Koreans are Asia's Top Users of Online Banking


99 out of 100 Koreans use mobile or online banking, which is the highest level in Asia. But Korea has one of the poorest infrastructures to support it.

Global consulting agency McKinsey said in a report based on a survey on 17,000 consumers in 15 Asian countries that Korea boasts the highest online banking penetration rate in the region. In Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, the rate is 97 percent, and in China, India and Malaysia only 52 percent.

Some 90 percent of respondents in Korea also said they would be willing to open accounts with online-only banks, compared to 98 percent in Hong Kong, 80 percent in Japan and just 65 percent in China. Koreans said they would consider transferring 40 percent of their assets to online banks.

In Asia, only 10 to 15 percent of financial transactions are made offline.

Half of Asia's population are using banking services on their smartphones, ranging from 67 percent in China to 39 percent in India. Alipay offered by Alibaba and WeChat Pay offered by Tencent, the two top Chinese online malls, accounted for 94 percent of Internet-based financial transactions in the country.

But red tape in Korea is hindering growth, especially a regulation in Korea barring private businesses from owning more than a 10-percent stake in banks. P2P finance, which has been growing rapidly, faced a major obstacle last year due to the government cap.