Card firms offer Chuseok discounts

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Card firms offer Chuseok discounts

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Mr. Lee, a 40-year-old office worker, is meticulous when it comes to his finances. He normally focuses on his budget and does not overspend, but when the Chuseok holiday rolls around, he becomes what’s called a “cherry picker.”

Cherry pickers are consumers who make the most out of the credit card benefits without spending much. Lee uses his own cards, as well as the cards of his wife, to find all the available promotions over the holiday.

“Anyone can save a lot of money on Chuseok by carefully checking each credit card issuers’ perks, but people easily miss the benefits,” Mr. Lee said.

Preparations for Chuseok, which includes rituals like the setting of a table to honor ancestors, can be expensive. This year could be particularly costly because food and vegetable prices have spiked due to the recent drought, the worst in several years. But many Koreans have no choice but to pay, considering it is bad manners to return home without plenty of gifts for relatives.

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This has led to financial companies offering a slew of aggressive promotional events like discounts and cash-back programs to help customers save money. The firms also see the promotions as opportunities to cement the loyalty of their existing customers and even attract new ones.

Most of the promotional events
are aimed at lowering the prices of costly household items used during the holiday.

KEB Hana Card, for example, gives its users discounts of up to 30 percent on Chuseok gift sets or foods used
during the holiday at major discount stores like E-Mart, Lotte Mart and Homeplus.

Woori Card offers a minimum 5 percent and maximum 30 percent discount on gifts sets purchased at Lotte Mart. Lotte Card is giving additional gift cards worth 5,000 won ($4.30) and 30,000 won when customers purchase Lotte gift cards worth more than 300,000 won.

Samsung Card is offering a 10 percent discount to anyone purchasing goods online using the card in
September. The company will give gift cards to randomly selected customers who have directly purchased goods worth more than $100 from overseas websites, including retail giant Amazon.com

KB Kookmin Card is handing out gift cards to 1,515 users who spend more than 300,000 won on goods in the company’s three Chuseok-related categories.

Shinhan Card is holding a special promotional event exclusively for customers returning home through Oct. 4th. The company will reimburse customers up to 20,000 won for highway toll fees if they spend more than 300,000 won on fuel.

Other industries are seeing the holiday as an opportunity to increase their brand awareness.

Among car rental businesses, Hyundai Capital Services is offering special discounts to customers who sign long-term rental contracts with Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors during the month. The customers will receive a special discount of up to 47 percent in their monthly rental fees.

Commercial banks also jumped into the discount frenzy, offering fee exemptions and savings points to celebrate Chuseok.


BY LEE TAE-KYUNG [choi.jeongpil@joongang.co.kr]

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