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Mobile finance booms, but seniors are unaware

May 11,2019
Believe or not, some people in Korea have never heard of Toss or Kakao Pay.

In general, the mobile payments market is booming and the number of users is growing at a breakneck speed. But many older people are not even aware that these services exist.

According to a Bank of Korea survey of 2,597 adults, 23.5 percent said they have used a mobile payment system within the past three months.

The biggest users of mobile payment services were those in their 20s. Nearly half - or 49.5 percent - said they have used mobile payment services in the last three months. Those in their 30s trailed closely behind, at 44.3 percent.

But the older people get, the less likely they are to have used a mobile payment service.

One quarter - or 24.7 percent - of people in their 40s are using mobile payment systems, while that figure drops to 10.9 percent for people in their 50s.

Mobile payment services become almost irrelevant for those in their 60s or older.

Only 1.3 percent of people in their 60s have used a mobile payment services in the past three months, while 1.1 percent of those 70s or older have used the services.

The situation was the same for mobile banking services.

While 76.3 percent of people in their 20s and 87.2 percent of those in their 30s used mobile banking services, 18.7 percent of those in their 60s were conducting banking business through their smartphones, and that figure drops sharply to 6.3 percent for people in their 70s.

When it comes to online banking, only 0.1 percent of those in their 70s were users, while for those in their 60s, the rate was higher, at 2.8 percent. Over 26 percent of people in their 20s were using online banks.

The main reason most seniors are not using these digital financial services - from mobile payments to online banking - was that they are simply unaware of their existence.

In fact, 74 percent of people 70 years or older said they have never even heard of mobile payment services. The situation is much the same for online banking, where 73 percent of those 70 or older said they have not heard of online banks.

The study has found the higher the income, the more likely people will use mobile payments.

It turns out 42.7 percent of those who make more than 60 million won ($50,950) a year used mobile payments, while only 6 percent of those making 20 million won or less used such services. The average daily transaction volume last year for mobile payment apps - such as Toss and Kakao Pay - was 104.5 billion won.

Not only did the daily average exceed 100 billion won for the first time, but that is triple the 35.5 billion won in 2017.


BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]


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