BACK

Research and Statistics

Credit cards around the world: South Korea

Summary

Our ongoing series heads to Asia for a look at credit card use and credit card statistics in South Korea.

The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of card offers; and please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

Our ongoing series heads to Asia for a look at credit card use and credit card statistics in South Korea.

 

A “credit card-friendly” country
The International Herald-Tribune says, “Thanks to what began in the late 1990s as a government campaign to fight corruption, South Korea has become one of the world’s most credit card-friendly countries.” It ranked 34th in per capita income in 2005 but fifth in per capita credit card spending, according to the nation’s central bank.

Hit hard by credit craze
The government’s credit card push led to a huge financial problem in 2003. Nearly 4 million South Koreans defaulted. “Huge debt write-offs, mergers and tightening standards for issuing cards” followed. It took several years to recover.

Cards and crime
Gone phishing
As of late 2006, South Korea was second only to the United States among countries that host “phishing” sites. Phishing is an attempt — often via email — to fraudulently take on the identity of a trusted source, such as a credit card company, with the hope of luring an unsuspecting customer into providing his personal data. Criminals then use that data to steal the user’s identity.

Local voices
Official tourism site

  • Visit KoreaTop financial news sites
  • Korea.net
  • Korea Times
  • Korea Economic DailySouth Korean financial blogs
  • The Incredible Shrinking WonCountry info
    President: Lee Myung-bak
    Location: Eastern Asia, bordering the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea
    Population: 48,379,392 (July 2008)
    Area: 38,023 sq. mi. or 98,480 sq. km. (slightly larger than Indiana)
    GDP: $1.206 trillion (2007 estimate)
    Key exports: semiconductors, wireless telecom equipment, motor vehicles, computers, steel, ships, petrochemicals
    Famous South Koreans: Golfer Se Ri Pak, baseball pitcher Chan Ho Park, movie director Chan-wook Park
  • What’s up next?

    In Research and Statistics

    5 tips for those considering bankruptcy

    Bankruptcy experts, attorneys and consumer credit counselors offer advice to those thinking of filing for bankruptcy

    Published: October 13, 2008

    See more stories
    Credit Card Rate Report Updated: June 12th, 2019
    Business
    15.61%
    Airline
    17.54%
    Cash Back
    17.68%
    Reward
    17.57%
    Student
    17.79%

    Questions or comments?

    Contact us

    Editorial corrections policies

    Learn more

    Join the Discussion

    We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

    The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company’s business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.