Users of prepaid or mobile transportation cards in South Korea will be able to recharge them with change left from purchases at some 23,000 convenience, discount and department stores nationwide as part of a central bank project to introduce a coinless society.
When a test run begins on Thursday, customers can receive small change from merchants as a top-up onto pre-paid cards, the central Bank of Korea said, adding change would be remitted to bank or credit card accounts.
Convenience stores mainly in charge of small cash transactions have devices to charge T-money transportation cards and other transit cards. If the test-run produces good results, the system will be expanded to supermarkets, pharmacies and other retailers.
The central bank has proposed a coinless society to reduce social costs as South Korea experiences a rapid change in payment tools, helped by the growing use of internet banking services and mobile payment services using smartphones.
In a coinless society, consumers won't have to carry change in their pockets after making cash payments. The central bank said its final goal is to introduce a cashless society in South Korea, one of the world's most wired societies leading the global trend of introducing cashless payment platforms.
In January, the Financial Services Commission, a state financial watchdog, called for a pilot project this year to test "BioPay, a new type of biometric authentication using the palm vein for off-line store payment.
Like other biometric authentication technologies using iris and voice recognition, BioPay does not need plastic cards because it can check identity by scanning the palm vein. The use of BioPay will be expanded if it turns out to be safe and convenient.
Fingerprint scanners are widely used at banks and state bodies to check identify, but mobile payment requires hack-proof solutions to ensure safe and convenient financial transactions.
Lim Chang-won = firstname.lastname@example.org