100 Cards in 1

July 3, 2008 at 10:16 am Leave a comment

Back in August 2007, I wrote about Japan’s increasingly impressive electronic-cash cards. In Japan, with a quick swipe of a Pasmo or nanaco card, you can pay for public transportation on railways and buses, as well as a startling variety of retail (ranging in quality from 7-Eleven to high-end department stores). Unlike with credit cards, there are no monthly payments, late fees or carry-over, because the cards are bought and re-upped in advance. They seem to work just about everywhere.

Since August, more advances have been made that boggle my mind. Now you can truly have your entire life — including the key to your apartment – on a single electronic card.

Tokyu Security has come up with a whole new variety of add-ons to the popular Pasmo cards, such as GPS tracking, which has the dual (and slightly creepy) ability of tracking children or employees (!). Perhaps best of all, Pasmo cards can offer a way out of the “missing keys syndrome” that affects so many of us. New apartment complexes will be outfitted with Pasmo access points, both into the building, and into individual’s homes.

But that’s not all. According to Reuters,
“Japan’s finance ministry has already given permission to an age-identifying smart card called ‘taspo’ and a system that can read the age from driving licenses.” People trying to buy cigarettes from vending machines will have to prove that they’re 20 (the legal age in Japan) before the transaction will work. I always wondered about the legality of those beer and cigarette vending machines.

So okay, if you’re a smoker, you’ll have to carry two cards around. Everyone else will make do with one.

Sarah S.

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July 2008


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