[Letter to the editor]Credit card problems for foreigners

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[Letter to the editor]Credit card problems for foreigners

Regarding your article (“Banks cite non-existent law on expat cards,”Jan. 28) I agree that being unable to access funds while overseas is ridiculous and policies are definitely inconsistent from one branch of the same bank to another.
I want to draw readers’ attention to the fact that I have been unable to get a “real” credit card from any Korean bank.
Last year I applied for a credit card at my local KEB to use on Korean Web sites, which will not accept my Australian credit card.
Although the KEB always has some excellent English speakers on its staff, it was a convenient coincidence that a Korean friend accompanied me.
We expressly asked if the balance had to be paid each month and were told “No.” But when the bill came the full balance was demanded and the manager at that branch was most surprised when I informed him that this was not a “revolving” credit card.
We agreed on a repayment plan, but I cannot use the card until it is repaid in full. In disgust, I will be cutting it up when it is repaid, which will be very soon, as the interest is shockingly high because my purchases were made abroad.
Because I need a card to use on xenophobic local Web sites, I applied for one at the Hana Bank branch on my campus. When asked if card charges were to be paid in full at the end of each month they said yes.
As an adult in my late 30s, this is insulting. I have lived in this country for seven years and have no financial problems or criminal record. I work and have always had a visa, earn enough money and have a respectable enough job to be treated like an adult.
While such regulations exist, the efforts of government bodies established to make this country “the hub of Asia” will come to nothing. Sadly, this situation gives Korea a bad reputation.
My Korean friends are in disbelief when I tell this story. If this country wants foreign corporations to take it seriously, such conditions for basic needs like banking must be addressed.
Fiona Jackson, Seoul
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