Public Key Authentication Service

What is a public key certificate?

A public key certificate is a web certificate that is used for ensuring the security of transactions handled over the web such as online purchases, etc.

A digital signature made with a public key certificate enables the ability to identify the signatory, prevents forgery and/or illicit fabrication of electronic documents, and verifies transactions.

Public key certificates are issued only by authentication institutes authorized by the government through a strict screening process, so legal force and safety are guaranteed.

Public key certificate applications

  • Finance: Internet banking, online brokerages, online insurance, electronic cash, etc.
  • e-Commerce: Internet shopping, digital receipts, various reservation/ ticketing services.
  • Public Services: Electronic civil services (issuing of foreign registration certificates, domestic residence declaration certificate, nationality-related certificates, etc.) and collection of various utility bills, etc.
  • Others: Academic affairs operations of colleges and universities, etc.

    ※ Some services including internet banking are available only to customers of the corresponding service providers, such as banks.

Public key authentication institutes

In Korea there are currently a total of five officially accredited authentication institutes that are authorized to handle public key certificate applications and issuance.

Public key authentication institutes
Accredited Authentication Institute Website Date of Authorization
KICA Feb. 10, 2000
KOSCOM Feb. 10, 2000
KFTC Apr. 12, 2000
Korea Electronic Certification Authority Nov. 24, 2001
Korea Trade Network Mar. 11, 2002

※ According to a revision made to the Digital Signature Act on July 1, 2006, the KFTC was barred from issuing general certificates to new subscribers/applicants from July 1, 2006. The KFTC may continue to issue, reissue and provide renewal services but only to the existing subscribers.

Public key certificate types

Public key certificates are divided into general certificates, which can be used in all areas, and limited use certificates, which can be used only for specific purposes including Internet banking.

Public key certificate types
Classification Use Charge
General All transactions requiring a public key certificate
(including operations of financial institutes and civil services of government agencies)
KRW 4,400
Limited Use Banks and insurance companies Credit card operations Civil services of government agencies Free

※Most limited use certificates are issued for free. Please note, however, that service fees may incur in some cases.