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Banks in S. Korea experiment future services at convenience stores

An exterior view of a GS25 convenience store (GS Retail)
An exterior view of a GS25 convenience store (GS Retail)
South Korean lenders appear to be seeking ways to develop future-oriented customer services by forging partnership with retailers that have vast sales networks across the country, such as convenient store chains.

In the latest development, Shinhan Bank on Monday signed a business agreement with GS Retail, which operates convenient store chain GS25, to design a new business model of mutual interest, officials said. The partnership states Shinhan Bank and GS Retail plan to develop a convenience store specialized in financial services.

Banks testing new types of financial services through convenience stores is not new.

Partnerships with retailers have become more visible in recent years. The envisioned banking services at convenience stores is not limited to bill payment and transactions. Standard Charted Bank Korea also forged a partnership with GS Retail last year to promote the bank‘s installment savings product via the retailer’s mobile application. Under the agreement, the bank sent GS25 gift cards to customers subscribing the product.

Financial companies are becoming interested in convenience stores as they offer a closely connected lifestyle platform to customers. Retailers, for their part, hope to attract more customers wanting to shop not for only daily products but also financial services at the same time.

Detailed plans are under review but the idea is mainly to provide tailor-made services to customers in remote areas, according to Shinhan.

“The financial products and services, which will be launched in GS25, are yet to be decided,” a Shinhan Bank official said. “But we plan to start the model in remote areas, where offline bank services are relatively difficult to access, anticipating a financial inclusion.”

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)
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