TOYKO - Asahi Bank Ltd. said it will work with Citibank NA to offer prepaid cash cards for use outside Japan.
Asahi one of the few large Japanese banks that do not let customers withdraw cash overseas, is targeting students and others who cannot obtain credit cards, said Tadashi Sakane, an Asahi spokesman. The Citibank Visa TravelMoney cards are to be sold at 10 Asahi branches and will have $400 to $10,000 of stored value.
For Citibank, the connection means heightened visibility in Japanese bank branches and revenue from issuing the cards and handling foreign exchange funds, said Taizo Hotta, a Citibank spokesman.
Citibank runs Japan's largest Internet bank but has fewer than 30 branches in Japan. It has announced similar alliances with Bank of Fukuoka Ltd., a leading regional lender in Japan, and two smaller banks.
Citibank is negotiating with other nationwide lenders to offer the cards, Mr. Hotta said.
In June, Asahi, which has most of its business in Tokyo, pulled out of a planned merger with Sanwa Bank Ltd. and Tokai Bank Ltd., saying it wanted to focus on services for individual customers.
Asahi's shares have underperformed the subindex of bank stocks traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange since the Sanwa Bank deal was announced in March.