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Retailers rush to adopt Apple Pay system

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A customer buys ice cream using Apple Pay's service at a Baskin-Robbins store in Seoul, Wednesday. Courtesy of SPC
A customer buys ice cream using Apple Pay's service at a Baskin-Robbins store in Seoul, Wednesday. Courtesy of SPC

By Kim Jae-heun

Local retailers are preparing to introduce Apple Pay at their stores as the long-awaited mobile payment service has finally landed in Korea, industry officials said Wednesday.

SPC Group's information technology service and marketing subsidiary Secta9ine has already adopted the Apple Pay system at more than 7,000 SPC-affiliated brand stores nationwide, including Paris Baguette, Baskin-Robbins, Dunkin and Caffe Pascucci.

"We introduced the Apple Pay system in SPC stores across the country to provide a convenient customer experience for iPhone users centered on the MZ Generation. We will continue making efforts to provide our customers with more diverse and distinctive benefits through our innovative service," a Secta9ine official said.

Secta9ine developed the near-field communication (NFC) payment terminals installed at SPC stores in conjunction with a point-of-sales (POS) system and value-added network (VAN) to establish an infrastructure optimized for Apple Pay. Customers can make payments simply by attaching their iPhone and Apple Watch to the NFC-compatible terminals installed at SPC stores.

Coffeehouse chain Ediya Coffee has also started supporting Apple Pay at its 3,000 branches around the country. Customers can press the side button twice and place their Apple mobile device close to the payment terminal to purchase beverages.

All four major convenience store brands ― GS25, CU, 7-Eleven and Emart24 ― have adopted Apple's mobile payment service already.

Among the three major retail store chains, Homeplus is the only one supporting the service so far. The retailer has adopted the payment to help customers make purchases conveniently at its retail stores, shopping malls and express stores.

Shinsegae has not yet revealed its plan to adopt Apple Pay at its affiliate brand stores. E-mart said, "Nothing has been discussed about introducing Apple Pay at our stores. We are only watching the market closely."

Starbucks Korea is taking a wait-and-see stance for the time being. "We will introduce the Apple Pay service one day but not anytime soon," a company official said.

According to Gallup Korea's survey revealed last July, more than half of respondents aged between 18 and 29 said they used iPhones.

"Retailers are preemptively introducing Apple Pay to improve shopping convenience for customers in their 20s and 30s, who use iPhones a lot," a local retail official said.

Kim Jae-heun

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