SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Korea Bizwire) — A Bank of Korea proposal on how to reduce the amount of pocket change Koreans carry around has proven to be a success among the selected stores the new service is being tested at.
The bank has made it possible for shoppers at three major convenience store chains and two major supermarket chains to buy transportation cards and credits with the change from their purchases.
This way, the shopper can avoid filling his or her pockets with loose change while the business can also sell an extra product.
According to data released by convenience store chain CU, sales of transportation cards rose by 45.8 percent, 38.2 percent and 81.2 percent in May, June and July compared to the same time periods last year.
The increase in sales of transportation cards would typically be considered unusual as they are not expendable items requiring consistent repurchase, which means that sales figures generally remain constant.
CU stated that the boost in transportation cards sales is due to the Bank of Korea’s policy implemented in April of this year.
The sales figures released by CU are even more noteworthy considering that it is generally teenagers and younger who make up the majority of transportation card buyers.
That is why sales have always been higher in March to coincide with the beginning of the school year (schools up to the high school level begin their spring semester in late February to early March), something that adds weight to the belief on the part of CU and the Bank of Korea that the policy is a central driver of sales growth.
Customers can also use their change to buy credits on a membership card, which can in turn be used as cash at other CU stores. It can also be used to withdraw cash from subway stations and ATMs.
Lee Eun Rak from BGF Retail (operator of the CU chain) said the creative way of using change was like “killing three birds with one stone”, as the policy was “increasing customer convenience, increasing management efficiency of stores and reducing the overall financial costs of society”.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)