Apple is poised to launch its Apple Pay service in South Korea, one of the fastest-growing countries in the world for cashless services, yet as of right now untapped by both Apple and the other major smartphone platform player, Google. South Korea’s financial regulator is currently reviewing the Apple Pay service launch clause submitted by local credit card company Hyundai Card, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) confirmed to TechCrunch.

The FSS declined to provide further details. According to this Yonhap Infomax report, the FSS’ review to offer approval for Apple’s digital payment service could take between one and two months, completing as early as the end of this month. 

Apple Pay will support Hyundai Card, a financial unit of Hyundai Motors. Hyundai Card reportedly has a one-year exclusivity partnership with Apple Pay in South Korea — meaning initially only Hyundai Card holders will be able to use Apple Pay service in the country. 

Hyundai Card declined to comment. Apple did not respond when reached by TechCrunch. 

Hyundai Card, which has yet to release an official statement, did not comment on whether the leaked document was authentic. 

But while smartphone operating system giants Google (Android) and Apple (iOS) are synonymous with mobile payments and mobile wallets in some markets, they’ve been absent in South Korea, where local mobile payment service providers, such as Naver Pay, Kakao Pay and Samsung Pay have the most widely used in the country

In South Korea, only about 10% of 2.9 million local retailers have NFC enabled in their credit card terminals. Mostly, Korean retailers use magnetic secure transmission (MST), a mobile payment technology allowing smartphones to transact wireless payments with traditional credit card swipe readers and terminals. Once Apple’s payment service is introduced, most local retailers will need to set up new terminals for NFC payments for Apple Pay users. (Samsung Pay uses both MST and NFC.) Apple would purportedly require the card issuer to pay a commission rate of 0.1 or 0.15 percent of the transaction amount. 

If (or when) Apple Pay goes live in South Korea, it will be the eleventh country in the Asia Pacific to support Apple’s wallet and digital payment service. The Cupertino-based firm is already operating its payment services in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and New Zealand. 

South Korean financial regulator confirms it is reviewing Apple Pay service for launch by Kate Park originally published on TechCrunch

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