Destinations

What Is Kakao Talk?

As technology becomes more advanced, the distance between people has become smaller and smaller. We can communicate with anyone at anytime without meeting that person face to face. Various social apps help us keep in touch 24/7. And in South Korea, no app is more commonly used than Kakao Talk.

Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • Kakao services
  • Kakao family
  • KakaoTalk
  • What is KakaoTalk
  • KakaoTalk services?
  • Free messages
  • Latest news
  • Send presents online!
  • Electronic pay
  • Conclusion

Introduction

In Malaysia, we have various kinds of social apps we use on a daily basis too. We have Whatsapp for daily conversation and Telegram for communication with our school. As Malaysians, we used to think the older generation uses Facebook and the younger generation uses Instagram or Twitter. But, besides that, we still have many other applications that we commonly use like WeChat, Weibo, Snapchat, Tango – the list is endless.

But, if you are living in South Korea, those applications stated above are nothing compared to Kakao Talk. In order to function in Korean society, you need to use Kakao Talk. Everyone uses it. It’s used for talking to friends, colleagues, and classmates. It even has a taxi service, vaccine verification, and bank function.

Kakao Services

Kakao is a South Korean Internet company that was established in 2010. There is a wide range of services provided under Kakao. Koreans are very loyal to the company, using it in every aspect of their life. 

For instance, you might use Kakaotalk to arrange a meeting with your friends at a cafe.. Then, you would take Kakao T( which is the taxi service) to your destination. After you tell the driver the place you wish to go, the driver will use KakaoMapsfor navigation. And when you reach your destination, you will use Kakao Pay to give money to the driver. Then as you enter the cafe, you will verify your vaccination status using a QR code on the Kakao app.

Kakao Family

Beyond basic daily use, there are also much lesser known apps within the Kakao Talk family that are extremely useful. 

For community related Kakao family apps, you can find KakaoStory, and KakaoPage. For entertainment, there is KakaoMusic and KakaoStyle. For finance, there is KakaoPay and KakaoBank. And, for transportation, there is Kakao T, KakaoBus, and KakaoMetro. Of course, there is also KakaoGames, KakaoFriends, KakaoTv, KakaoAlbum and more.

If you live in South Korea or have traveled here before, you will also find the Kakao Friends Store. There, you can buy all sorts of products featuring their original characters. They are extremely popular and super cute.

KakaoTalk

Back to the main topic where I would like to introduce you, the main Kakao service that you will everyday during your life in Korea – Kakao Talk

What is KakaoTalk?

KakaoTalk is a mobile messaging app created by Kakao corporation. It was launched in 2010 and you can use it on both smartphones and desktop. Since then, it has become the main way that people living in South Korea communicate with each other.

In 2016, 30.3 million South Korean mobile phone users accessed the messaging app to communicate on a daily basis. This figure grew to 34.1 million users in 2021. Compared to Instagram, Korea’s second most popular social networking app, which only has 13.4 million users in South Korea. You can clearly see a huge gap between the apps.

KakaoTalk services?

So, what are the services available on KakaoTalk? There is already a lot of basic information about the app out there, so I will share my personal experience using this app for over three years.

If you are using this app, I am sure you downloaded it at first because you wanted to contact somebody who is Korean. But, when you explore it more, you will notice that it’s features are actually quite extensive.

Free message

Yes, KakaoTalk enables you to send free messages and call anyone anywhere. It is pretty easy to set up an account and all you need is a phone number. No matter which country you are in (except maybe China) you can use Kakao Talk. It has functions like other social apps where you can have personal chat and also group chat functions.

Latest news

Besides talking, there is also a news section where you can keep yourself updated on what is happening both in Korea and abroad. You can also swipe to the KakaoTv to watch movies, entertainment news, sports, and live shop. There is music available too!

Send Presents Online!

One thing I found interesting about KakaoTalk is that you can send a gift to your friends. Anytime and anywhere – as long as you have a Korean bank account.

You can just search for the present you want to send, select your friend, and make a purchase. Then, your friend will be sent a message with a barcode. Then, your friend can go to their local branch of the store you purchased a gift from. Once there, they just show the workers at the counter their barcode and pick-up their gift.

With this feature, you can buy your friends anything – fried chicken, Starbucks, cakes, ice cream, etc. It is super convenient, right?

Electronic pay

Just connect your Kakao account with your bank account and you can use Kakao Pay. It is by far the easiest way to pay for things online in Korea. Plus, you can also use it to pay in person instead of carrying cards around.

Additionally, you can use it to send money directly to other Kakao users.

Conclusion

The Kakao Talk app has endless functions. You will, without a doubt, need the app if you ever come to Korea. If you are planning a trip, be sure to download it ahead of time so that you can familiarize yourself before you come.

Want to buy things through the Kakao Talk app? Click Here for information on how to set up Kakao Pay for Foreigners

🇲🇾 Tan Wei Wen

Hello, I am a foreign student that is currently living in Seoul, South Korea. Wish to share more about my travel stories here.