Kakao Pay tops 10 million users in South Korea

Kakao's mobile payment platform has reached the 10 million-user mark over 20 months since its launch, amidst competition from the likes of Samsung Pay, Naver Pay, and L Pay.

Kakao, the operator of South Korea's ubiquitous mobile messenger app, said on Monday its mobile payment service Kakao Pay has attracted more than 10 million users in the year and a half since its launch.

Kakao said the largest single transaction through the mobile payment service was about 17 million won ($14,693), and users participating in the service's membership feature have accumulated 113 million points, which can be spent to get items from 12 local stores.

According to The Korea Herald, the company attributed the service's wider adoption among mobile users there to safe and easy transactions that don't require digital certifications.

After Kakao Pay users register their credit or debit card, they then can make financial transactions simply by entering a password. Since its launch in September 2014, Kakao has added new features to the mobile platform, including a membership feature last year, an automatic bill payment feature in February, and an individual money transfer feature in April.

Kakao Pay competes in a crowded local market; Naver Pay, which is operated by South Korea's most popular search portal, was launched a little more than a year ago to complement robust PC ecommerce shopping in South Korea. A Naver Corp spokesperson said its payment service has 16 million users.

Naver Pay also allows users to pay for an item online with only their Naver ID, which is a welcome convenience in a country notorious for ActiveX controls and multiple identity verification requirements for any financial transaction.

South Koreans have been required to use the ActiveX controls to conduct almost any online financial transaction, and more than 90 percent of online shopping sites require the digital "proof" of identity.

Domestically, Kakao Pay is competing with retail giant Lotte Group's L Pay, and Samsung Pay, which hit 1 trillion won in transactions last month. Kakao has an estimated 40 million monthly active users in its home country of around 55 million.

Kakao added a web-based bank service at the end of last year to its list of business ventures, and in February launched a new mobile build to order (BTO) platform in an attempt to tap into the manufacturing industry.

It announced in February that its securities app had marked $4 billion in transactions.

Source: ZDNet.co.kr