TOKYO -- With smartphones, big data and artificial intelligence playing an increasing role in the way people handle money, Japan's Financial Services Agency is looking at ways to make it easier for nonfinancial companies to tap into the financial technology industry. The move is aimed at creating a framework for the authorities to supervise IT companies that act as "intermediaries" between banks and consumers.
The Financial System Council, one of the prime minister's advisory councils, is to begin discussions within a newly established working group on Thursday. The group is expected to determine the direction for the development of laws by the end of the year and propose a review of amendments to related acts at the next regular Diet session.
The FSA is targeting the increasing number of intermediaries providing smartphone-based cash management services to the general public. Money Forward, for example, provides an automated household accounts and asset management service platform.
The Tokyo-based startup provides services that obtain encrypted bank account deposits and withdrawals and credit card history to create automated household accounts. Its feature of consolidating account information held at various institutions has attracted around 3.5 million users.
Other startups such as Zaim and Moneytree are also providing similar services.
In Europe and the U.S., startups such as these are allowed to issue remittance instructions to banks at the request of the user. Japan's laws have yet to address such services, meaning the intermediaries currently operate with no legal framework.