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[Exclusive] Hana signals entry to digital payment market

Lender applies to register ‘Hana Payments’ as trademark

Hana Bank’s headquarters in central Seoul (Yonhap)
Hana Bank’s headquarters in central Seoul (Yonhap)

Hana Bank applied for trademark rights to the name “Hana Payments” last month, signaling that it is gearing up to enter the nation’s easy-to-use digital payment market.

Industry sources told The Korea Herald on Thursday that the lender applied to register the name with the Korean Intellectual Property Office on March 19.

This suggests that the lender may soon join the race to offer online-based easy payment solutions, market watchers said. Major financial groups including KB Financial, Shinhan Financial and NH NongHyup have already jumped into the emerging market as part of their digitalization strategies.

The financial institutions offer mobile applications that enable users to make purchases by entering preregistered passwords or scanning their fingerprints. 

Hana’s rivals KB and Shinhan have already launched digital payment services in a market dominated by big tech firms. Naver and Kakao, both nonfinancial companies but first movers in the market, launched payment tools Naver Pay and Kakao Pay, respectively. NH NongHyup is planning to launch a similar system called NH Pay as early as August, officials said.

Though Hana Bank has applied for the trademark, officials say it is Hana Card, the bank’s sister company and a local credit card issuer, leading the Hana Payments project.

“Procedures are underway to launch a new business related to (Hana Payments), but no specific business items have been decided yet. The trademark application is to secure a brand name for future business,” a Hana Card official said. 

South Korea’s mobile payment market, boosted by the contactless boom amid the COVID-19 pandemic, is growing rapidly.

According to data from the Bank of Korea, Koreans made an average of 1,455 financial transactions via easy-to-use digital payment services last year, up nearly 45 percent on-year.  

By Choi Jae-hee (