The South Korean government is gathering opinions from banks as to the use of alien registration cards for non-face-to-face financial transactions.
Last year, the government formed a task force for fintech deregulation and said that it would provide minors and foreigners with an easier access to non-face-to-face financial transactions. Online account opening by minors has been permitted since then, but the use of alien registration cards for the purpose is the first foreigner-related measure discussed after the announcement.
At present, a foreigner without a resident registration card and a driver’s license can open no account online in South Korea. This is because the ID verification system of the Ministry of the Interior and Safety and the National Police Agency requires the card and the license when it comes to non-face-to-face financial transactions.
A foreigner wishing to open an account in South Korea can do so and receive a debit card by visiting a bank branch and submitting his or her passport, alien registration card, and enrollment or employment certificate. Online and mobile banking becomes available after the account opening process.
As of now, foreigners in South Korea cannot use branchless direct banks such as Kakao Bank and K Bank. Once the use of alien registration cards for the purpose is permitted, however, more than two million foreigners’ convenience can be improved and the direct banks’ customer base can be expanded.