Credit card transactions nearly halved last month as the fast-spreading COVID-19 fears dampened consumer sentiment, according to latest data Sunday.
The overall credit card payments from Feb. 1-23 stood at 28.2 trillion won ($23.5 billion), down 45 percent from 51.3 trillion won in January, as per eight credit card issuers, including Shinhan Card, Samsung Card, Hyundai Card and BC Card.
The transactions declined 32 percent, when deducting a week’s average amount -- approximately 10 trillion won -- from the January figure.
The coronavirus outbreak also caused online and offline transactions to move in opposite directions last month. As the confirmed cases of the potentially lethal virus drastically increased, the online credit card payments jumped 8.1 percent to 2.3 trillion won on-week in the third week of February. The offline transactions, on the other hand, dropped 8.8 percent to 7.9 trillion won during the same period.
“It is hard to identify the exact impact of the virus outbreak, but overall spending will be definitely affected,” an official from the credit card industry was quoted as saying by Yonhap News.
By Kim Young-won (email@example.com