Stores fight back with new cards

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Stores fight back with new cards

New credit cards will be released in August in a bid to help small entrepreneurs, mom-and-pop stores and customers, industry sources said yesterday.

The cards will be developed by two million entrepreneurs in cooperation with the nation’s two major card issuers, Samsung Card and Shinhan Card.

“Although specific details of the benefits and incentives of the cards have not yet been decided, customers who use them will be entitled to three times as many points when they buy groceries and other products from small stores as they would get at large discount chains,” said an industry official.

Card issuers normally grant customers points equivalent to 0.1 percent of their entire purchase. These can be used as a form of cash at stores that have entered into partnerships with the card companies, such as bakeries or florists. However, the new cards will raise this proportion to 0.3 percent of the total purchase when shoppers give their business to small stores.

In March, small businesses said they would launch a nationwide campaign refusing to accept credit cards issued by Samsung Card the following month. They were irked by the company’s move to apply favorable fees to U.S. wholesale retailer Costco, who only pays a commission rate of 0.7 percent, while they have to pay between 1.6 percent and 1.8 percent.

Yesterday’s news comes after small entrepreneurs retracted their protest and sat down for talks with credit card companies, which promised they would grant them a range of complimentary services, including legal counseling and accounting.

“Our goal is to attract 10 million subscribers to the new cards by the end of this year,” Oh Ho-seok, head of an association that represents the two million small entrepreneurs.

By Kim Mi-ju [ mijukim@joongang.co.kr ]

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