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South Koreans’ awareness of mobile payment high

South Koreans' awareness of mobile payment high

South Koreans’ awareness of mobile payment services ranks high among major advanced and emerging countries, a poll showed, as many tech-savvy consumers turn to their smartphones for settlements.

According to the survey of 18,180 consumers in 23 countries by global opinion research firm Ipsos, 64 percent of South Korean respondents said they are aware of a mobile payment service that they can use immediately.

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It is the fourth-highest figure among the surveyed countries. China tops the list with 77 percent, followed by India with 76 percent and Indonesia with 67 percent.

South Korea’s number is far higher than advanced economies. Comparable figures are 48 percent for the United States and Germany, with Japan ranking last with 27 percent, according to the findings.

According to a tally by the Bank of Korea, the daily average of mobile payments came to 1.26 million cases in the fourth quarter of 2016, nearly three times the 440,000 settlements posted three quarters earlier.

The number of mobile payment service users in South Korea was estimated to have exceeded 32 million as of the end of last year.

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The South Korean market for mobile payment service set sail in September 2014, when Kakao Corp., the operator of South Korea’s dominant messaging app KakaoTalk, debuted its mobile payment tool Kakao Pay. Market competition has become fiercer as global tech behemoth Samsung Electronics Co. and other companies have thrown their hat in the ring.

Approximately 7 in 10 South Koreans are known to own a smartphone, the fourth-highest smartphone penetration rate in the world.