The number of South Koreans doing their banking via mobile devices jumped 24 per cent from a year ago and now make up more than half of the country’s estimated 93.4 million internet banking accounts.
According a report from the Bank of Korea, the country now has 55 million mobile banking users. Many Koreans, of course, have two or more online accounts, making it difficult to calculate internet banking penetration.
The central bank said transactions on mobile devices increased 6.6 per cent in Q2 to an average of 29.4 million per day.
Mobile users, however, are generally checking their bank accounts rather than making larger payments and transfers. Only 4.8 per cent of the total value of internet banking transactions was done by mobile devices, which account for 46 per cent all internet transactions. Transfers by mobile devices made up about 9 per cent of a bank’s total business.
With nine out of ten transactions now done online, according to Citibank Korea, many banks are closing down branches. Shutting a single branch can save almost $1 million, a Citibank Korea labour union estimates.
Of the foreign banks in the country, both Citi and Standard Chartered are significantly reducing the number of branches.
According to World Bank figures in 2010, Korea has 18.63 commercial bank branches per 100,000 people, while Thailand has 11.16 and China has 7.72.