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Update, December 16: Line released this news prematurely almost two weeks ago – but the update is now finally live. Original article appears below…

Popular mobile messaging platform Line is officially rolling out a new Line Pay service around the world next week.

First unveiled back in October, Line Pay will let users connect their accounts with a credit card to make digital payments anywhere, directly from their phones. Initially, however, the service will be restricted to a handful of affiliated services and shops, such as Line’s own online store.

Over time, the plan is for Line Pay to become increasingly embedded as an accepted method of payment in both online and offline stores. The company is also promising peer-to-peer payments internationally, letting friends send money to each other and even “go halves” on bills in restaurants.

The rise of Line

Launching way back in 2011, Line initially rose to prominence in Japan as a way to connect with friends. It has been building out its empire recently, and now with 170 million monthly active users (MAU) in 230 countries for its main app and millions more for a myriad of accompanying apps, including cameras and games, it has become something of a gaming giant in its own right.

Line has managed to build a successful business from selling digital content, and it previously revealed it has made as much as $10 million a month from selling stickers alone.

Launching its own payment service does, of course, make sense, as it looks to ease the path from your wallet to its own coffers. And the fact that it’s looking to enable purchases in physical, bricks-and-mortar stores echoes a trend we’ve seen elsewhere across the online realm, with the likes of Google launching its own mobile payment system in the form of Google Wallet.

It’s also taking security seriously too. To use Line Pay, users will require a separate password to that of Line itself, which will be requested when using a new device. With two-factor authentication in tow, users will also be asked to verify their Line account via their smartphones whenever making payments using Line Pay on their PC or Mac. iPhone users can make use of Apple’s new Touch ID verification technology.

Line Pay is available within the main Line iOS and Android app now.

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