Koreans doing more of their banking on the fly

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Koreans doing more of their banking on the fly


Mrs. Kim, a 34-year old stay-at-home mom, spends her entire day fiddling with her smartphones while an iMac computer bought just last year sits in the other room collecting dust.

The mother communicate with friends and family through the free mobile messenger app Kakao Talk, uploads pictures of her daughter on a social network app and searches Web sites with her iPhone 5. She also has serious use for the phone: She does her banking on it.

“My husband always raises worries about possible hacking but I find the mobile banking system very convenient,” Kim said. “It’s been awhile since I’ve done transactions through a computer, not to mention actually visiting the bank. The only time I go to a bank is when I need to withdraw cash from an ATM.”

According to the Bank of Korea, the number of people registered to use a mobile banking service at 19 banks hit a new record of 41.1 million as of the end of the first quarter.

That’s an increase of 10.9 percent from the end of 2012. The figure, however, includes people who have registered for mobile banking at multiple banks.

Mobile banking done through smartphones, as opposed to 2G phones or tablet computers, saw a sharper increase of 17.1 percent from the previous quarter to reach 28 million users.

Including mobile services, all Internet banking customers inched up 3.4 percent to 89.4 million.

The number of transactions by mobile banking was up 23.4 percent to 18.9 million. Daily transactions through mobiles increased 11.5 percent to 1.3 trillion won ($1.2 billion).

Overall Internet banking transactions increased 10.8 percent to 52.6 million but the daily transaction volume dipped 1.2 percent to 33.8 trillion won.

The daily use of mobile banking through smartphones grew nearly 20 percent to 18.7 million transactions while the volume increased 14.2 percent to 1.2 trillion won.

There are more than 32 million people who own smartphones in Korea.

“Although there is a risk regarding security, more people are now choosing smartphone to do their banking from a mobile device as they find it more convenient,” said a bank official. “Smartphones are a particularly easy tool for customers to access banks.”

By Lee Ho-jeong [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]
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