Science & Technology

Credit Card Payments in South Korea to Reach $900 Billion by 2026: GlobalData

Credit cards are the most preferred payment choice in South Korea, worth nearly 80% of total card payments value in 2022

Korea credit card payments

The Korean government has introduced numerous initiatives to promote the usage of card payments. Source:

As consumer spending in South Korea recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, the credit card payments market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.8% between 2022–2026. According to the forecast of GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, it will reach KRW1,060.5 trillion ($890.9 billion) in 2026.

Although credit card transaction value declined by 0.1% nationwide in 2020, the market registered a 9.9% surge in 2021, fuelled by economic recovery and government initiatives to boost consumer spending.

For instance, the Win-Win Consumption Subsidy program allowed cardholders to receive 10% cashback if their monthly credit/debit card usage surpassed their previous average monthly usage by 3%. The initiative lasted from October 2021 to June 2022. Besides, the government introduced additional tax benefits for consumers who increased credit card spending by 5% in 2021 compared to 2020.

Today, credit cards are the most preferred payment choice in South Korea.

"Koreans are prolific users of credit cards with the frequency of payments by credit cards at 137.5 times in 2022, which is much higher than that noted in developed markets such as France, Canada, the US and the UK, where the frequency of use is 128.1, 83.6, 68.8, and 54.9, respectively.”
Kartik Challa, Senior Banking and Payments Analyst at GlobalData

What hampers growth?

At the same time, the Korean credit card market still faces a number of challenges. Those include global geopolitical risks and inflation. Factors like these decrease consumer confidence and lower borrowing rates.

To tackle surging inflation, the central bank of South Korea increased its benchmark interest rate from 2.25% to 2.50% in August 2022. The rate had a further hike up to 3% in October 2022. Rising interest rates will increase borrowing costs on credit cards and affect spending in the near term.

In addition, the economic crisis calls for cutting expenses. Choosing cash over credit cards is one of the spending habits that help people better control their finances. Therefore, the growth of credit card payments will be muted in the next four years.


5 Ways to Get a Loan with Bad Credit

Anticipation of a smart credit card builds up as X1 raises $25m

PayPal introduced Mastercard business credit card

Nina Bobro

1471 Posts 0 Comments

Nina is passionate about financial technologies and environmental issues, reporting on the industry news and the most exciting projects that build their offerings around the intersection of fintech and sustainability.