A partnership between Samsung and a leading South Korean bank could provide the impetus needed for the technology company’s fledgling financial services app to become a market leader. Samsung’s Monimo app has been floundering for users since its inception in April 2022, averaging around two million per month. The app has been struggling to compete with other financial services apps in the country due to a lack of banking-specific features, as Samsung does not have an affiliate bank in South Korea. The app currently facilitates simple payments, insurance claims, and the ability to manage assets from services provided by Samsung financial affiliates.

Two of the companies offering a proposal to Samsung are Kookmin Bank and Hana Bank. According to GlobalData’s Global Retail Banking Analytics, these players were among the top five South Korean banks for retail deposits with market shares of 8% and 6.8%, respectively, in 2022. Samsung will tap into the expertise of such leaders as it tries to make up ground on the key financial apps in the country, which are mostly run by leading banks themselves. With access to a greater number of digitally savvy consumers and backed by the security of a leading financial services firm, Monimo will likely grow from such a collaboration.

Alternatively, digital-only brand K Bank could offer access to a host of customers more attuned to the business model Samsung is attempting to build, especially in the wider South-East Asia market. Having recently passed ten million customers domestically, a K Bank-Samsung collaboration would bring an extra layer of appeal to consumers in the region. K Bank estimates that one-third of South Koreans in their 20s, 30s, or 40s are using the bank, illustrating its appeal to younger generations. Access to more of these customers across Southeast Asia, and their demonstrable openness to digital banking, will support Samsung’s goal in growing its app into a true competitor to the leading super apps.

For the banks themselves, a Samsung tie-up represents an opportunity to enhance their reputation and gain access to a range of new customers. According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2023, 69% of South Koreans have a Samsung mobile device (compared to 23% who hold an Apple device). The South Korean banking space is one of the most competitive in the Asia-Pacific region, with our Global Retail Banking Analytics showing the largest five players accounted for just 35.7% of the retail deposits market in 2022. As South Korean players have begun to expand their international reach, this partnership could open up international opportunities as the banks lean on Samsung’s global appeal and technological prowess. Samsung’s drive to enhance its financial services app into a truly all-encompassing super app in collaboration with a leading South Korean bank will surely deliver benefits to both parties. For Samsung, introducing banking-specific services will help Monimo compete with the larger apps in the country, which are typically run by leading banks. For the banks, access to Samsung’s massive customer base (and reputation) will help them in their own expansion plans.

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