ITOCHU Announces Acceleration of Salary Prepayment Service

Introduction of Low-Priced Advance Payment Plan

December 21, 2020

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Yoshihisa Suzuki, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that through Money Communications Inc. (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Shoichi Onimaru, President; hereinafter “MCI”), ITOCHU will begin offering an “advance payment plan” in which MCI will immediately remit advance salary payment to employees at the lowest commission in the industry. MCI, which develops a salary prepayment service business1, is a wholly owned subsidiary of ITOCHU.

Given people’s diversifying work styles and recent severe working conditions such as wage levels that have become even more severe amid the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more companies are adopting salary prepayment services in order to acquire more human resources and prevent their outflow. Even so, the current fees for such services are relatively high, and employees of the companies adopting such services often pay the fees themselves. In this situation, low-priced services are necessary. In addition, the preparation of additional funding and remittance-related clerical work is often a heavy burden on the companies adopting the service, and there is growing demand from these companies for service providers capable of disbursing salary advances.

ITOCHU and MCI entered the salary prepayment service business in 2019, under the name “Prepay Pocket.” Taking advantage of the expertise and networks cultivated for years by the ITOCHU Group as it provided financial services for consumers, ITOCHU has built a safe and secure salary prepayment scheme, and currently provides the service to approximately 50,000 employees.

In response to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare's opinion on the salary prepayment service business announced on March 27, 2020, ITOCHU has begun offering a new “advance payment plan.”2 This plan enables companies to reduce the complexity of advance fund preparation and remittance-related clerical work, and to provide their employees with necessary funds immediately when needed through real-time remittance using API.3 Moreover, by utilizing its funding capabilities and the credit guarantee function of its consolidated subsidiary Gardia, Inc. , ITOCHU is able to significantly reduce the cost of providing these services and set the service fee at 1.5%4 to support diverse work styles.

Centered on Pocket Card Co., Ltd, ITOCHU is expanding its business portfolio in the retail finance field through equity participation in FinTech ventures such as Paidy Inc. Positioning the salary prepayment service as one of the most important businesses playing a role in next-generation financial services, ITOCHU seeks to enhance the comprehensive financial service lineup and expand its customer base, mainly among young people as a new strategic move for the financial business. Thus, ITOCHU will diversify its points of customer contact and create new services deriving from them.

  • *1A service enabling employees to apply via their smartphones, etc. and receive salary payments in advance without waiting for a specific payday.
  • *2Until now, MCI did not advance funds, but only offered plans to remit money from the fund pool of companies adopting the service.
  • *3After applying for a salary advance, employees will immediately be paid by MCI who advances their salaries on behalf of their company. However, the system has time restrictions on implementation.
  • *4In the salary prepayment service industry, a general service fee is approximately 4 to 6% of the prepaid salary.

Advance Payment Plan Scheme

Features of Advance Payment Plan

  • *Applicants are screened and may not be approved for the advance payment plan.
  • *Operating hours of the system may be restricted.
  • *Consumption tax and remittance fees (actual fees) are additionally charged.


Address 2-5-1 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Representative Shoichi Onimaru
Established April 2020 (The company split in April 2020 due to a group reorganization.)
Business General financial and related services, salary prepayment service (prepay pocket)