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Surge in mobile payments at South Korean convenience stores

Mobile payments at South Korean convenience stores have more than doubled this year thanks to the greater use of smartphones and the expansion of mobile settlement services.

South Korea’s top convenience store chain CU said the number of so-called easy mobile payments at its outlets soared 121.5 per cent year on year in the first 10 months.

Convenience chain operators in Asia’s fourth-largest economy adopted the easy mobile payment system in 2011, but the service only started to take off last year.

The percentage of mobile payments out of total settlements at convenience stores expanded to 3.5 per cent this year, compared with 1.9 per cent last year and just 1 per cent in 2015.

“The number remains in the single-digit range, but the easy mobile-settlement system has been growing at an exponential pace,” a CU spokesperson said.

Currently, CU allows customers to use Samsung Electronics’ Samsung Pay and 19 other payment tools at its stores.

Samsung Pay accounted for 85.5 per cent of CU’s mobile settlements during the January-October period, followed by Kakaopay with 4 per cent and LG Pay with 2.8 per cent.

Industry sources said retailers in South Korea have been ramping up efforts to develop their own mobile payment platforms as more tech-savvy consumers turn to their smartphones to make mobile payments at South Korean convenience stores.

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




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