Starting an Online Business in Korea Pt. 2

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girl-at-laptop-150x150In part I we were talking about “payment gateways” for your website. This simply means a way for people to pay online. If you’ve ever tried to shop online from a Korean website, you’ll know that the process here is quite different. There are reasons for this, however, and it’s not the fault of the web designers. Back when the Internet first started, the Korean government put all its eggs in one basket in that they relied on Microsoft’s ‘Active X’ function in the Internet Explorer browser. This was before ‘Chrome’ and probably before a secure version of ‘Fireox’ too, which is another popular browser. Another reason of course is due to the people up North, who just love to hack.

Therefore Korea uses a 3 step verification system. You need first, a password / PIN to log into your bank. Secondly, a mini-program to be installed on your PC called a ‘certificate’, and thirdly a card with code numbers on it that you keep in your wallet. And in most cases, you’ll also need special software installed on your computer from the individual credit card issuing bank! Cumbersome to say the least, but it’s secure.

PayPal offers a two-step verification service as well, but it’s optional. You can sign up for one that requires you to have your phone with you and you’ll receive an SMS with a special code on it each and every time you log in.

But first, what if you DO want Korea’s payment gateway with your WordPress site no matter what the cost?

It wasn’t possible until recently. Now there’s a ‘middle-man’ service located in Gangnam which will help you install the Korean gateway system, called INIPay, on your site. This has strict requirements as mentioned in part I. It will be expensive to code into your site, however, and you’ll have to host it in Korea. Just Google ‘payment gateways in Korea for WordPress’ and there may be more than one service available now.

A newer addition is one called ‘Pay Gate’ and it professes to work with WordPress. However it is also quite expensive to set up, and takes a whopping 5.5% of every sale for itself.

Our advice is to have Jayu Web Design make your site at a great price first, then we’d zip it up and deliver it to your payment service provider. They’d then code in the payment gateway and help you install it on a Korean host, preferably ‘Internet Brothers.’ There may be more than one Korean host who offers English support by now so check around. This way you’d be able to accept Korean credit cards such as BC Card, and also accept other popular Korean payment styles such as ‘virtual accounts.’

PayPal accepts credit cards too, don’t forget.

Back to PayPal–As we mentioned in Part I, you can use PayPal on your site in Korea, and draw the money to a Korean bank. They take MasterCard, Visa, and more. See part I for a re-cap. See this article for additional information on what Korea plans to do with the payment system.

With PayPal in Korea, you’ll have to list your prices in USD, however. You’ll have to keep your prices up to date, periodically going into your site to adjust the prices according to the exchange rate. More and more Koreans are using PayPal as it’s getting more and more well-known. Many people here have said they don’t like having to keep a credit card number on file with PayPal’s servers as one reason they don’t use it, and another is of course that the signup procedures as well as the checkout procedures are all in English.

Koreans are demanding a new, less cumbersome payment system for Korea and the President is on board. She has mandated some improvements and changes so let’s keep our fingers crossed! See this Joongang article. for more.

Setting up PayPal on your Site

By far the best way to set up PayPal on your site is using a shopping cart plugin called ‘Woo Commerce.’ There are many shopping cart plugins (apps) out there but ‘Woo’ is one of foremost web development companies out there. You can implement Woo Commerce to sell physical goods, services, an digital downloads. It can keep track of your stock for physical items, automatically counting down and then posting an ‘out of stock’ notice when you run out. You will get an email notification when the items drop below a pre-set number.

If you’re selling services, you can set up Woo Commerce for that as well. It also takes care of calculating taxes, and pre-programmed shipping charges.

We can help

You can easily open an online business in Korea, but there’s certainly a learning curve involved. All you have to do is do your market research well. Jayu Web Design offers a full range of services including of course building your site. We can also implement the shopping cart and set it up on your PayPal account (with you either present, or over Skype screen share). There’s an automatic ‘bank transfer’ option in Woo Commerce as well. This is lacking in many other shopping cart apps. All you have to do is input your bank account number. (This is only shown to the buyer after the checkout button is clicked.)

We are also a social media managing company so we can set up your business Facebook page, which is a must these days, and also set up your Google + page, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram pages.

Our prices are excellent for the work we do. Every site is different, however, so please contact us at with your site preferences. You’ll be satisfied with our low prices, especially if you’ve already gotten a quote from a different company!

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