Toss Creator Viva Republica Secures Initial License to Operate Digital Bank in Korea

Viva Republica Toss Bank

Viva Republica, the Korean financial technology company that operates mobile financial services Toss, announced that it has secured preliminary approval for a license to operate its digital bank in the country.

The firm said the Financial Services Commission of Korea has given its preliminary approval for Toss Bank, a challenger bank for the ‘underbanked’. This means Toss Bank could soon become the third digital bank in Korea with a license to operate banking services even without a physical branch network.

However, Toss Bank is expected to begin operation only in the first half of 2021 if it gains the final approval of the license, Viva Republica said. It will be competing with Kakao Bank and K Bank, the first two digital banks approved by authorities to operate in 2017.

“As a challenger bank for the ‘underbanked’, Toss Bank will build a frictionless and fair way to manage money, fulfilling the needs of individuals and small business customers, including those with thin files and mid-range credit scores,” Viva Republica said in a statement.

As a digital bank, Toss Bank will offer various banking products and services, such as current accounts, credit and loan products, and several other financial services to individuals and businesses in Korea, one of the world’s fastest-growing digital banking markets.

Viva Republica CEO SG Lee said the digital bank license will allow Toss to broaden its product offering and further accelerate the group’s mission to innovate the financial industry.

Toss has already become a leading financial super app in Korea, with Viva Republica valued at $2.2 billion in a recent funding round. Toss posted $48 billion of run-rate transaction volume annually.

Toss was launched as a P2P money transfer service in 2015. Today, Toss now delivers a full suite of financial services including banking services, financial dashboard, credit score management, and investment products.