The Korea Herald


Apple Pay sees 26m transactions in Korea in first 100 days

Hyundai Card touts shared growth with smaller retailers that take up almost 80 percent of purchases made

By Song Seung-hyun

Published : June 29, 2023 - 15:34

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A customer purchases a product with Apple Pay. (Hyundai Card) A customer purchases a product with Apple Pay. (Hyundai Card)

Over 25.8 million transactions have been made with Apple Pay since its launch on March 11, Hyundai Card announced Thursday.

Among these transactions, 93 percent were made at offline retailers.

The numbers, covering the period from March 21 to June 27, were part of key indicators and customer data unveiled by the Korean card company in celebration of the 100th day since the introduction of Apple Pay in Korea.

Additionally, Apple Pay facilitated payment transactions for over 108,000 merchants.

Among them, around 83,000 (77 percent) were classified as small and medium-sized stores with annual sales of less than 3 billion won ($2.28 million).

Also, around 24,000 (22 percent) merchants were not official big brand partners of Apple Pay. Hyundai Card said local cafes, pharmacies and Korean restaurants accounted for a significant volume of transactions among non-partners.

The data shows that the voluntary adoption of near-field communication terminals, which are necessary for the Apple Pay service to work, by small and medium-sized merchants has increased, Hyundai Card said.

This comes after many commenters in Korean online forums criticized the limited use of the digital wallet service, as it was thought to be accepted mainly at convenience stores.

Out of the approximately 2.9 million stores in Korea, it was estimated that only 60,000 to 70,000 had installed NFC readers at the time of Apple Pay's launch.

The Hyundai Card data substantiated such criticism to some extent.

Among offline merchants, big franchise brands such as GS25, CU, Costco, Starbucks, and Paris Baguette were observed to have a substantial amount of payments made through Apple Pay.

Among online merchants, Baemin, Musinsa, Burger King, Lotte ON, and Korean Air, among others, stood out for their high volume of transactions facilitated by Apple Pay.

The cards with the highest number of registrations on Apple Pay were the Naver Hyundai Card, Hyundai Card ZERO Edition2 and Costco Reward Hyundai Card.

Hyundai Card said the data indicates that the user base of Apple Pay has grown significantly and there is a diversity among age groups, merchant usage and transaction amounts.

The data revealed that the most frequent Apple Pay user had accumulated over 800 transactions.

The user with the highest number of registered cards in their digital wallet on Apple Pay had a total of 10 cards.

The oldest individual using Apple Pay was 90 years old.

The most expensive purchase in a single transaction was at approximately 40 million won at a department store.

Korean customers also used the service overseas, the data showed. Some 9 percent of the total payments were made outside of Korea, with the US (20 percent), Japan (12.4 percent) and the UK (8.6 percent) being the top three countries in terms of number of transactions.

When it came to transaction volume, Starbucks was the top overseas offline merchant, with 7-Eleven close behind. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York, a public transportation service, ranked next in popularity among Korean Apple Pay users.

Hyundai Card is the only Apple Pay partner in Korea, as of June.

According to industry sources, three leading credit card issuers here -- Shinhan Card, KB Kookmin Card and BC Card -- have submitted letters of intent to collaborate with Apple Pay.

Although the companies denied to confirm the information, rumors suggest that the three firms will begin Apple Pay services in September or October.