Docomo, MUFG Bank Plan Tie-up on Financial Products 

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The logo of NTT Docomo Inc.

NTT Docomo Inc. and MUFG Bank plan to form a comprehensive alliance for new business in the financial sector.

Under the plan, special bank accounts will be available exclusively for Docomo users. The two companies will also work together on mortgages and unsecured loans. The two industry leaders will utilize each other’s customer bases to improve their profitability. They aim to reach an agreement by the end of March.

A plan to launch a new deposit account service, which will earn Docomo points when used to pay cell phone bills, is being considered. In the future, the two entities will also consider selling a variety of financial products through smartphones.

They will also consider forming a new company through joint investment to enter the financial services intermediary business. Legislation enacted last year will enable one-stop services in a wide range of financial fields, including banking, securities and insurance. They are also expected to offer services that make use of vast amounts of customer data.

In March, Docomo will introduce a new, cheaper phone plan in response to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s call for lower cell phone rates. With the profit margins of its mainstay cell phone business set to decline, the company will be pressed to develop financial services as a new source of revenue.

Docomo is already involved in cashless settlements using smartphones and the credit card business, but its services are considered inferior to those of competitors such as Softbank Corp. Docomo hopes to leverage MUFG’s large customer base of about 40 million accounts and its creditworthiness.

In September last year, it was discovered that cash had been illegally withdrawn from Docomo deposit accounts via its electronic payment service. MUFG aims to strengthen the protection of users by utilizing its expertise in data management.

On MUFG’s side, the tie-up with Docomo will allow it to reach out to customers that it had previously missed. It aims to attract people who live in areas where there are no branches and potential customers in younger generations.