We've been hearing so much about the success of RFID-based e-cash and credit in the Far East recently, it makes a pleasant change to hear of one moderately popular Western service making the trip to Japan instead.

Toshiba Japan and Mastercard have announced that they have created a new RFID chip that will enable the card company to roll out its PayPass contactless credit payment system in Japan.

Used in UK

PayPass transactions are already available in over 100,000 outlets worldwide, mostly in the US and UK, but the technology used there is incompatible with the technology in Japan, the undisputed home of contactless payments.

Kazuhiro Kubota of Toshiba explains: "Although contactless payment applications are common in Japan, they are specific to each vendor and therefore inconvenient for consumers since they are not compatible with systems used overseas."

Tough competition

The two firms will make the new chip available to card-issuing companies from the end of this year, with a clear view to joining the slew of electronic payment options already available in Japan.

Getting the 'wave and go' technology into Japanese credit cards will be one thing, but competing with the incumbents offering the same services and with mobile phone carriers that give customers that technology plus myriad other gadgets in a single handset will be a tall order.