How to Get an Official ID Certificate for Online Use in Korea (공인인증서)
Before you can complete payments online, utilize online banking, or even make some reservations, you will need an official certificate verifying your identity. The most common way to get this certificate is to have it issued by your bank. To do that, you will need several things:
- An alien registration card (ARC)
- A bank account
- A one-time password (OTP) keychain
- Internet Explorer and the ability to install additional plugins (i.e., not a PC bang)
- 4,400 KRW in your account (depending on certificate type)
If you’re lacking any of these things, start by going in to your local bank branch to set them up.
Once you’re ready, open up your bank’s webpage and find the certificate center. There may or may not be an English version website that offers this function, depending on your bank (Korea’s English version sites are often much more limited than their Korean counterparts).
The path to the certificate centers for several of the most common Korean banks are below:
You should also be prepared to install any and every “security program” these websites ask for. It seems that every website in Korea is using different security software, and usually it takes at minimum around three software packages to satisfy each one…so if you are going to succeed with online transactions in Korea it is best to accept the fact that you will have a multitude of ambiguous security programs in tow. As far as my own experience goes, these little programs have never caused a problem for my system, so don’t worry too much, given that they’re coming from a bank, which should be a trustworthy entity, in any case.
Note also that after installing each of the security programs required, you will likely have to quit your browser (Internet Explorer) entirely and re-launch it for the website to recognize them properly.
From here on out, I’ll be using Hana Bank as the primary example for this walkthrough. The process will probably be quite similar with the other banks, though the order of operations might differ.
After logging in, choose to Issue/Reissue a certificate. Log in carefully because, as with most banks, entering your password wrong 3 times will lock your account, requiring a visit in person.
On the next page, you will be asked to choose which certificate type you want. Since the basic option is free, a practical approach seems to be to start there and come back for the paid version later if the first doesn’t work for your purposes.
Having chosen a type, move on to the next page which is simply a set of privacy/usage agreements. Check the boxes and proceed to the following screen, which asks for your basic contact information and banking details.
Your resident registration number is the number on your ARC. Technically you could have opened a bank account on your passport and proceeded to this point, but to successfully issue an ID certificate, you will need an ARC as well (no way around it).
Once your info is entered, move on to authentication. If you are within Korea, ARS authentication will be the most convenient, though a bit challenging if your Korean understanding is low.
Choose one of the phone numbers you registered upon opening your account from the drop-down menu and click “ARS Authentication.” An automated system will call your phone, and the recording will tell you either to enter the first or last two numbers shown on the webpage (generated when you clicked the authentication button).
Listen for key words: the indication for the first two characters will be “ap” (앞) and for the last will be “twee” (뒤).
Type these numbers on the number pad of your phone, accordingly. If you are successful, this should be reflected on the website (and via the recorded instructions on the phone) and you can hang up.
Finally, in case you did not yet feel authentic enough, there is the OTP code to enter. For this, simply press the button on your keychain to generate a code and type the resulting number into the box.
Click “Issue New Certificate” and we’re over the hump.
To finish up, you will need to enter a password for your new ID certificate. As with most passwords nowadays, it should include a variety of character types, with no consecutive numbers.
This certificate will then be stored on your PC, since the process was completed there. For mobile use (which I highly recommend) you should first download your bank’s phone app, then follow the process to copy the certificate, which must be coordinated between actions on the PC website and the actual app.
With this done, you will be a leap closer to mastering the Korean online payment and ID systems.
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