‘Zero Pay’ project, which is a simple payment system with zero fees, is being drafted due to establishment of non-professional business plans and dogmatism by Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS).
It will be almost impossible to implement this project by end of this year. Some commercial banks and IT companies that are looking into participating in this project are asking MSS to be excluded from this project. Snags within major work are expected while this project is being implemented.
According to industries, MSS is facing criticism due to inexperience, lack of experts, and lack of communication with industries.
First, personnel with knowledge in simple payment and financial services is almost nonexistent. As a result, MSS is not able to make proper actions towards companies that are looking to participate in this project. At the moment, there are only two employees within MSS who are working on this project. Personnel who is not connected to this project are taking on every task on themselves.
MSS recently started organizing SPC (Special Purpose Company) that will be responsible for this project. Although it established Small Business Simple Payment Promotion Business Group, this group has yet to make any relevant discussion regarding this project. So far, it appointed one leader and it has yet to organize a SPC.
Commercial banks are having difficulties due to unreasonable and non-professional requests from MSS.

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“MSS has zero understanding of financial market as it is asking banks to exempt even charging fees despite banks saying that they will participate in spite of unfair conditions such as free transfer fee.” said a high-ranking official for a commercial bank. “It is even negotiating details through Korea Financial Telecommunications & Clearings Institute.”
Mediation of policies that lack consistency is another problem as there was friction between Kakao Pay and MSS.
There was a difference in opinions regarding use of QR codes installed offline by Kakao Pay before it decided to participate in Zero Pay project. MSS is stating that it will prohibit participating companies of Zero Pay project from distributing separate QR codes. In response, Kakao Pay is requesting to withdraw such regulation while saying that it will rethink about participating in this project. As a result, it is heard that MSS is looking into withdrawing such regulation.
“While MSS had been saying that it had yet to make any decision regarding QR code, it is starting to establish policies that will allow participating companies to use current QR codes.” said a representative from the industry who is familiar with MSS.
“Because MSS, which has low understanding of finance and IT, is the department that is in charge of this project, there are many snags with this project.” said a representative for a financial company. “It is practically impossible for this project to be implemented by end of this year.”
Staff Reporter Gil, Jaeshik | osolgil@etnews.com