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16% of consumers use mobile phones for shopping: BOK

One in six South Korean consumers have used mobile devices when shopping at least once over the past six months, a poll by the central bank showed Tuesday.

According to the survey of 2,500 people aged 19 or older, 15.8 percent said they have used a mobile payment tool to pay for either online or offline purchases. The poll was conducted by the Bank of Korea for about a month from Aug. 28, 2015.

Some 58.6 percent responded that they first used the mobile payment platform that year, indicating that new payment systems have settled in line with the widespread use of smartphones and easier transaction options for tech-savvy consumers.

Of the respondents, 44.4 percent, or the largest share, said they used their mobile devices for shopping up to three times per month. Around 23 percent said they turned to the online payment system at least once per week, according to the survey.

With the growing popularity of mobile payments in South Korea, the country's top smartphone maker Samsung Electronics Co. launched its own solution, Samsung Pay, at home in August.

For banking services, more people turned to their smartphones, according to the BOK.

Some 49.5 percent said they used the mobile banking services twice a week, followed by 36.4 percent who have tried the service at least once over the past six months, according to the BOK.

As of end-September, the number of subscribers to mobile banking services of 16 local commercial banks and the Korea Post reached a combined 60.08 million. The figure has been on a steep rise over the past few years from 37 million in 2013 to 40 million in the first quarter of 2014 and 50 million in the first quarter of 2015.

Asked about reasons for not using financial services via mobile platforms, a majority cited concerns over personal data leakage and possible financial losses over any erroneous or wrongful transactions.

"It is required to devise measures to boost convenience for users and guarantee the security of mobile transactions," BOK official Chae Kyu-hang said. (Yonhap)

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