January 10, 2014 12:15 pm JST

Japan credit card payments likely exceeded $358B in 2013

TOKYO -- Total credit card payments in Japan likely grew by about 9% on the year to top 38 trillion yen ($358 billion) in 2013, the Japanese government has announced. Increasing big-ticket purchases stemming from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic program and more online consumption were likely major influences in this growth.     

     Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said that shopping by credit card reached 31.4 trillion yen in the period from January through October 2013, up 8.8% on the year. The projected total for the full year is around 9% due to the consumption spike that came in the year-end shopping season.

     The growth in credit card usage for 2013 is a return to levels seen just before the beginning of the global financial crisis in late 2008.

     "Large payments at department stores and home electronics retailers have obviously increased," an official of Sumitomo Mitsui Card said. 

     Private consumption for all of fiscal 2013, which lasts through March, is expected to be 316 trillion yen, with credit cards accounting for 12% of this, up 2 percentage points from 2008.