CardLinx member Rakuten announced today that it would launch a bank and card-issuing business in the USA. Rakuten is headquartered in Japan, where it is the number one e-commerce site and has rapidly become a top Japanese card issuer with its Rakuten Card payment card. In the USA, Rakuten owns the leading online-to-online affiliate network and has grown to become a leading online-to-offline affiliate network with RCLON (Rakuten Card-Linked Offer Network). In Europe, Rakuten has already been a card issuer for several years and also owns the popular social media and messaging app called Viber.
Rakuten’s announcement confirms the accelerating trend for e-commerce and technology companies to also become meaningful global players in credit cards, payments, and off-line commerce. Earlier this year, Apple announced it would launch its own companion credit card. Facebook also announced a new payment crypto-currency to accompany its popular Facebook and Instagram social media businesses.
The increasing importance of payments to e-commerce and technology businesses is clear. The need for payments and offers is driven by the intense competition to drive digital engagement for consumers.