SEOUL, Jan. 5 (Korea Bizwire) — Kakao Corp., the operator of the country’s top mobile messenger service Kakao Talk, will launch debit cards next week to jump into the offline payment business, company officials said Friday.
Promotional events are already under way before the official launch Wednesday for the debit cards that will be linked with Kakao Pay, officials said.
Kakao Corp. already has debit card services that are partnered with some commercial banks and credit card firms. It is the 10 percent owner of Kakao Bank, which issues debit cards. But this time, Kakao Corp. is the direct issuer of the card, providing an offline payment tool to more than 20 million subscribers of Kakao Talk.
The new business move is aimed at improving the company’s competitiveness with the likes of Samsung Pay and Payco, which both have offline services. A consumer survey in September showed that payments accounted for 80 percent of Kakao Pay use, compared with 93.3 percent for Payco and 87.7 percent for Samsung Pay.
The volume of transactions for January-August period was tallied at 685 billion won (US$643.49 million) for Kakao Pay, paling to 5.83 trillion won for Samsung Pay, 2.15 trillion won for Naver Pay and 1.34 trillion won for Payco.
Kakao Corp. will accrue 0.3 percent of the transaction amount in points and give emoticons as gifts. Users can apply for the card, monitor bill information and report stolen or lost cards through Kakao Talk, officials said.
The company is scheduled to launch a QR code payment system within the first half of this year to further strengthen its competitiveness in the offline market. The QR code payment system allows smartphones to read codes to complete transactions.