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July 16, 2024

Toss joins race for key payment gateway for tourists

PUBLISHED : November 21, 2023 - 09:31

UPDATED : November 21, 2023 - 09:31

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Toss advertises its new QR offline payment service in 42 countries. (Toss)

In a bid to cater to more Korean tourists traveling abroad, major mobile payment providers are expanding their services to overseas destinations, with Toss being the latest addition to this trend.

On Monday, Viva Republica, the operator of Korean fintech unicorn Toss, announced that its QR-based offline payment service is now available at Alipay+ merchants in 40 more countries for Korean tourists, in addition to China and Malaysia.

This development closely follows Naver Pay's announcement of a similar service expansion to Alipay+ merchants in the same 42 countries, made less than a week ago.

The expansion encompasses five Asian nations, including Japan, Singapore and the Philippines, and 33 European countries, including Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK, along with Australia and the US. This brings the total number of countries where Toss Pay can be used for QR-based offline payments abroad to 42.

In September -- before the 19th Hangzhou Asian Games -- Toss initiated its overseas offline payment service in China through collaborating with Alipay+. Toward the end of October, the service was also introduced in Malaysia.

By the end of the year, Toss said its offline payments will also be accessible in Thailand, Macao, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

"Additional countries will also be served in collaboration with Alipay+," a company official said.

The official further noted that partnering with local businesses facilitates overseas expansion, enabling Toss Pay to leverage existing merchant bases and established infrastructure, reducing the time and costs associated with direct market entry.

At Alipay+ merchants overseas, users can complete transactions by presenting their QR code for scanning at the designated payment location. Alternatively, users can scan the Alipay+ QR code at the payment location.

Overseas payments have become a critical business segment for Korean payment companies especially after Kakao Pay reported a significant increase in overseas payment volumes, according to industry sources.

Kakao Pay, the first Korean firm to launch an overseas payment service in 2019, now provides a similar service for Korean tourists in over 50 countries.

"Overseas payments surged by 75 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period last year," said Baek Seung-jun, business head of Kakao Pay, during a conference call earlier this month.

By Song Seung-hyun  (ssh@heraldcorp.com)

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