AI Banking: The Difference Between Japan and the USA

Emerging technologies and developments certainly modify to the core the way in which we are living, but most importantly, the way in which we carry out our work. We have become increasingly productive and accurate in the workplace, we can deliver better and more than ever before, thanks to technologies such as VR or AI. But how societies and cultures react to these developments varies enormously, depending on their specifics and innate traits. For instance, as fintech technologies emerged and were implemented in Japan, the entire economic climate was shaken to the core. However, western civilizations and cultures, like the one we find in the US, seem to be dealing more successfully with change and evolution, but we should also remember the fact that eastern civilizations are catching up fast.

Organizational frameworks and hierarchies differ enormously from the Far East to Western civilizations and this is incredibly visible in Japan – USA dichotomy. This impacts how AI and fintech developments are embraced by different countries, how these technologies change and create deep discrepancies in the same economic and business climate.

Pros of AI Banking and Fintech

No matter where you find yourself on the globe, you most certainly appreciate fast and reliable services. And this is specifically what Fintech seems to be offering in all regards. The proponents of fintech businesses and enterprises claim that similar technologies expand the options that one has when it comes to banking and financial solutions. The advantages are obvious to them, as similar technologies make financial services and products widely accessible to a variety of consumers, not only for the high-income consumer. As of 2017, one in three digital consumers is using fintech technologies as a banking solution.

Financial services such as investing, securing financial loans and obtaining business loans already became more accessible for lower-income families and individuals, and soon enough, we might be witnessing the emergence of alternative mortgage loans, supplied by fintech developers and enterprises, such as ETNA and Railsware.

The main facilitator in this process is AI. The ease with which data is collected, distributed and used makes banking solutions more accessible to an increasing number of individuals. Also, considering the fact that fintech enterprises use different kinds of data and consider other factors when they tailor their solutions, these meet the needs and demands of larger populations. This differentiates such enterprises from traditional banks, their norms and customs. This way, new capital growth opportunities appear for social and economic classes that were previously disadvantaged and new jobs are successfully created in a climate where growth and development is the rule.

Concerns Raised by AI Banking and Fintech Developments

There are opponents of these developments, however, and they are quite vocal when cautioning about a too-fast implementation of similar technologies.

And maybe those who will face the downsides of fintech sooner rather than later are small enterprises with limited capacities of implementation. Further concerns about the fintech in small-management enterprises’ case are the lack of scalability options as well as limited financial resources. These will face the downsides of not being able to keep up with the necessary technologies for implementing such solutions in the context of an underdeveloped or poorly-tailored business plan.

However, emerging fintech start-ups are always ready to foresee similar issues and grow and adapt to the shortcomings of the industry. Furthermore, these businesses invest plenty in their image, as per information provided by the experts in the industry, mainly through corporate events and conferences, as well as through smart and unexpected marketing strategies. This leads to an increasing number of jobs generated indirectly by fintech businesses.

What could US fintech companies do for guaranteed success in Japan marketplaces?

Just like in any other instance, aggressive marketing campaigns and awareness programs may be the key to succeed in new, unexplored marketplaces.

Corporate events and conferences, claims Tadashi Machida , director of JTB Communication Design and Expert in Corporate events and conferences, are the key to increased awareness in new markets. Making the consumer fully aware of the advantages of fintech solutions, exploring the opportunities opened by alternate banking solutions, this is the future in Japan.

There are some ways in which US finance companies could contribute to increasing fintech adoption rates:

  • Networking events in both US and Japan, events to illustrate the advantages brought by similar technologies.
  • Experience exchange between talent in the US and Japan is an impressive way in which US companies can share experience and valuable insights in the sector. As surprising as it seems, doing so will benefit the economy of all countries involved in similar exchanges.
  • The insight and direct contact with the business climate and culture in different contexts might open new perspectives and possibilities.

Cultural differences translate into different rates of adoption and utilization

As opposing cultures, the parallel between the US and Japan is the most relevant to illustrate how fintech is differently impacting the economy and banking system. The consumer adoption rates are the most relevant in this regard, and as a recent Fujitsu survey outlines, they differ enormously from Japan to the US.

The experience and use of AI banking solutions in Japan and the US are fundamentally different. As experts claim, digital solutions are more frequently used in the US, than they are in Japan.

  • More than 45% of the US banking consumer has used a call centre or smart customer support solutions in their lifetime, while only 7% of Japanese consumers have done the same.
  • Only 28% of the Japan banking solutions consumers have used smart apps for banking purposes, as compared to the US, where 54% have done the same.
  • Only 15% of the Far East banking services consumer have carried such processes by using their tablets, while in the US the rate rises to almost 50%.

However, since fintech solutions appeared in Japan back in 2015, they stirred curiosity and gained quite a lot of attention. Since then, fintech apps and systems for smartphone users have been launched one after another. The number of banking apps offered by domestic banks doubled since 2015. However, the adoption and utilization rates of fintech services in the US are sometimes even double than they are in Japan.

But the active steps took by Japan to promote and create the necessary legal framework for a wider adoption and utilization of fintech solutions may soon be turning the odds in their favour.

In 2017, Japan outlined the framework for a fintech development hub, and in the past few months, the rapidness with which institutions and users adopted AI banking solutions into their daily lives may make even the US envious. For decades, Japan has been one of the leading economies in the world. As it still maintains its position and the Bank of Japan takes palpable steps towards implementing and adopting such solutions, many US companies may soon be tempted to relocate in Japan and start fresh, with increased growth potential there. We may be discussing lower adoption rates in Japan than we witness in the US, but we should remember the fact that the US has years in advance in fintech adoption and implementation.

Just like in the US, in Japan fintech companies become integrated parts of the complex banking and economic mechanisms. The differences are noticeable, but as experts in the sector asses, there will be no differences in 2 or 3 years.


Although Japan still has to work a little in fintech development, adoption and utilization, the legal framework exists. The market has an incredible potential, as the economy is forcefully developing and many may dare to say, well ahead of the US economy. This may be the perfect moment for US fintech companies to start investing in Japan marketplaces.

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