Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight

Rakuten: Empowering Merchants Globally with Better Services at Lower Cost

Rakuten Card, a subsidiary of Rakuten Inc., recently joined the SME Finance Forum as a founding member. Founded in Japan in 1997 with a mission of empowering merchants and consumers through the Internet, Rakuten has expanded beyond e-commerce to encompass a dynamic global ecosystem of around 70 different Internet services as diverse as travel, banking, social messaging, and professional sports. The firm has operations in more than 20 countries.

Rakuten Group offers a variety of services for consumers and businesses with a focus on e-commerce, FinTech, and digital content. Many of these services are connected through the Rakuten Super Points loyalty points program, allowing members to exchange points for goods and services, creating the Rakuten “Ecosystem.” It now has a global membership of 700 million.

Rakuten decided to join the SME Finance Forum with the mission of empowering merchants in mind. We see the Forum as an ideal platform for fostering collaboration and best practice sharing, as well as creating a network of like-minded organisations, both public and private, that wish want to help develop emerging markets by improving access to finance for SMEs.

With core banking capabilities in Japan, and more recently Europe, Rakuten already provides finance to a large number of SMEs, and empowers them to sell their products and services around the world.

 We also see recent innovations in sectors such as SME lending, ride sharing and remittances as areas where new technology can be a power for change, by giving more flexibility and control to business owners and consumers alike, as well as increasing access to finance and bringing down the costs of moving money. 

Investments by the Rakuten FinTech Fund (FTF), including Acorns in Personal Wealth Management;, Bluevine and Insikt in the lending space;, and Azimo and The Currency Cloud in the remittance space, are motivated by Rakuten’s commitment to improving access to finance for businesses and consumers, through innovations that disrupt traditional players in sectors where cost structures have historically been unnecessarily high.

Rakuten Card is proud to represent Rakuten Inc., as a founding member of the Forum, and looks forward to working with the Forum to continue empowering merchants across the globe through better access to financial services at lower cost.


Nigel Bath is the Vice General Manager, International Card Development Department, Rakuten Card Japan.