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Rakuten Edy service turns smartphones into card readers

TOKYO -- A subsidiary of Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten will soon launch a service allowing retailers to process electronic payments using smartphones without the need for a separate card-reading device.

     Rakuten Edy will initially deploy the service Friday at the Rakuten Kobo baseball stadium in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, for patrons to buy beer. While smartphones can already be made to process card payments by attaching a peripheral, this will mark the first time in Japan that the phone itself is the card reader.

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