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Korea to temporarily ease regulations to boost fintech industry

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Published : 2017-03-20 16:53
Updated : 2017-03-20 16:53

South Korea's financial regulator said Monday it will temporarily ease a set of regulations to help boost the new financial technology, or "fintech," sector.

In South Korea, smartphone users who have a payment app can't buy goods by holding their handsets next to a credit-card receiving device because there is no legal standard to certify the device under laws. 

Jeong Eun-bo (3rd from left), vice chairman of the FSC, speaks at a meeting to help boost the fintech industry on March 20, 2017. (Yonhap)

Under existing rules, such receiving devices have been registered by technical standards set by an association of credit-card firms.

The bureaucratic red tape has been cited as one of many obstacles against South Korean start-ups in the fintech sector.

If a mom-and-pop store gets a temporary certification about its receiving device, people can buy goods at the store by using their smartphones, the Financial Services Commission said in a statement after holding a government-wide meeting.

Depending on the results of the temporary steps, the government will launch more aggressive policy measures, the FSC said.

Jeong Eun-bo, vice chairman of the FSC, told the meeting that the pace of regulatory change has failed to catch up with changes in new financial services.

The government will consider enacting a special law to effectively cope with the fast-changing nature of the new financial industry, the senior official said.

South Korea, one of the world's most wired nations, launched a government-led campaign in early 2015 to foster the fintech industry. The campaign is aimed at making significant headway in the financial industry that is facing a host of challenges.

Investment related to fintech businesses here jumped to 777 billion won ($693.4 million) as of June last year from 87 billion won in 2014 and 473 billion won in 2015, government data showed. (Yonhap)