Korean retailer pilots unmanned convenience store that uses face recognition for entry and payments

GS25 brings facial recognition to new shop — Korea JoongAng Daily — “Most convenience stores without a human cashier use barcodes to identify the products. GS25’s new system instead identifies an item by its packaging and weight. This allows customers to simply place items on the table before paying using facial recognition or a credit card. The company says it takes only about a second for the system to recognize five items at once, whereas with the conventional barcode system it would take 15 seconds to scan them one by one.”


LG to pilot blockchain carrier billing system for international mobile payments in stores

LG U+ to offer blockchain-based overseas payment service — The Korea Herald — “Once the service is launched, LG U+ subscribers will be able to buy things at selected retailers using their mobile phones when they travel to Taiwan and Japan. Far EasTone subscribers will also be able to enjoy the same convenience when traveling to Korea and Japan. The service uses direct carrier billing, enabling transactions to be billed and paid through their carrier in their home currency.”


Samsung Pay adds funds trading service in Korea

Samsung Pay begins funds trading service — Yonhap News — “Fund Online Korea Co said Tuesday it launched services for the trading of investment funds via Samsung Pay, the country’s top mobile payment tool. The service allowed users to shop for a variety of funds at the Samsung Pay platform after a simple process of opening accounts, according to the firm. ‘We are aiming at offering an easy, convenient and accessible investment channel,’ said company official Kim Seung-hyun.”


Korea’s central bank to build bank account-based mobile payments settlement system

Central bank to develop settlement service to expand mobile cash card payment — Yonhap News — “The South Korean central bank said Tuesday that it will adopt a new mobile cash card settlement service starting next year in a bid to expand simplified mobile payments in the country. A council on financial information by the Bank of Korea (BOK) and local banks decided to develop technological standards and a mobile application for the new service that enables sellers to receive money directly from the buyer’s bank account.”


Seoul moves forward with plans for its own S-Pay payments system

Seoul to launch its own mobile payment platform: Report — ZDNet — “The municipal government has formed a task force that will work to launch the service, tentatively called S-Pay, which aims to improve payment convenience for citizens and small businesses. The task force will aim to build the system for the platform and cooperate with banks as well as find partnered small businesses… The aim is to lessen commissions paid by businesses when they use credit cards. S-Pay’s system won’t go through credit card companies’ systems.”


Samsung pulls support for Samsung Pay from budget smartphones?

Samsung stops loading mobile payment tool on budget phones — Yonhap News — “Samsung Electronics Co recently stopped embedding its mobile payment system, Samsung Pay, in budget smartphones, industry watchers said Sunday, apparently to save costs by excluding the feature, which has been less popular among teens and senior users… ‘As it costs roughly 5,000 won (US$4.50) per device to apply Samsung Pay, (the company) is apparently seeking to cut production costs by excluding the feature,’ an industry watcher said.”


Starbucks to roll out 100 cashless stores in Korea

Starbucks to increase number of cashless stores in Korea — Retail News Asia — “Starbucks Coffee Korea Co said Monday it will increase the number of cashless stores to over 100 across South Korea this month amid rising use of credit cards and mobile payment systems in the tech-savvy country… Starbucks said the decision is part of its broader digital innovation drive as cash payment has been constantly declining at stores in South Korea, from 31% of the total in 2010 to 15% in 2013 and 7% last year.”


Korea’s central bank ‘opposes’ the idea of a digital currency

BOK will not issue digital money — Korea Times — “The Bank of Korea (BOK), the country’s central bank, said Monday it opposes the idea of central bank digital currency (CBDC)… The bank is worrying over concerns that such a sudden launch of the CBDC will cost society a lot and cause a moral hazard. Also, issuing CBDC could destabilize the market order because digital currencies don’t currently constitute money.”


Korean credit card issuers to roll out biometric payments at convenience stores

Credit card companies to launch ‘finger vein’ payment system — The Korea Times — “Three major card companies — Shinhan, BC, and Hana Card — announced on Sunday that were developing a biometrics payment system that authorizes transactions by scanning fingertips… The companies said the payment method would be available at convenience store chains across the country in October.”


Korean banks to launch blockchain identity platform

Banks plan blockchain ID system — Korea JoongAng Daily — “According to the Korea Federation of Banks (KFB), which represents major commercial banks in Korea, ‘BankSign’, a blockchain-based identity verification program, will officially be launched in July… ‘While BankSign will start off by providing the service in the banking sector, we will work with the government and other public organizations to expand its usage,’ said the KFB spokesperson.”


One in four Koreans now use their phone to make mobile payments

More than quarter of South Koreans use mobile payment services — The Korea Times — “The survey of 2,500 adults, conducted by the Bank of Korea (BOK) between September and October last year, showed that 26.1% of respondents had used a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet computer for payment services in the previous six months… Online purchasing was the most frequently used service through mobile devices with 86.6%, followed by offline mobile settlement with 34.7% and mobile transportation payment with 21.6%.”


Starbucks rolls out voice ordering and payments in Korea

Starbucks Korea debuts voice ordering through Samsung’s Bixby — Starbucks — “Bixby allows My Starbucks Rewards customers in South Korea to place an order and pay through voice recognition ‘on command’. The feature allows customers to speak just as if they were talking to a barista in-store, including modifying their beverage to meet their personal preference… These features are an extension of Starbucks Siren Order, the company’s mobile order and pay technology, which allows customers in South Korea to order and pay for their purchases before arriving at their store.”


Korea’s capital city plans its own payments cryptocurrency

Mayor Park Won-soon unveils Seoul cryptocurrency ‘S-Coin’ — Coindesk Korea (translation) — “Park Won-soon, mayor of Seoul, said he will create a coin currency called S-coin that can be used in Seoul… He thinks that ‘blockchains can be applied to all administrations in Seoul such as the public transport system operated by Seoul City and the provision of youth allowance.'”



Starbucks to run cashless store pilot in South Korea

Starbucks to test cashless stores in S Korea — Yonhap News — “Starbucks Coffee Korea Co, the local unit of the US coffee giant, said Thursday it will begin a test run of cashless stores at three outlets next month amid rising use of credit card and mobile payment systems… It will mark the second trial for the global coffee giant, following its first cashless store under test run in Seattle.”


Kakao Pay reports 1m users of its blockchain-based mobile identity service

Kakao Pay’s blockchain-based authentication boasts 1m users — Yonhap News — “Users of KakaoTalk, South Korea’s top mobile messenger, can use the authentication service on the mobile messenger without having to download an application. A total of 20 institutions and companies, including insurer AIA Life Korea and the Korea Transportation Safety Authority, use the service, Kakao Pay said, adding that it plans to expand the service.”


Korean card companies to launch joint NFC payments service in bid to combat Chinese QR threat

Korean credit card companies to introduce a joint mobile payment system in March — Business Korea — “Eight domestic credit card firms have completed the development of NFC standard ‘Justouch’ and will jointly promote it by supplying 25,000 readers across the nation by the end of next month… They are concerned about the possibility of Chinese counterparts encroaching on the domestic market if they don’t take action now as mobile payment is very common in China.”




LG Pay to be used for low-budget smartphones next year

LG Pay to be used for low-budget smartphones next year — Korea Herald — “‘We will expand the use of LG Pay into low-budget smartphones alongside premium phones next year,’ Cho Jun-ho, president of LG’s mobile communication division said during a meeting with local bloggers on Friday… Cho said the use of LG Pay will expand into online stores and the global market, although he did not elaborate the specific date.”


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