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Apple Pay’s rapid expansion in Korea keeping Samsung on its toes

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Last updated: May 4th, 2023 at 10:20 UTC+02:00

After years of speculation, Apple finally launched Apple Pay in South Korea, Samsung's home country. It is now competing with Samsung Pay and Naver Pay, the two most popular mobile payment systems in the country. And it looks like Apple Pay is expanding rapidly in South Korea.

According to a report from South Korea's ETNews (via Patently Apple), Apple Pay is off to a great start in South Korea. The service, which started with 32 offline stores, now has more than 110 offline store partners in the country. Apple's payment service has registered a month-on-month growth rate of 243%, which is impressive considering that there are limited NFC payment PoS machines in South Korea, and most retailers use swipe-based cards for payments.

iPhone users in Korea are demanding more stores adopt Apple Pay

Apple Pay is the first NFC-based mobile payment system in South Korea that uses the EMV method, and it is limited to Apple's iPhones and Apple Watches. Since the launch of Apple Pay, a lot of iPhone users have been demanding the addition of the Apple Pay option at stores. The system is now supported by twelve department store brands, ten supermarts and industry brands, and a whopping nineteen cafe chains. The only large cafe chain in South Korea that still doesn't support Apple Pay is Starbucks.

Hyundai Card, the lone Apple Pay partner in South Korea, has seen the highest number of signups in the country since Apple Pay's debut. It saw 203,000 new applicants in a month since Apple Pay's launch. That is almost double of new signups that it saw the month prior. In comparison, Kookmin Card had 149,000 new users, Shinhan Card had 136,000 new signups, and Samsung Card saw 127,000 new customers.

Samsung could adopt Apple Pay's business model in South Korea

This rapid expansion is keeping Samsung on its toes. To compete with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay partnered with Naver Pay to enable NFC and QR Code based payments in South Korea. Unlike Samsung Pay, Apple Pay charges banks and retailers for its mobile payments service. Similar to Apple, Samsung is also thinking of charging a fee to merchants and banks.

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