Credit, debit spending see increase in AugustCredit and debit card spending in August improved compared to last year, but experts aren’t celebrating just yet.
The increase is not considered a big improvement, as consumer sentiment remains low amid concerns over the economy’s lackluster performance in the second half.
According to the Credit Finance Association on Tuesday, overall card spending last month grew 10.2 percent year on year to 53.73 trillion won ($45.41 billion). This is 1.5 percentage points higher than the 8.7 percent year-on-year increase reported in July.
Credit card spending increased 8.9 percent compared to the previous year, to 42.2 trillion won, while debit card spending grew nearly 16 percent year on year to 11.41 trillion won.
While spending has grown, most of it was made on small expenditures such as items from convenience stores. In fact, spending at convenience stores grew 63.9 percent year on year to 910 billion won. Spending at the stores now accounts for 12.4 percent of credit card spending in the retail industry.
The use of cards at neighborhood supermarkets also saw a sharp increase of 12.1 percent year on year to 2.31 trillion won.
Card spending at department stores grew 5.7 percent year on year, largely thanks to various promotional events such as aggressively marketed sales.
At discount stores, however, card spending dipped 0.2 percent year on year to 2.7 trillion won.
Both department stores and discount stores like E-Mart and Lotte Mart struggled heavily in June, when the Middle East respiratory syndrome outbreak kept customers from visiting crowded stores.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]