Kakao said Thursday that it has added the “to account” money transfer function on Kakao Pay -- directly accessible via the mobile messaging app KakaoTalk -- which lets users transfer money directly to any local bank account.
Kakao Pay is a simplified mobile payment service in which users register their credit or debit cards and make financial transactions by entering only a passcode, skipping the digital certification process.
The mobile payment platform also has a money transfer service that does not involve the digital certification process. Users can register their bank accounts -- compatible with 13 banks including Shinhan Bank -- just once, charge money points and make subsequent transfers.
Previously, users could only transfer money to other KakaoTalk users via a chatroom. Now, the new function lets users transfer money to anyone with a bank account, not just KakaoTalk users.
“It expands the scope of our service and makes the money transfer process more convenient. Kakao Pay users can easily transfer money to non-KakaoTalk users as long as they have a bank account,” a Kakao spokesperson said.
As of now, Kakao Pay does not support accounts with Woori Bank and KB Kookmin Bank -- the two biggest banks in Korea -- signaling a large pool of potential customers that Kakao has yet to tap.
The company said it is working to include more banks. It began its payment service with just five banks initially, but has pushed this number up to 13 over the course of just 2 1/2 years.
Kakao Pay is viewed as the main driver of Kakao’s push into fintech and other promising business areas, as the company continues to explore ways to turn its dominance in the mobile messaging business into new profits.
Kakao Pay Corp. -- to be officially spun off as a subsidiary of Kakao next month -- recently secured a $200 million investment from the Ant Financial Services Group, owned by Chinese payment giant Alibaba.
Under the new partnership, Kakao Pay will be synchronized with China’s widely used Alipay to allow subscribers of both services to use both systems, expanding the scope and user base of Kakao’s mobile payment platform.
By Sohn Ji-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)