The Korea Herald

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Kookmin Bank offers direct mobile payment

By Kim Yon-se

Published : March 13, 2012 - 19:32

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Kookmin Bank has introduced a direct payment service with only smartphone numbers for the first time in the local banking industry.

Customers of the commercial bank are allowed to pay for goods with their smartphones immediately through the app “UbPay.”

By registering their bank accounts on the UbPay app, customers can enjoy the direct payment service ― not a monthly-based payment ― only with their phone numbers.

Over the past few years, Kookmin Bank has led in comprehensive personal banking services on smartphones, dubbed “KB Star Banking.”

The smartphone banking service provided by the nation’s No. 1 bank has gained steady popularity. The bank topped the service sector among local financial companies.

A bank spokesman said the development of a universal mobile banking platform for smartphones will benefit banks as well as customers, allowing the banks to deliver stable services to customers while avoiding redundant investment.

“As smartphones rapidly emerge as a new medium of financial transactions, we are racing to adapt to the change,” he said.

Kookmin is known as the pacesetter of the country’s banking industry, thanks to its track record of initiating many advanced services, which its major rivals have to keep up with. Currently, most Korean banks provide similar features.

In addition, Kookmin went a step further by expanding the service to other currencies used by migrant workers here, whose number is more than half a million according to official government data.

However, the real figure is estimated to be much bigger due to undocumented workers.

Foreign employees can transfer money in 10 currencies via Kookmin Bank ― those of the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladeshi, Sri Lanka, India, Cambodia, Taiwan, Russia and China.

“The service is not about making money. It is basically about helping foreign workers easily remit money to their families,” a bank official said.

“Currently, people have to visit bank branches to take advantage of the service,” he said. “But we will enable them to enjoy the applications at home through the Internet in the future.”

By Kim Yon-se (kys@heraldcorp.com)