SEOUL, March 29 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean credit and debit card spending jumped 8.8 percent last year from a year earlier as consumers increasingly favor using cards both for small-sized daily settlements and big tax payments, government data showed Tuesday.
The card-based expenditure reached 667.1 trillion won (US$572 million) in 2015, up from 613.2 trillion won the previous year. A 16 percent increase in debit, or check, card spending outweighed a 7.1 percent rise in credit card spending last year, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said in a statement.
The combined data covers domestic and overseas card spending only by Korean cardholders, the FSS said.
“A growing number of customers use their credit or check cards for small settlements at convenience stores or tax payments worth over 10 million won. Check card-based spending is likely to rise further due to increased tax returns,” an FSS spokesman said.
In January last year, the government eased regulations to lift the upper limit of 10 million won for tax payments using credit cards. The move encouraged card-based purchases and payments.
The value of tax payments using credit cards soared by 14 trillion won last year compared to a year earlier, the statement said.
Meanwhile, the number of credit cards issued by eight card companies and 11 banks last year reached 93.14 million, up 0.9 percent from a year earlier. Debit card issuances climbed 4.5 percent to 105.27 million during the same period.