Besides launching the yellow iPhone 14, Apple has also announced that it will soon launch Apple Pay in South Korea. This will allow South Korean Apple users to make secure contactless payments from their Apple Watch and iPhone.
Apparently, the Apple Pay service was supposed to launch last year in November but it was delayed due to regulatory processes. It was reported that Korean Financial Supervisory Service had to review the terms and conditions of Apple Pay before giving them the green light.
Apple Pay. South Korea. Confirmed. pic.twitter.com/jnDSSpLHcv— Tommy Boi (@Tommyboiiiiii) November 29, 2022
Despite the announcement, Apple has not provided the actual Apple Pay availability date and supported credit or debit cards for South Korea. It was previously rumoured that Hyundai Card will get a one-year exclusive but it is believed that it’s no longer the case for the upcoming launch. Late last year, there were ads spotted promoting that Hyundai Card will be Apple Pay enabled on 30th November.
Why did it take Apple so long to launch Apple Pay in South Korea?
Apple Pay was introduced 8 years ago during the launch of the iPhone 6 and it is interesting that it took Apple so long to launch it in South Korea. According to a report by Naver last year, NFC payment adoption is still quite low in South Korea and most locally issued credit cards are still using Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) and chip-based payments. This explains why Samsung Pay was initially released with support for both NFC and MST payments. Most newer Samsung smartphones including the Galaxy S21 series and above only support NFC for Samsung Pay.
Besides the lack of NFC terminals, the report stated that Apple Pay’s high fees could also be a potential barrier. It added that Apple Pay is notorious for charging high fees to cardholders even overseas.
The launch of Apple Pay in Malaysia shows that we are much more ready in terms of NFC payment acceptance. Most if not all new card terminals in Malaysia are able to accept contactless Visa Paywave and Mastercard PayPass. In terms of fees, Maybank has stated that the merchant discount rate (MDR) for Apple Pay acceptance is the same as the existing MDR for Amex, Visa or Mastercard debit or credit cards. So merchants shouldn’t be hesitant to accept Apple Pay as the acceptance fee is the same as any regular credit or debit card. Samsung Pay first came to Malaysia in December 2016 while Google Pay was launched locally six years later in November 2022.