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Toss Bank becomes first Korean digital lender to allow foreigners to open accounts

The logo of Toss Bank. (Toss Bank)
The logo of Toss Bank. (Toss Bank)
Toss Bank is now the first South Korean internet-only bank to allow foreign residents here to open an online bank account, the lender said Monday.

“Starting Monday, all foreigners here are able to open an account as long as they have their registration card,” Toss Bank said in a statement. Foreigners are offered the same service as locals, according to the bank, which was set up last year, four years after rivals Kbank and KakaoBank were launched in 2017.

“For example, the deposit interest rates, transaction fees and the spending limit on debit cards are all the same for both foreigners and Koreans,” the bank said. Collateral-free loans, however, will not be extended to foreigners.

The bank said it will use data held by the government to authenticate the identity of foreigners who would have to scan their registration card online to open accounts. The information on the card must match the government-held information, the bank added.

“Some 1.9 million foreign residents here are still a minority cut off from the nation’s financial services, and we intend to embrace them as we move forward,” a Toss Bank official said, referring to international money transfers as one of the services to be rolled out soon.

The official added that the bank’s customer service would reach out to foreigners having a hard time finding the services they need due to language barriers. The bank’s current mobile app is released in Korean only, which could be a problem for about 1,570,000 potential foreign customers eligible to open accounts, he said.

Toss Bank has 2.3 million users as of March.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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