Western Union Digital International Money Transfers in South Korea’s kakaobank Mobile Banking App

Press Release By Western Union Published OnJuly 26, 2018

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement, today announced an agreement with kakaobank, the largest mobile-first bank in South Korea, to offer digital international money transfers to customers in Korea via kakaobank’s mobile app.

This agreement marks Western Union’s foray in the wider North Asia region, integrating its cross-border functionalities with kakaobank’s mobile banking app for customers in South Korea.

Once activated, over 6,000,000 customers using kakaobank’s mobile app can connect to Western Union’s over half a million agent locations in more than 200 countries and territories. kakaobank customers will be able to send and receive international money transfers, directly from their mobile phones, 24/7.

“With the increased popularity of mobile banking, providing customers with convenient digital money transfer services in addition to retail services, is key to serving their needs,” said Odilon Almeida, Western Union Global Money Transfer President. “We are delighted to work with kakaobank to bring digital, cross-border money transfer services to customers in Korea and those wishing to send money to Korea from around the world.”

According to Pew Research Center, Korea stands out as the most digitally connected country, with 96% of adults reporting internet use1 and about 94% adults owning a smartphone2.

“The convenient and reliable flow of remittances is important for any country, and we are delighted to be collaborating with Western Union to provide this digital capability to our vast network of customers and enhance their experience with us. Western Union’s brand strength through its network size and reach, convenience and reliability – is well known and, we are proud to be working with them to expand our portfolio of service offerings to our customers,” said Ho Young Yun, CEO, kakaobank.

Western Union has been providing money transfer services in Korea since 2001 and has more than 4,300 agent locations in the country. With this addition of mobile service, customers in Korea will have a choice between digital and retail money transfer services.

About Western Union

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a global leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement. Our omnichannel platform connects the digital and physical worlds and makes it possible for consumers and businesses to send and receive money and make payments with speed, ease, and reliability. As of March 31, 2018, our network included over 550,000 retail agent locations offering Western Union, Vigo or Orlandi Valuta branded services in more than 200 countries and territories, with the capability to send money to billions of accounts. Additionally, westernunion.com, our fastest growing channel in 2017, is available in more than 40 countries to move money around the world. In 2017, we moved over $300 billion in principal in nearly 130 currencies and processed 32 transactions every second across all our services. With our global reach, Western Union moves money for better, connecting family, friends and businesses to enable financial inclusion and support economic growth. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.

About kakaobank

KakaoBank of Korea Corp. (Co-CEOs Yan Lee ㆍ Daniel Yun, kakaobank), the largest mobile-first bank in South Korea, started the banking service in July 2017 with a business slogan of “same but different bank.” With cutting-edge ICT, kakaobank provides banking services to our valued customers in less costly, simpler and faster ways. Via complete non-face-to-face channel with smartphones, customers of kakaobank can enjoy our entire services including opening accounts and getting loans without restrictions of where they locate and when they use the banking app. As a result, kakaobank recorded 3,000,000 accounts, deposit balance of KRW 2 trillion and loan balance of KRW 1.5 trillion within the first month after the business launched. As of the end of June 2018, kakaobank booked 6,000,000 accounts, deposit balance of KRW 8 trillion and loan balance of KRW 6.8 trillion. kakaobank’s paid-in capital is KRW 1.3 trillion after two rights issues. Korea Investment Holdings, one of the biggest financial groups in South Korea, is the largest shareholder of kakaobank with a 50% stake and Kakao, South Korea’s best ICT business platform, is the second largest shareholder with an 18% stake. Also, KB Kookmin Bank (10%), Netmarble (4%), Seoul Guarantee Insurance (4%), Korea Post (4%), eBay (4%), Tencent (4%) and Yes24 (4%) are kakaobank’s shareholders.


1 http://www.pewglobal.org/2018/06/19/social-media-use-continues-to-rise-in-developing-countries-but-plateaus-across-developed-ones/
2 http://www.pewglobal.org/2018/06/19/2-smartphone-ownership-on-the-rise-in-emerging-economies/

Western Union Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific
Ingrid Sahu, +97 14 437-3656
Phil Lee, 010.3038.2180

Source: The Western Union Company