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S. Korea to temporarily ease regulations to boost fintech industry

All Headlines 16:43 March 20, 2017

SEOUL, March 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's financial regulator said Monday it will temporarily ease a set of regulations to help boost the new financial technology, or "fintech," sector.

In South Korea, smartphone users who have a payment app can't buy goods by holding their handsets next to a credit-card receiving device because there is no legal standard to certify the device under laws.

Under existing rules, such receiving devices have been registered by technical standards set by an association of credit-card firms.

The bureaucratic red tape has been cited as one of many obstacles against South Korean start-ups in the fintech sector.

If a mom-and-pop store gets a temporary certification about its receiving device, people can buy goods at the store by using their smartphones, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) said in a statement after holding a government-wide meeting.

Depending on the results of the temporary steps, the government will launch more aggressive policy measures, the FSC said.

Jeong Eun-bo (3rd from L), vice chairman of the FSC, speaks at a meeting to help boost the fintech industry on March 20, 2017. (Yonhap)

Jeong Eun-bo, vice chairman of the FSC, told the meeting that the pace of regulatory change has failed to catch up with changes in new financial services.

The government will consider enacting a special law to effectively cope with the fast-changing nature of the new financial industry, the senior official said.

South Korea, one of the world's most wired nations, launched a government-led campaign in early 2015 to foster the fintech industry. The campaign is aimed at making significant headway in the financial industry that is facing a host of challenges.

Investment related to fintech businesses here jumped to 777 billion won (US$693.4 million) as of June last year from 87 billion won in 2014 and 473 billion won in 2015, government data showed.

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