10-year study charts popularity of plastic

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10-year study charts popularity of plastic


Korea ranked first in the number of credit card transactions per capita in 2012 and third in the total value of annual transactions in a study of 18 large economies.

Korea had 147 credit card transactions per capita for the year, followed by 89.8 for Canada and 83.5 for the United States.

The average of the 18 surveyed economies was 41.7 transactions per capita.

The study released yesterday by the nonprofit Korea Financial Telecommunications and Clearings Institute was based on data collected from 2003-12 by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). The 18 BIS member countries surveyed included China, India, Russia and Sweden.

In terms of total per-capita credit card purchases for the year, Korea recorded $8,625, behind Australia ($11,000) and Canada ($10,000).

However, credit cards were used for smaller purchases in Korea, an average $58.70 per transaction in 2012. Switzerland had the highest amount per transaction at $152.20, followed by Australia at $146.80. The average for the18 countries surveyed was $98.50.

Koreans tended to make large payments with credit cards in 2003, the average reaching nearly $110, but as household debt grew, the average transaction amount shrank.

Korea showed an average 141 percent increase annually from 2003-12 in debit card transactions, a rate of growth that was about 10 times faster that the average for the 18 countries surveyed.

The report predicted that debit cards will be as popular as credit cards in the future in Korea, as more people come under pressure to tighten their belts.

It also cited Korean government policies that provide incentives to encourage the use of debit cards.

The number of debit and credit card transactions reached 9.8 billion in 2012, an average annual increase of 20.2 percent since 2003, when 1.9 billion were recorded.

Over the decade of the survey, the popularity of cards as the world’s most widespread form of payment increased steadily.

Cards accounted for 38.7 percent of total payments in Korea in 2003, followed by checks (32.5 percent). In 2012, cards’ share of transactions was 60.7 percent, followed by bank transfers at 17.1 percent.

BY KIM JI-YOON [jiyoon.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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