South Koreans’ monthly spending via mobile cards exceeded 10 billion won ($9.23 million) for the first time.
Payments made with mobile Hana SK cards stood at a record high of 10.8 billion won in November this year, said sources in the local card industry Friday. The monthly volume is nearly equal to its total annual payment volume of 12 billion won recorded in 2011. If this growth momentum is sustained, the total annual payment volume might reach 60 billion won this year.
Mobile credit card services enable customers to make payment without using plastic credit cards by leveraging the wireless Near-Field Communications (NFC) chips in mobile phones.
Hana SK Card, a joint venture of Hana Card and Korea’s largest telecom operator SK Telecom, offers the nation’s first NFC mobile payment service provider. The card company accounts for vast majority of issuance and payment volume in the local NFC mobile payment market, to a point where its performance is equivalent to that of the nation’s whole mobile payment industry.
“Sales growth in the mobile card business is very rapid, though slower than those of conventional cards. Our sales increased 10-fold last year from one billion won of 2010, and expanded over five times this year,” said an official of Hana SK Card. “NFC mobile payment volume surpassed 10 billion won on a monthly basis, and the growth momentum is set to make the mobile payment part of mainstream trend next year.”
The number of customers who subscribe to NFC mobile payment services now stands at 551,000 and is growing daily. This year alone saw 370,000 issuances of mobile credit cards and the number is projected to surpass one million next year.
Korea’s largest credit card company, Shinhan Card, in an effort to enter the mobile payment market, partnered with LG Uplus, the nation’s major telecom, and Com2uS, a leading developer of mobile games, to develop mobile platform required for the payment service. Another Korean company BC Card has followed suit, putting more focus on its mobile payment service business and developing new technologies. BC Card has submitted applications for 29 patents on mobile card payment services.
[Written by Min-soo Suk - Sun-ah Kim / edited by Soyoung Chung]
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