card to Line Pay early on have experienced some teething issues anyway, as Tech In Asia notes.
The principal goal of Line Pay is to enable users to make payments via the chat app, in the same way that users of Kakao Talk in Korea and WeChat in China already can. (The omission of China and Korea from the launch may be down to the competition Line would face against these dominant chat apps in those two countries.)
Line said it works with cards from American Express, Diner’s Club, JCB, Master Card, and Visa. It will initially support payments in the Line Store — which sells stickers and themes — only, but the company plans to allow global users to make online/in-app purchases, send money to Line friends, and pay for goods offline in the future.
Security is understandably a major concern. Line said it will require a unique 7-digital password for transactions, while users will be required to authenticate via their mobile (using a password or Touch ID on iOS) if they make payment via the desktop version of the service.
Line Pay is an interesting new project because, beyond increasing convenience for users, Line stands to benefit if a large number of users sign up to it. Significant adoption lays down the potential to introduce new services, such as e-commerce services that it has tested in Southeast Asia, its upcoming music streaming service and more, in the knowledge that the payment barrier is significantly lowered because users’ bank cards are already bound to Line Pay.