The fintech market was dominated by the digital payments sector at an early stage. As a country with the largest e-commerce market in the world, an easier way of payment to satisfy e-commerce users was needed. As a result, fintech companies offering digital payment services began to appear after the abolition of compulsory public key certificate use for online payments in 2015. The major digital payment providers are Naver Pay, KakaoPay, and Samsung Pay. E-commerce companies such as Shinsegae Mall and 11th Street have also developed their own payment services.
Fintech services are gradually evolving. Alternative financing, including crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, has attracted investors across all generations. The amount of assets managed mainly through Robo Advisor services provided by commercial banks is also increasing year by year. Recently, Korean fintech companies and financial institutions have started pursuing the possibilities of a collaborative system. The insurance industry started investing to foster startups in the insurtech sector to expand into the fintech business.
The major fintech companies in Korea are Naver, Kakao, and Toss. Naver is one of Korea's major search portals. Naver Pay, the payment service of Naver Shopping Platform, is the first fin-tech service in Korea with more than 30 million users. The Naver platform has a wealth of related content such as blogs, webtoons, music, and videos, which can attract more users. Kakao also used its own technology and customer base established through Kakao Talk. Toss, operated by Viva Republica, started with a digital money transfer service, and now offers a variety of financial products. Viva Republica is Korea's first fintech unicorn company whose market value exceeded over one trillion South Korea won.