Asia Briefing: Fexco signs deal with Japanese credit card group

Killorglin-based global financial services group Fexco has just signed a multimillion euro deal with the Tokyo-based Mitsubishi UFJ Nicos (MUN), one of Japan's largest credit card groups with the largest merchant network there, which will create jobs in Kerry and in Tokyo.

“It is a very significant deal for the company and will generate a number of new positions at our headquarters in Ireland, and also an increasing number in the Tokyo office,” said Dermot O’Shea, the executive director at Fexco Holdings.

Fexco will provide MUN with dynamic currency conversion, a financial service in which holders of credit cards have the cost of a transaction converted to their local currency when making a payment in a foreign currency.

It means consumers get a rate of exchange at the point of sale rather than waiting for a statement at the end of the billing cycle.

“We expect the first live transaction next month and it is a five-year, multimillion euro contract,” he said.

MUN is one of the largest acquirers in Japan, with a strong sales network and the latest settlement technologies. The group chose Fexco as its partner for dynamic currency conversion based on a number of key factors, including the Irish company's proven global experience in the area, financial services risk profile and commitment to build local resources in Japan.

Dynamic currency conversion
Fexco introduced the world's first dynamic currency conversion service in 1996 and still leads the market globally, providing solutions to more than 70,000 merchants with 35 acquiring banks.

Working out the details of the link-up took a number of years, he said.

“Japan is a slow-burn. You have to build up the relationship and trust with companies in Japan and they are meticulous in their research. Once they commit, things happen quickly,” said Mr O’Shea.

“You’ve got to allow yourself the time and get to know the cultures. It’s in the Irish DNA, the respect for other cultures, but you can’t just ride in and say ‘Hey, we’re here from Ireland, give us the business’. You need to spend the time,” said O’Shea.

The initial roll out of Fexco dynamic currency conversion (DCC) in Japan will focus particularly on business travellers and tourists coming to Tokyo from the United States, South Korea, Australia, Taiwan, Europe and Hong Kong, offering the service at hotels with large numbers of guests from these countries.

Ryusuke Narukawa, MUN's executive director, said the group had added dynamic currency conversion functionality to their cloud-based multi-purpose termina ("J-Mups") that they are rolling out in Japan.

"By adding on DCC, our merchant customer base will be able to provide enhanced services and higher satisfaction to international visitors to Japan, facilitating transactions in the hotel, retail and entertainment sectors," he said.

Further opportunities

Fexco has been in Asia for many years, and has a regional HQ in Hong Kong, and O’Shea said he hoped there would be further opportunities in the region down the road.

“We establish a beachhead and look to extend our operations into other countries. As far as Japan is concerned, we are very proud of securing a partnership with the largest acquirer in Japan and that will keep us busy for the next while. We will look for other opportunities in the region,” said Mr O’Shea.

“We are in Asia and we are in Japan and our intention is to be there for the long term. We hope this is encouraging for other Irish companies to look to Japan.”