S. Korea to allow customers use ATMs without plastic cards

By Park Sae-jin Posted : December 5, 2023, 15:25 Updated : December 5, 2023, 15:25
This image was created using generative-AI service Karloai
[This image was created using generative-AI service Karlo.ai]
SEOUL -- In line with the current "walletless' trend where people no longer carry plastic cards and make payments with their smartphones, South Korea will allow customers to use automatic teller machines through QR codes shown on their smartphones' display by mobile banking apps.

According to data released by the state financial watchdog, a total of 61,233,000 plastic cheque cards were issued in the first quarter of 2023, down 6.9 percent from the same period a year ago. The Financial Supervisory Service analyzed that the decline in the issue of plastic cards was due to the increased number of people using convenient payment apps that do not need physical cards.

The main players in the convenient payment app sector are not traditional financial service operators such as banks and insurance companies, but they are financial technology (fintech) companies that offer one-stop financial information services.

The market share by fintech companies in the convenient payment platform sector was 66.66 percent in March 2023. Convenient payment platforms gain access to users' financial information through quick and easy processes. The apps only have to be simply activated using passwords or biomarkers such as fingerprints before making payment.

The Financial Information Promotion Committee operated by South Korea's central bank, the Korea Financial Telecommunications & Clearings Institute, and 17 commercial banks said in a joint statement that customers will be able to use automatic teller machines (ATMs) using a QR code-based method.

The Bank of Korea said that the QR code-based method can be used through Android smartphones with near-frequency communication (NFC) capabilities. Customers can download digital payment card apps before using an ATM with their phones.
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