Shinhan launches the first e-bank

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Shinhan launches the first e-bank


Yim Jong-yong, Financial Services Commission chairman, places his hand over a monitor that reads the veins in his palm to verify his identity during a demonstration of Shinhan Bank’s self-authentication banking system, held at the bank’s headquarters in downtown Seoul on Wednesday. [newsis]

Shinhan Bank debuted the nation’s first electronic banking service on Tuesday, allowing consumers to open certain kinds of bank accounts without having to visit a brick-and-mortar branch.

The launch was made possible after the Financial Services Commission (FSC) eased self-authentication regulations earlier this year, which lets customers verify their identification with means other than a face-to-face interaction beginning Dec. 1.

Despite some worries that the move will make it easier for people to open accounts under fake names and commit acts of fraud, the FSC is confident that the new verification technologies are secure.

But to be safe, Shinhan has temporarily limited the kinds of things that customers can do with the service, dubbed Sunny Bank.

As of now, customers with appropriate credit can open bank accounts associated with mid-level interest loan programs. Currency exchange and overseas remittance services are also available. If all goes according to plan, customers will be able to open savings accounts and conduct all other kinds of banking services soon.

FSC Chairman Yim Jong-yong became the first to actually open a Sunny Bank account at the launching ceremony held Wednesday at Shinhan Bank’s main branch in central Seoul.

“[After actually testing out the service,] I thought that financial consumers will be able to feel how much easier financial technology can make our lives,” Yim said after signing up for his new account, which took about five minutes.

Sunny Bank requires customers to verify themselves through three steps: self-verification via password sent to a mobile device, a photo of their ID card and a video call with a teller.

Along with Sunny Bank, Shinhan has also begun installing digital kiosks that can carry out most banking and credit card transactions at physical branches. The kiosks are open from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. every day, even when the branch itself is closed.

Customers can verify themselves using three steps: the insertion of an ID card or a photocopy of the card, a video call or palm scan on the machine, and the input of a passcode from either a one-time password device or an automated response system call.

The kiosks offer nearly 90 percent of the services available from a bank teller, ranging from issuing bankbooks and credit cards to signing up for new savings accounts or fund products. They can also adjust banking transaction limits and register users for online banking.

Shinhan will begin by operating 24 kiosks at some 17 branches in Seoul and Gyeonggi, where demand for extended hours and weekend operation is high. The kiosks will then be moved into more branches nationwide next year, with some operating 24 hours.

KEB Hana Bank, NH Nonghyup Bank and Industrial Bank of Korea are also planning to launch mobile banking services with similar kinds of remote verification systems, in hopes of keeping a competitive edge against the two new Internet banks that will be opened next year by Kakao and KT.

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