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Kakao Bank launches Dollar Box forex service

June 25, 2024 - 15:58 By Im Eun-byel
Oh Bo-hyun, foreign exchange business head of Kakao Bank, speaks at a press event in Seoul on Tuesday. (Newsis)

Kakao Bank, the internet banking arm under Korean tech behemoth Kakao, introduced its new Dollar Box feature on Tuesday, in hopes of bringing the US greenback into users' everyday life.

“The most sought-after foreign currency in Korea is the US dollar. It is a key currency that is acknowledged as a safe-haven asset to all,” Oh Bo-hyun, who heads the bank’s foreign exchange division, said at a press event held in southern Seoul.

“Through Dollar Box, users can use US dollars in their everyday life,” she said.

With the new service, users can open a Dollar Box account to hold the foreign currency. Users can deposit US dollars or “gift” the dollars to Kakao friends via its mobile messenger app.

The daily limit for deposit and withdrawal is $5,000 and $10,000, respectively. Users can physically withdraw dollars in amounts ranging between $100 and $600 at five Shinhan Bank ATMs.

In recent years, credit card arms of local financial groups have launched overseas travel-related cards that provide foreign currency exchange without a commission to target travelers. But instead of launching its own travel-specialized card, Kakao Bank has joined hands with leading market player Travel Wallet.

Users can use the Travel Wallet card to physically use the dollars deposited in their Dollar Box accounts for payments or ATM withdrawals.

“This is the beginning of a new foreign exchange ecosystem, where more players can participate in the future,” Oh said, explaining that Kakao Bank could partner with companies in other sectors, such as commerce, brokerages and retail.

For instance, it could cooperate with a brokerage house, introducing a new feature for the Dollar Box service to enhance convenience for investing in US-listed shares.

“Many companies have recently launched travel-related card services. We did not launch a similar service as there are already leading players in the market. Through the Dollar Box service, Kakao Bank hopes to shape a new trend of the US dollar,” Oh said.