Utilizing AWS microservices architecture to make cashless payments more widespread.
QR code payment service used by 33 million people* that was released in three months.


PayPay is a mobile payment service that allows users to pay using QR codes and bar codes. The number of registered users has surpassed 33 million since it was first released two years ago in October 2018. PayPay Corporation, the developer and operator of the service, uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the infrastructure platform for its services, and is building distributed systems utilizing a microservices architecture. From the decision to develop the system through to its release was a scant three months. This initial launch was made possible by using AWS along with a development team including multinational members from Japan, India and Canada. Even now, the company is continuing with service updates aiming to develop PayPay into a "Super App."

PayPay Corporation: AWS Case Study Movie "PayPay Services utilizing AWS" (1:52)

PayPay's aim is to be a super app that makes people's lives richer and more convenient. Tie-ups with many companies and services are necessary to make it convenient for many users, and AWS services are an essential part in delivering a super app that supports all payment-related activities.

Nakayama Ichirō
Representative Director, President, and CEO, 
PayPay Corporation

Initial launch in three months aiming to rapidly grab market share

PayPay was established in June 2018 as a joint venture between SoftBank Corporation and Yahoo Japan Corporation. The company developed its services through a technical collaboration with India's largest payment service provider Paytm, and in October 2018 launched the PayPay QR bar code payment service. As of October 2020, registered users topped 33 million. The total transaction volume exceeded 1 billion as of May 2020. Retail participation continues to grow, with over 2.6 million* merchants nationwide including convenience stores, drug stores, and restaurants.

One reason the company selected AWS for the PayPay service platform was the very short period between development and release. "Given the lead of other companies' services, even a slight delay would have a significant impact on the acquisition of market share. Since we were looking for an early launch, we decided on a cut-off point of three months for a bare-bones start," said Aditya Mhatre, Head of the Product Division and Corporate Officer. "During the short time frame for the project, we received accurate advice regarding architectures from the AWS solution architects. They also helped with operational aspects, such as handling sudden traffic spikes during campaigns."

*As of October 2020

Developed by seven multi-national teams adopting a microservices architecture

The decision to adopt AWS as a cloud service came after a number of considerations. The key to this decision was their experience in development with Paytm, with whom PayPay was involved in technical collaboration. Yamamoto Keisuke, Head of the Technology 1 Department, Product Division said, "Initially, we were also considering using an on-premises environment. However, because of the time and effort required we decided to focus on the cloud as it is more agile, and thus selected AWS because of its expertise with Paytm."

This decision was also based on a comprehensive assessment of scalability in anticipation of business growth, high availability, and compliance with security measures such as PCI DSS required for payment services. In order to achieve this release in a short period of time, a microservice architecture was employed combining small, highly independent services. The operating platform for the service groups uses Kubernetes, a container management tool deployed on Amazon EC2. The platform comprises more than 60 microservices, each running on independent resources. The microservices are asynchronously linked together using APIs and the Apache Kafka distributed message queue.

Customer identification credentials are securely stored using client-side encryption, server-side encryption, network restrictions, and managed security services. Development comprised a multinational team of engineers formed by linking together three bases in Tokyo, India, and Canada. Rapid development required that each team be responsible for their own areas of expertise, and consider multiple services as they went along.

"We separated the roles of the teams in putting the service together. Core payment and balance management systems were handled by the Canadian team, and the Japanese team handled things like integration with banks and merchant management screens”. (Keisuke)

As planned, the initial launch project was completed in three months, leading to a successful launch of PayPay. Aditya analyzes the factors for the project's success.

"First, the most important thing is to ensure common goals. Second is controlling the core time. Third is overcoming language barriers. We also had a dedicated team of translators and interpreters participate to handle language issues. We understood the cultural differences of each country, and took into account work-life balances. In order to facilitate inter-team communication, we held a weekly meeting at which we shared the status of each team and gave recognition to results."

Utilizing the flexibility and scalability of AWS to deliver dependable payment services during rapid growth

After the initial launch of PayPay, the company continued to leverage AWS account teams and enterprise support to add new services, and to provide updates to enhance the functionality of each micro-service.

"We requested that the AWS support team be on hand on the day of the campaign, and had them help with scaling. We normally receive advice on architectures as well as information about new AWS services. Because AWS is updated every day, engineers find developing on AWS very rewarding." (Keisuke)

Current infrastructure operations are handled by the SRE team of around 10 members, who respond to requests from the service team. In terms of costs, in-depth analysis is carried out through AWS Cost Explorer which provides visibility into resource usage, and operations incorporate daily optimization. Managed services also contribute to reduced operating costs.
According to Aditya, the flexibility and scalability of AWS will be essential as PayPay grows from a start-up to a unicorn and then a decacorn, and it lets the company focus its development resources on delivering added value.

"We're not competing against other payment services—we're competing against cash itself. Our goal is to provide what cash cannot, and to change society. In this, AWS services are essential."

A sense of urgency in speeding up PayPay's growth into a super app, to further enrich people's lives

In order to provide stable services, PayPay is looking forward to using the Osaka region, which became a full region in March 2021. Keisuke says "We'd like to use this for simple backups, but also use an active-active architecture between Tokyo and Osaka to guarantee stability while distributing traffic. We would like AWS help in designing our architecture."

On the business side, they are developing PayPay to be a "super app" rather than just a specialized payment-only service, and by expanding its scope enrich and make people's lives more convenient.

"The goal of PayPay is to be a cashless platform. To achieve this, it is important that it be used by many people. We need to develop PayPay into an app that can support all aspects of payment, such as linking it with ride services and asset management services. In addition, I would like PayPay to be an interface with service companies, in a way that they can provide useful value to users." (Aditya)

Nakayama Ichirō

Aditya Mhatre

Yamamoto Keisuke

About PayPay Corporation

  • Date Established: June 15, 2018
  • Business type: "PayPay" mobile payment service development and management

Benefits of AWS

  • Initial launch in 3 months
  • Shortened development cycles using microservices architecture
  • Cost optimizations using AWS Cost Explorer
  • Reduced operational costs by leveraging managed services
  • Considering an active-active system using the AWS Osaka region
  • Development into a "super app" and a cashless platform

AWS Services Used

Amazon EC2

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.

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Amazon Aurora MySQL

Amazon Aurora is a relational database service that combines the speed and availability of high-end commercial databases with the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of open source databases. The MySQL-compatible edition of Aurora delivers up to 5X the throughput of standard MySQL running on the same hardware.

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Amazon DynamoDB

Amazon DynamoDB is a key-value and document database that delivers single-digit millisecond performance at any scale. It's a fully managed, multi-region, multi-active, durable database with built-in security, backup and restore, and in-memory caching for internet-scale applications.

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Amazon Elasticsearch Service

Amazon Elasticsearch Service is a fully managed service that makes it easy for you to deploy, secure, and run Elasticsearch cost effectively at scale.

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