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South Korea Country Report

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  • Published Date: July 2018

A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in South Korea.


  • A rapidly ageing population, low birth rate, and high youth unemployment are of great concern to the government as the poverty rate amongst the elderly rises and public finances continue to be strained.
  • South Korea's household debt rose to a new record in 2017, even as the government tightened lending terms to cool the property market.
  • Economic growth seems to be slowing due to falling domestic consumption and decreasing exports.
  • With the home market saturated and revenue from MSCs limited, Korea's big banks are diversifying their financial products and seeking new markets.
  • Domestic card issuers are seeking to expand the functionality of domestic use-only cards to enable foreign use to cut costs paid to international card companies.
  • Given that Korea is one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world with an already robust e-commerce market, it is expected that m-commerce will grow rapidly.
  • Credit cards are experiencing a resurgence following restored customer confidence after a massive data leak.
  • The downturn was an opportunity for the promotion of debit cards, which are now being embraced by a more fiscally responsible generation.
  • Further growth is expected in the debit cards market as debit cards gain recognition as a useful budgeting tool and the market is expanded by a lowering of the age limit of debit cardholders from 14 years of age to 12 years of age.
  • 2018 will be the year of biometric authentication as the rollout of fingerprint vein scanning is expected by three of the largest issuers of cards – Shinhan, BC and Hana Card.
  • The possibility of a move towards a cashless society strengthens in South Korea as Starbucks leads the way and announces a further 100 cashless stores.

South Korea Payments Research | Report Contents

Demographics and Economy:
Outlines the key metrics and trends which influence the development of retail banking and payments in the country:

  • Population structure
  • Income
  • Mobile and internet use
  • Economic data

Retail Banking:
Explores the structure of the local banking system, its infrastructure and the leading players. Data includes:

  • Aggregate retail banking indicators
  • Bank branch, ATMs and POS terminals
  • The profitability of top banks

Consumer Finance:
Overview of consumer finance in the country. Categories analysed include:

  • Mortgage loans
  • Personal loans
  • Credit card loans
  • Vehicle loans

Credit Cards:
Industry-leading credit card coverage. We detail the past present and future of the industry through our data and commentary, including:

  • Market size split by consumer and commercial credit cards: number of cards, transaction volume, billed volume
  • Profit pool analysis
  • Competitive landscape: networks, issuers

Debit Cards:

  • Market size: number of cards, transaction volume, billed volume
  • Competitive landscape: networks, issuers

Prepaid Cards:

  • Market size: number of cards, transaction volume, billed volume


Verisk financial reports include detailed market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring, retail banking, and consumer credit in the Asia Pacific region. Analysts use primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and finance experts.

See more Asia-Pacific Country Reports or explore the full range of cards and payments reports available for 72 markets worldwide.

To find out more or to discuss subscription options, please email: research_enquiries@verisk.com or telephone: +44(0)20 7337 4200.