Card firms too vague on discounts

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Card firms too vague on discounts

Credit card companies are attracting new customers by offering discounts and other benefits, but are then misleading them with confusing information, the Korea Consumer Agency (KCA) said yesterday.

Consumers in Korea use credit cards not only for convenience or to charge on credit but also to take advantage of various discounts promised at gas stations, movie theaters and on telecommunications fees.

But according to the KCA, among consumer complaints filed against 10 credit card companies between January 2010 and August 2013, most of the complaints were about being misled on such discounts or promotions.

Common complaints were that credit card companies exaggerated the discounts, omitted important information about when and where the discounts were applied and reduced the discounts without notice to customers.

The credit card companies that were subject to the survey were Samsung Card, Hyundai Card, Shinhan Card, NH Nonghyup Card, Lotte Card, KB Kookmin Card, Hana SK Card, BC Card, Citi Card and KEB Card.

The KCA said all 10 credit card companies emphasized discount benefits to attract customers but provided complicated information or failed to disclose details about conditions and limitations on the discounts.

A survey asked 1,512 consumers how satisfied they were with the top seven credit card companies’ information about discounts, and the result was 4.78 out of 7 points.

In terms of consumer satisfaction about information provided, Hyundai Card came out the highest with 5.05 points, followed by Shinhan Card (4.93 points), Samsung Card (4.79 points) and Hana SK Card (4.58 points).

“Information on discount services is a very important factor for customers in choosing which credit cards to use,” said a spokesman for the KCA.

“The credit card companies should improve specific information and detailed guides to terms and conditions,” he said.

“Although all credit card companies publish detailed terms and conditions for discount benefits on their websites, they are not easy for consumers to find or confirm. Measures that allow consumers easy access to the information are necessary.”

The KCA will urge the credit card industry to provide detailed information about discounts for the current month based on the previous month’s purchases through text messages.


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