Apple Users in South Korea Can Finally Use Apple Pay 

BY Dave Johnson

Published 21 Mar 2023

Apple Pay South Korea

After months of regulatory delays, Apple Pay has finally launched in South Korea, allowing contactless payment using the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac. 

Apple has been working to bring Apple Pay to South Korea but has suffered several setbacks. 

First, the tech giant experienced challenges when registering as an electronic financial business operator in the country. Further delays occurred when regulators had to assess whether Apple Pay violated the Korean payment system.

Despite these challenges, the South Korean financial regulators finally approved Apple Pay in February. Furthermore, a new report revealed that Apple users in the country can start using the payment service today.

“Apple Pay is available from today in South Korea,” says Duncan Olby, who is leading Apple Pay, Wallet, and Payment for international markets, at a press conference in Seoul. “Users can add their credit and debit cards on Wallet for their iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac.” 

That said, Apple Pay is currently limited to Hyundai Card users. At the time of writing, no other local card providers have participated in the tech giant’s payment system. 

Here’s a possible reason. 

Low NFC Terminal Adoption Could Hinder Apple Pay in South Korea

Slow NFC (near-field communication) terminal adoption among South Korean retailers could hinder Apple Pay. Indeed a report suggests that only 10 percent of 2.9 million local retailers in the country enabled NFC in their credit card terminals. 

However, a new trend could begin soon. 

According to a Counterpoint report, more retailers are expected to install NFC terminals by the end of the year. The report further suggests that iPhone and Apple Watch users in South Korea will likely switch to Apple Pay, boosting peer competition. These include Samsung Pay, Kakao Pay, and Naver Pay. 

“Many of our users here have been eager to use Apple Pay for their everyday spending in-store, online and in-apps,” says Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet. “So we are thrilled to roll out and make seamless and secure payments available across top merchants in South Korea.”