Bank apps offering more features

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Bank apps offering more features

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Left: A screenshot of the Liiv Dutch feature in KB Kookmin Bank’s Liiv app. Right: KB Kookmin Bank CEO Yoon Jong-kyoo, second from right, holds a smartphone featuring the bank’s Liiv app, a mobile banking platform. [KB KOOKMIN BANK]

Most mobile banking apps allow users to make wire transfers and track financial transactions, but some banks are going a step further, carving out their own niche in the market by adding unique features.

The latest app from KB Kookmin Bank, the country’s largest bank in terms of assets, launched last week is called Liiv. It is focused on providing features that make everyday transactions easier in addition to basic features like the ability to transfer money and exchange currency.

One of the app’s key features is called Liiv Dutch, which allows people dining together to pay separately by making individual wire payments on a single bill.

“The practice of going Dutch is often complicated because the person who paid the entire bill then has to send a message to each person,” said Lim Min-soon, a public relations official at KB Kookmin Bank.

“But Liiv automatically divides the amount and sends a link to every person through KakaoTalk so that they can each pay directly.”

The bank said anyone can use the service whether they are KB Kookmin customers or not.

Liiv also supports financial transactions for special occasions such as weddings and funeral services by allowing users to send wedding invitation links through which invitees can send congratulatory sums of money.

KB Kookmin Bank said that the focus of the app is to cater to people’s needs in everyday life.

“So far, many banking apps have been limited to functions that are already available in brick-and-mortar banks,” Lim said, “But we sought to offer users something they can use in their daily lives.”

Liiv is the latest in a series of mobile banking services provided by financial institutions. Retail banks have strengthened their mobile banking system to compete with internet banks that are due to open this year.

Woori Bank was the first to venture into mobile banking when it introduced WiBee Bank in May 2015. The service is intended to provide a wide range of financial services available at physical banks.

Through the mobile service, customers can create new bank accounts, take out loans and exchange currency. The number of subscribers to the service has reached one million, according to the bank.

Shinhan Bank launched Sunny Bank in December, which attracted more than 10,000 subscribers in two months. The mobile service targets young customers who are accustomed to different types of digital services.

The Industrial Bank of Korea has Hello i-ONE, a similar mobile banking service that allows customers to open accounts on the IBK smartphone app.


BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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