On Tuesday, U.S. tech giant Apple Inc. launched its mobile payment service Apple Pay in South Korea. Duncan Olby, the international overseer of Apple Pay, announced the launch in a press conference in Seoul, stating that users in South Korea can add their credit and debit cards on Wallet for their iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac. The service will be available in convenience stores, supermarkets like Lotte Department Store, and coffee shops like Paul Bassett. South Korean users can also use the service overseas.
Apple partnered with Hyundai Card Co., a local credit card firm under the wing of Hyundai Motor Group, to launch the service in South Korea under a one-year exclusive contract. Apple Pay enables users to make payments in person without using physical cards, with select terminals utilizing the near-field communication system, a short-range wireless protocol.
Apple Pay is the second-most popular digital payment system in the world, with over $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.
The introduction of Apple Pay is expected to bring about fresh competition in the local mobile payment market, which has long been dominated by Samsung Electronics’ digital payment service, Samsung Pay, based on magnetic secure transmission technology. According to data from Mobile Index, Samsung smartphones accounted for 72% 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.
Chung Tae-young, CEO of Hyundai Card, expected Apple Pay to make a significant impact in the mobile payment market. He stated that 170,000 people had already registered for Apple Pay on the morning of the launch, and he believed that it would be a turning point for the Korean payment industry.