Recently, HYBE Label and BeLift Lab‘s new girl group survival program, R U Next?, announced a collaboration with an e-wallet app called Toss Bank to allow fans a way to show support for their favorite contestants while also saving money.
Though global fans can cast votes through Weverse, Toss Bank can be used as another forum to cheer for the participants while managing personal finances. On June 23, the banking platform unveiled a unique savings account service that comes with a dedicated space for a total of 22 participants of R U Next?, where fans can post cheering messages for their favorite contestant.
Anyone above the age of 17 can open an account with this scheme and enjoy a 2% annual interest rate (pre-tax), regardless of the amount deposited. Users can select a participant they want to show support for when opening the account and get access to a collection space. Within this space, they can choose to create up to 22 collections, one for each member, and post cheering messages. These messages can be saved with a certain deposit amount. Each time a user writes a message to a participant, the message and the corresponding amount of savings will show up on the particular participant’s bulletin board in real-time. Though this has no connection with the voting process through which fans can choose the final lineup of the group, Toss Bank is promoting it as a fun way to connect younger consumers to banking services.
Though this might be the first time a survival show has paired up with a financial service, the concept of tying K-Pop fan culture to banking has already been done by Kakao. In April of this year, Kakao Bank introduced a service called “Favorite Savings” that would allow fans to save money each time their favorite star did a particular activity.
The concept is that fans can pre-determine how much money they want to deposit into the account when their favorite celebrity does a certain activity. For example, ₩2,000 KRW (about $1.53 USD) is deposited every time they post a photo on social media or ₩5,000 KRW (about $3.82 USD) for every time they hold a concert, and so on. Users can set up to 20 such deposit patterns.
Apart from these online baking services, even the more traditional financial institutions appear to be trying to target K-Pop fandoms. One of the most recent examples of that would be Shinhan Bank appointing NewJeans as their brand ambassador in a bid to capture a younger customer base.
Recently, there were popular discussions about how young K-Pop idols representing luxury brands could cause potential harm to young minds, who are getting influenced to buy these expensive products to fit in. Financial companies trying to weaponize the same popularity factor of idols to reach out to the younger generation but with an opposite influence then begs the question if K-Pop might reverse the criticism by introducing financial literacy to young adults.