Western Union Digital Money Transfers Now Live in South Korea via kakaobank Mobile App

Regional News By Karen Santos September 20, 2019

SEOUL, January 28, 2019 — Western Union, a leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement, and kakaobank, the largest mobile-first bank in South Korea, today announced the launch of Western Union® digital money transfer services within kakaobank’s mobile app.

With the integration of Western Union’s cross-border functionalities with kakaobank’s mobile banking app, over 7.6 million kakaobank customers can now seamlessly send and receive international money transfers directly from their mobile phones, 24/7. kakaobank customers in Korea have the choice to send money directly into more than half a million Agent locations in more than 200 countries and territories, anytime.

“With the expansion of digital channels in full force, Western Union is excited to collaborate with kakaobank to deliver on a seamless digital customer experience,” said Odilon Almeida, President, Western Union Global Money Transfer. “As digital services have become an integral part of the customers daily lives, this launch provides customers with fingertip convenience, 24/7.”

Along with Australia, South Korea leads the Asia Pacific region in digital banking activities, according to a research by The Asian Banker. Online banking transactions are rapidly shifting from internet banking to smartphone-based mobile banking in the country.

“Customer banking needs are constantly evolving, and access to efficient international digital money transfer channels is one of them. We are delighted to launch this service offering with a global leader as Western Union and provide our vast customer base with this enhanced digital money transfer capability. Western Union’s brand strength and its ability to connect the digital and physical worlds of money, coupled with kakaobank’s digital expertise and reach, will benefit customers looking for different options to send money,” said Daniel Yun, CEO, kakaobank.

Western Union has operated in Korea since 2001 and has more than 4,000 retail Agent locations[i] in the country. Customers still have the choice to access these locations to send money transfers in-person, reflecting the company’s commitment to provide choice and options to connect to families and friends around the world.


To commemorate the start of the service, Western Union and kakaobank have announced a cashback promotion until the end of February 2019, for first time senders and receivers of Western Union money transfers via kakaobank’s mobile banking app. For a service fee of USD6 customers can send up to USD3,000 and for a service fee of USD12 customers can send USD3,000 onwards up to USD7,000.

To receive cash into their kakaobank accounts, customers can select the option of receiving money via Western Union on their mobile banking app and insert Western Union’s unique tracking number (MTCN), along with other requested info. The receiver can then select the kakaobank account they want to deposit the money into.

[i] Network data as of September 30, 2018

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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 September 30, 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 50 countries and territories 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 LeeㆍDaniel 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 smart phones, customers of kakaobank can enjoy our entire services including opening accounts and getting loan without restrictions of where they locate and when they use the banking app. As a result of the efforts, 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 2018, kakaobank booked 7,690,000 customers, deposit balance of KRW 10.8 trillion and loan balance of KRW 9.8 trillion. kakaobank’s paid-in capital is KRW 1.3 trillion after previous two rights issues. Korea Investment Holdings, one of the biggest financial groups in South Korea, is the largest shareholder of kakaobank with a 58% stake and Kakao, South Korea’s best ICT business platform, is the second largest shareholder with a 10% 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.