How to Set up Kakao Pay for Foreigners

Every country has a tech giant that leads the tech revolution and Korea is no different. Here, the tech giant leading Korea is  Kakao corp. Kakao is an internet company in South Korea and was established in 2010. Daum Communications and Kakao corp merged together in 2014 and the Kakao app was formed. The company rebranded twice and in 2015 it became to be known as Kakao.

Source: Majid Mushtaq & Kakao Pay

Kakao talk, commonly referred to as Katalk in South Korea, is messaging app available on smartphones and desktops. Kakao talk is basically the Korean version of WhatsApp. However, it is perhaps more widely used in daily life. The Kakao pay option was added in 2014 and debuted as the country’s first online payment app on mobile.

As the world advances toward a more digitalized future, the use of bills and coins is declining and the use of cards and virtual money is increasing day by day. Leading this trend of not carrying bills and coins is Kakao corp with its app Kakao pay. Kakao pay is moderately replacing conventional banking services.

What is Kakao Pay?

Source: Kakao

Kakao Pay is basically the PayPal of South Korea. Kakao Pay is a digital financial platform through which you can pay and transfer money as well as buy things online just by tapping on your mobile phone. The little signs including QR codes at local cafes, restaurants, and retailers – all indicate that payment through Kakao Pay is possible. However, Kakao Pay can be difficult and complicated to set up for foreigners as it is in the Korean language. So, do not worry as I give you steps to help you understand the setup of the Kakao Pay app in an easy way. Just follow the steps given below. 

Things You Need to Setup Kakao Pay

Your bank account and mobile phone number must be registered under the same name as the one you used to create your Kakao Talk account.  This information will be used to verify your identity and link Kakao Pay to your Kakao Talk account. In order to start using Kakao Pay, you must have an active bank account and mobile phone number.

  1. Korean Bank account
  2. Korean Mobile phone number
  3. Form of Korean ID (ARC, ID Card)

Following are the steps to help you create your Kakao pay account, and a guide for easy setup of Kakao Pay for foreigners.

Step 1: Setup Kakao Pay

Firstly, you need to open a Kakao Pay account. After opening the Kakao talk app, click on the “more tab” in the right corner. Then tap the grey-ish rectangular bar which is located just underneath your profile photo that says Send Money (돈을 보내다) and Pay (지불).

Step 2: Link Bank Account to Kakao Pay

After successfully setting up your Kakao pay account, you will be taken to the Kakao pay screen. Here you will have to add and link your bank information to your Kakao pay account. Please make sure that you link your active Korean bank account as all the payment and transfer you do on Kakao pay will be withdrawn directly from the bank you linked.

Linking your bank account is pretty straightforward. Just click on the tab directly below the balance on your Kakao pay, which should show 0 won when you sign up for the first time. Just for your better understanding, the left side of the tab says “there is no connected bank account” (연결된 은행 계좌가 없습니다) and on the right, it says “add an account” (계정 추가). 

If you want to add more than one bank account you can add additional accounts once you have finished setting up Kakao Pay.

Then, you will see a page where they will ask you to input your bank information. Next, choose your bank from the list which includes both names and logos of the Korean banks. After selecting the bank, enter your bank account number. However, please do not confuse the bank account number with a card number. These are different.

If you are unsure about your bank account number then, you can find it in your passbook issued together with your bank card. You can also find it at a local ATM by using your bank card. When you finish entering your number, press “authentication request” (인증 요청) to confirm that the information is correct.

Step 3: Verify Bank Account

After this comes the most confusing part.

Once the authentication request goes through Kakao pay will deposit 1 Won to the bank account you just registered. This process ensures that the bank information you give is correct. If you use an online banking service with your own bank, then you can check whether you have received the 1 won or not simply just by scrolling down your transaction history on your mobile phone or computer.

If not, you will have to visit the nearest ATM or bank to find it.

Please pay attention to the name of the person that deposited 1 won. This will look like a made-up name consisting of 4-digit letters. Then, copy the 4-digit name and return to Kakao Pay and enter the 4-digit name in the verification box.

Step 4: Verify Phone

Lastly, press Confirm (확인) to complete the confirmation of your bank account.

After this comes the final step, which is to confirm your account again. This adds another layer of security. Here you have to confirm your mobile phone number.

Check the 2 huge digits and press “ARS”, Authorization phone call request (승인 전화 요청). After a few seconds you will receive an automated phone call in Korean so please do not hang up or get nervous. All you have to do is enter the 2-digit number you see on your screen and then the call will then end on its own.

After completing this you’re done! You are officially a KakaoPay user.

Although it is very complicated to set up a Kakao pay account, it is worth it, as it will make your stay in Korea a lot easier. The features of this app are designed to make payments easy via Kakao pay for foreigners.

To be more efficient in this process, make sure that you know your Korean name. Korea is a beautiful country and when you visit the town make sure to visit its amazing cafes as well.

🇵🇰 Majid Mushtaq

Majid Mushtaq is a passionate content creation wizard, Youtuber, traveler, and selfie-fanatic. He is currently living in Seoul and after being bitten by the travel bug, he has been to 25 countries. He loves writing about cultures, technology, food and more food. Gracias :)