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Less than 1% of banking done in person: data

A citizen passes by a row of ATM machines in Seoul. (Yonhap)
A citizen passes by a row of ATM machines in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Less than 1 percent of all banking transactions across the country were made in person, data showed Tuesday, suggesting an apparent change in the retail banking landscape favoring non-face-to-face services.

In the first half of this year, the proportion of banking transactions carried out in person at bank branches accounted for 0.75 percent of the total. This was sharply down from 1.08 percent in 2019, continuing a downtrend that began in 2015, when the figure was 2.12 percent, said Rep. Yoon Doo-hyun of the main opposition People Power Party, quoting data from the market watchdog the Financial Supervisory Service. 

In the meantime, the volume of non-face-to-face transactions -- mobile banking, internet banking, telebanking and automated teller machine transactions -- rose to 99.24 percent in the same period, Yoon said.

It was mainly mobile banking that drove up the increase in contactless bank services, with the number of mobile banking transactions surpassing 1.3 billion this year. They have increased every year since 2015, when the number stood at 900 million. Meanwhile, bank customers were less likely to use the internet, telebanking or ATMs for money transfers or other financial services. Banking transactions through ATMs, for instance, decreased by almost half in the first half, from about 493 million in 2015, he added. 

However, the use of ATMs increased in one age bracket: people aged 60 or older. Last year seniors in this group made some 20 million more banking transactions through ATMs compared with the 56 million recorded in 2016, data showed. 

“Amid a transition to contactless financial services, the finance industry should pay greater attention to senior citizens, who are unfamiliar with local banks’ online-based approaches. By imposing stricter rules on the lenders when they attempt to reduce branch operations and their ATM machines, the authorities need to protect the beleaguered financial customers from the rapidly changing finance environment,” the lawmaker said. 

By Choi Jae-hee (cjh@heraldcorp.com)
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