Guide to Business Licenses in Japan

There are numerous types of business that are required to obtain licenses before starting a business in Japan. We have provided below a table of various licenses for the finance sector.

Please contact us if you have any questions concerning licenses or need assistance in obtaining these licenses.

Type

Description

Funds Transfer Service(資金移動業)

In order to operate a funds transfer business (which is similar to money services businesses in the US or payment institutions in Europe), this license is basically required.

Prepaid Instrument Issuer(前払式支払手段発行業) ― Third Party Type

In order to issue e-money, gift cards, prepaid cards, and such, this license is basically required. Prepaid instruments basically need to be non-refundable.

PISP/AISP (電子決済等代行業)

In order to access bank APIs to initiate a bank wire transfer transaction or to refer account information on behalf of your customers, this license would be required.

Credit Card Issuer (包括信用購入あっせん業)

In order to issue credit cards, including both actual cards and virtual cards, this license is basically required.

Credit Card Acquirer(加盟店契約締結業)

In order to acquire merchants for credit cards (and charge cards), this license is basically required.

Individual Credit(個別信用購入あっせん)

In order to handle individual credit services, this license is required.

Money Lending(貸金業)

This license is required in order to lend money to customers, unless the relevant entity has a bank license.

Most companies issuing credit cards in Japan have either the money lending license or the bank license.

Financial Intermediary (媒介業)

In order to act as an intermediary for other financial institutions, you would basically need this license.

If the entity wants to make profits from selling financial products of (an) other financial institution(s) to its customers, it may consider acquiring this license.

Virtual Currency Exchange(暗号資産交換業者)

In order to engage in the business of selling/purchasing virtual currency, this license would be required by the relevant entity.

Type 1 Financial Instruments Business(第一種金融商品取引業)

This is equivalent to securities companies in the U.S. Many IT-related companies acquire this license to provide FX related services.

Bank(銀行)

Funds Transfer Service Providers are not allowed to accept bank deposits, and if the relevant entity wants to do so, it may consider acquiring a bank license in the future.