Mobile platforms more favored, BOK reports

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Mobile platforms more favored, BOK reports

In a country where eight out of 10 people use a smartphone, financial transactions via mobile platforms are only getting more popular.

There were 31.16 million mobile banking transactions per day as of the end of 2014, with their total value standing at 1.83 trillion won ($1.57 billion) per day, according to the Bank of Korea on Monday.

The number of mobile transactions is up 44 percent from 2013, when they totaled 21.6 million. The value of the transactions also increased 30 percent from 2013, when they were worth 1.41 trillion won.

Retail investors are also increasingly reliant on their smartphones for daily trades, particularly of equities.

The value of daily trading on mobile platforms was 2.25 trillion won as of the end of 2014. Of the 1.97 million people that used mobile trading platforms annually, 98 percent, or 1.93 million, did so via their smartphone, the BOK reported.

In 2013, 1.37 million investors utilized the mobile platforms to conduct daily trades worth 1.94 trillion won.

As smartphones are becoming the preferred means of accessing finances, traditional systems are falling out of favor.

The number of ATMs and cash dispensers around the country, for example, fell 1.6 percent to 122,188 as of the end of 2014.

The total number of transactions on the machines was nearly 800 million, with the value of funds transferred or withdrawn worth 331 trillion won - down 1.1 percent and 5.4 percent year-on-year, respectively.

Amid an increasing reliance on technology in the local financial sector, the number of IT professionals in the field has increased as well, according to the central bank.

In particular, the number of IT staff specializing in the security of electronic financial transactions rose significantly following major accidents and setbacks by financial firms in recent years.

Just last year, giants like KB Kookmin Card and Lotte Card had to deal with massive leaks of customer information, as did the local units of Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank.

The tightening of regulations for electronic financial transactions since 2013 has also prompted local financial firms to invest more heavily in IT management.

As of the end of 2014, there were 9,136 IT professionals working at 155 financial institutions, including 18 banks, 85 investment firms, 44 insurers and eight credit card companies.

The total number of IT workers is up 9.3 percent from 2013 and up 11.4 percent compared to 2012.

IT security specialists numbered 770 as of the end of 2014, up 34.1 percent year-on-year and up 72.3 percent from 2012.

IT-related spending by financial companies in 2014 was 5.5 trillion won, up 13.8 percent from a year earlier.

The firms’ information security budget was 567 billion won, around 10.3 percent of their total IT budget, far more than recommended by the financial regulator.

The local financial regulator has set the budget for information security at 7 percent of the total IT budget, according to the BOK.

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