The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms & Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2020 Euromoney is part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC
Best Bank Awards

Korea's best digital bank 2020: kakaobank


It seems hard to believe that kakaobank didn’t even exist four years ago. Formed in 2017 with seed capital from a handful of big financial institutions, including KB Kookmin Bank (which owns 9.9% of kakaobank) and Korea Investment Value Asset Management (with 28.6%), it has taken the country by storm.

Its free mobile messaging app, kakaotalk, is almost ubiquitous in the country, acting as a supremely efficient way to market its new services and apps. It is also profitable, reporting net income of W45.3 billion ($41.4 million) in the first half of 2020 – a 370% rise over the previous year.

In April, it unveiled credit card tie-ups with big issuers including Citi and Samsung Card, and had 400,000 applications in just five months. In July, it rolled out an open banking service that allows customers check their balance at competing lenders – and of course transfer them to kakaobank.

Traditional banks in Korea have come to fear it, even as they rush to tie up new deals with the upstart lender.

Its capital base is expanding too, giving it the scale it needs to become, in time, a true full-service lender, albeit one without all those pesky and expensive physical branches.


You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree