Korean telcos and banks replace debit cards with mobile phones

Korean telcos and banks replace debit cards with mobile phones

South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reports that telecom provider KTF is launching a service called UbiTouch. This will allow customers of 16 of Korea's domestic banks to register multiple accounts to a USIM chip and use the phone to withdraw money just by touching it to one of the 39,000 ATMs nationwide that bear the UbiTouch mark, and entering a password.

The service also supports mobile internet banking account checks and money transfers, and deposits at the ATM.

Until now, the newspaper reports, it has only been possible in Korea to have a single bank account registered to a USIM card in this manner, and this could only be used for mobile banking from the device.

So far all but one domestic bank - Shinhan Bank - has signed up to the UbiTouch service. SK Telecom and LG Telecom plan to adopt the same service soon. Kookmin, Woori, Pusan Bank and Korea Post will adopt the service by the end of this month, and it will become available at other domestic banks within the first half of next year.

In September the Sub-Committee on Financial Digitization at the Bank of Korea announced that  it was going to promote the use of universal subscriber identity modules or USIMs, in this manner.

According to the E-Commerce Journal, during the first quarter of 2008 about 890,000 mobile banking transactions were conducted in Korea, a 4.1% growth in comparison to the previous year.

Bank of Korea statistics reported in November show even higher growth. It says the number of financial institution customers registered for mobile banking is around 7.8 million, showing an increase of 90% over the last 12 months.

One-Touch Phone Banking for All Banks to Start (Chosun Ilbo)

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