This Visionary Firm from South Korea Has its Eyes Set on Mobile Payments

Daum Kakao is one of the largest Internet companies in South Korea. The company recently launched a mobile payment platform dubbed as BankWalletKakao. In September, it had launched KakaoPay, which allowed only KakaoTalk users to pay for e-commerce products through KakaoTalk. The company was formed a month ago as a merger of Daum, one of the largest Internet Portals in South Korea, and Kakao, the maker of South Korea’s popular messaging app KakaoTalk.

With the launch of BankWalletKakao and KakaoPay, Daum Kakao is trying to portray itself as a global mobile payments platform player. The company does claim that its platform is compatible with other payment products like Apple Pay, PayPal and Alipay. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Sirgoo Lee, CEO of Daum Kakao, shared his views on the company’s mobile payment service.

Lee is of the view that their mobile payment system will hopefully become a convenient alternative to make payments. The company is expanding the scope of merchants who would accept their payment system. This expansion phase is taking some time, according to Lee. In-app purchases have been added to the KakaoTalk platform along with the support for online commercial sites. Yet, the pool of supported merchants is limited and there is a long way ahead.

The company’s ongoing efforts are giving a substantial boost to its payment system. KakaoPay now has an affiliation with Shinhan Card, which represents one of the largest credit card companies in South Korea. The company is also releasing KakaoTaxi, a cab-hailing service similar to Uber. This is likely another initiative by Daum Kakao to step up the use of its mobile payment service.

The BankWalletKakao mobile payments platform is currently available on Android and iOS platforms in South Korea. In order to deliver the mobile payments service, Daum Kakao has partnered with Korea Financial Telecommunications and Clearings Institute (KFTC) and 16 Korean banks. In order to use BankWalletKakao, users link their account to an online bank account or a Bank Money account. This Bank Money account is a chargeable virtual account operated by KFTC and 13 domestic banks.