Korean Economy News
Korea’s credit card spending up 8.7% on year in Q1

[Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]

[Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]

Credit card usage by South Koreans climbed 8.7 percent on year in the first quarter ended March in further indication of improving private consumption after yearlong slump amidst Covid-19.

According to data released by the Credit Finance Association on Thursday, Korean consumers spent 223.8 trillion won ($202.2 billion) through credit, debit and direct payment cards from January to March, up 8.7 percent from the same period last year. The number of card transactions gained 3.3 percent to 5.2 billion over the cited period.

Purchases made with personal plastics amounted to 4.89 billion with spending coming to 185 trillion won, up 3.3 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively, against a year ago. Spending by corporate cards gained 11.5 percent to 38.9 trillion won on total 310 million transactions, which edged up 3.4 percent from the previous year.

The rise in card spending is largely due to the overall rebound in consumption on the back of the vaccination campaign that kicked off in late February and relaxation of social distancing measures.

This year’s figure also goes against low year-ago period when consumption dipped from the outbreak of Covid-19 and strong mitigation rules.

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Rebound in consumption was uneven, with some sectors like distribution and education seeing gains while others like transportation, accommodation, and restaurant industries stayed sluggish.

Plastic spending for the wholesale and retail industries surged 18.8 percent on year in the first quarter on increase in department store, online and automobile sales. Education sector also saw a 19.9 percent rise from a year ago.

Card spending on transportation plunged 34.8 percent as people still traveled less.

Accommodation and restaurant sectors suffered an 11.9 percent decrease and travel business a 19.3 percent drop due to contraction of tourism activities.

By Lee Soo-min

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]

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