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Kakao Bank reaches 20m customers; Kakao Pay shares rise

KakaoBank logo (KakaoBank)
KakaoBank logo (KakaoBank)

KakaoBank Corp. said on Wednesday that the number of its customers has risen above 20 million in the five years since its launch in 2017, while Kakao Pay shares rose for a fourth day on news that it has partnered with China’s Alipay+.

Kakao Bank, the internet-only bank under mobile platform service provider Kakao Corp., doesn’t charge any fees for wiring money or withdrawing cash via ATMs. It also waived early repayment charges for all borrowers who repaid their loans early, and helps users find dormant deposits and insurance.

In the beginning, Kakao Bank’s customers were mostly in their 20s through 40s. By December 2018, nearly 90 percent of its new customers were in their 20s (31 percent), 30s (33 percent) or 40s (22 percent).

In October 2020, Kakao Bank began attracting younger customers by introducing an electronic prepayment service called “Kakao Bank mini” that teenagers can sign up for.

Kakao Bank‘s “My Credit Information” service allows customers to look up their credit score and raise them. It also provides a service that helps users find dormant deposits and insurance, which drew customers in their 50s.

As a result, new customers who signed up this year by October are spread out across all age groups. Teenagers accounted for 19 percent, while those in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s took up 17 percent, 13 percent, 19 percent and 32 percent, respectively.

Other popular Kakao Bank products include a Friends debit card which gives cash back of up to 0.4 percent for all loans extended from the bank.

With a few clicks, users can also request to lower the interest rate on their loans.

Recently, Kakao Bank unveiled a banking service for privately owned businesses including loans, accounts and payment cards.

It also plans to partner with cryptocurrency exchange Coinone to allow users to safely invest in virtual assets through Kakao Bank by getting their real names verified.

In December, the Kakao Bank app will be linked to Korea’s mobile stock trading system to allow customers to trade stocks and check market-related news on the app.

In the first half of next year, customers will be able to trade shares in mutual funds on the Kakao Bank app, the company said.

Its affiliate Kakao Pay Corp. also has good news.

Shares of Kakao Pay, which had been on a downward streak this year, rose for a fourth day on news that it became the first foreign mobile payment platform to enter China through partnership with Alipay+ of China’s Ant Group.

Kakao Pay stocks jumped 9.59 percent on Tuesday to close at 44,000 won per share, and were trading at up to 49,550 won per share on Wednesday, up 12.5 percent from the day before.

Kakao Pay started services in China on Nov. 3, and officially announced its partnership with China’s Alipay+ on Monday.

Currently, users can make payments via Kakao Pay QR codes or bar codes in the city of Yiwu, close to Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province.

Kakao Pay provides easy payment service in Singapore and Macau as well.