The Korea Herald


Smart card firm launches payment platform

KONA I plans to work with major credit card issuers in Korea for payment solution

By Kim Young-won

Published : July 29, 2015 - 17:59

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South Korean’s leading smart card solutions developer KONA I has rolled out a new online and offline payment platform, called KONA PAY, which will enable cardholders to make payments in a more secure manner.

Since there are no payment means that meet global standards -- especially EMV-- in Korea, domestic banks and credit card companies need to tie up with global credit card network operators including VISA and MasterCard to issue cards that can be used both at home and abroad.

Such a deal with the global firms, however, imposes burdensome fees on the domestic banks and card companies -- annually around 141 billion won ($121 million) on average.

“We have technical capabilities to offer secure payment solutions for banks and card companies which are struggling to operate payment systems that meet the global standards,” said Cho Chung-il, chief executive of the Korean firm, at a press conference held Tuesday in Seoul.

KONA I CEO Cho Chung-il.(KONA I) KONA I CEO Cho Chung-il.(KONA I)

He also expressed confidence in competing with other payment platforms including Apple Pay.

“Different from Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, card issuers can have tailored services for their payment systems built upon KONA PAY,” said the CEO, adding commission fees of KONA PAY, which will be lower than those for Apple, would be another appealing factor for its future partners.

KONA PAY allows banks and credit card firms to develop mobile payment apps and issue credit cards that incorporate secure element technology, which encrypts personal information, and tokenization technology, which prevents decryption of personal data stored in devices.

Mobile apps developed based on the KONA I’s payment platform allow consumers to pay for their purchases with their smartphones, utilizing technologies for NFC, QR code and barcode.

KONA PAY coupled with authentication solution Kona Check provides payment services safer than any other services as it sports layers of identification and security systems, according to the Korean firm.

KONA I, one of the top IC chipmakers in Korea and the U.S., is planning to work with major Korean card firms to expand the payment platform business in the Korean market.

The global mobile payment industry is anticipated to grow from $106 billion in 2011 to $721 billion in 2017, according to research firm Gartner.

By Kim Young-won  (