SEOUL, March 21 (Korea Bizwire) – U.S. tech giant Apple Inc. on Tuesday launched its mobile payment service Apple Pay in South Korea.
“Apple Pay is available from today in South Korea,” Duncan Olby, who oversees Apple Pay internationally, said in a press conference in Seoul. “Users can add their credit and debit cards on Wallet for their iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and Mac.”
He said South Korean users can use Apple Pay in convenience stores, supermarkets like Lotte Department Store and coffee shops like Paul Bassett. Moreover, they can use the service overseas.
Apple, which launched the wireless payment service in the United States in 2014, joined hands with Hyundai Card Co., a local credit card firm under the wing of Hyundai Motor Group, to launch the long-awaited service in Korea under a one-year exclusive contract.
Chung Tae-young, CEO of Hyundai Card, expected Apple Pay to make a splash in the mobile payment market.
“Some 170,000 people have already registered for Apple Pay this morning,” Chung said, showing his iPhone. “I think today will be a turning point for the Korean payment industry.”
Apple Pay allows users to make payments in person without plastic cards, with select terminals using the near-field communication system, a short-range wireless protocol.
It is the second-most popular digital payment system in the world with over a total of US$6 trillion worth of transactions for 2021, following Visa with $10 trillion.
It is available in many countries, including the U.S., Britain, mainland China and Japan.
Apple Pay is expected to bring about fresh competition in the local mobile payment market, which has been long dominated by Samsung Electronics’ digital payment service Samsung Pay, based on the magnetic secure transmission technology.
Samsung smartphones took up 72 percent of the local smartphone market in 2021, and Samsung Pay is the most-used financial services app in Korea with 14.8 million users as of the first half of last year, according to data from Mobile Index.