SEOUL, May 24 (Korea Bizwire) — Credit card spending by South Koreans in foreign countries declined in the first quarter of 2019, although the number of overseas travelers increased due to the winter vacation.
The increase in foreign trips is attributed to an increase in the number of travelers who made short trips to Asian countries such as Vietnam and Japan.
According to the Bank of Korea (BOK)’s report released on Thursday, South Koreans spent US$4.68 billion on credit cards in overseas in the first quarter, down 3.3 percent from the previous quarter.
If an average won/dollar exchange rate of 1,125.08 won is applied to the dollar during the period, spending comes to about 5.27 trillion won.
The number of South Koreans leaving the country for an overseas trip increased 10.2 percent from the previous quarter to 7.86 million due to the winter vacation, but the total amount of overseas spending has decreased as travelers focus their trip to Asia.
A BOK official said that the number of people leaving the country usually increases in the first quarter due to seasonal factors, while the amount of credit card spending increases.
However, the official added that this year, more travelers are visiting Vietnam and other Asian countries.
Meanwhile, compared with the credit card use from the same period a year earlier, credit card use overseas fell by 7.8 percent.
Also, the number of people leaving the country increased, and card issuances increased, which led to the number of credit cards used overseas totaling 17.05 million, up 1.1 percent from the previous quarter.
As the amount of credit card use decreased and the number of credit cards increased, the amount of use per card fell 4.4 percent from the previous quarter to US$274.
The amount of spending per card was the lowest since the central bank compiled related statistics in 1999.
D. M. Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)