MODES OF CASH AND CREDIT CARD PAYMENT IN SOUTH KOREA
if you are used to cash transaction in Manhattan and third-World countries : you would have a hard time getting used to transportation tokens, credit cards and point-accumulation in South Korea .
ofcourse this didn’t used to be so, as post-War South Korea was almost like modern Somalia where war-lords (ensuing military dictators) ruled over a sleazy market where anything could be traded (often rations smuggled from US military bases). you can set this time-frame as when traffic-cops were frequently taking bribes and NOT even department stores had set price tags, meaning anything for sale were priced by the vendor depending upon the (looks of the) buyer .
this changed swiftly as the nation developed and it is safe to note civilized modes of purchase began with the SEOUL Olympics in 1988, as locals like any developing nation are conscious of international attention . the main game began as shopping channels competed with the birth of cable channels a decade later – dominated by conglomerate subsidiaries, where viewers called-in by land-line telephone and paid either via bank transfer or with their credit card . this accelerated into high-gear as a large portion of this stage shifted On-Line into internet shopping malls over the Millennium . around the same time super-marts came to take place of tiny, dirty stores around the alley . and with them came point-cards similar to mileage cards offered by airline companies . and a decade Post-Millennium point-cards give new meaning as StarBucks-wanna-be coffee shops dotted throughout the Peninsula . there-after the most recent development is transportation cards by T-Money which can be used in bus, subways and trains as well as airport limousines as well as taxis !
one big problem ensued with carrying all these cards from different service providers, but this naturally solved with the influx of smartphones including iPhone, where unbelieveably a single app can hold almost all popular point-cards . ofcourse by now : you can check you point as well as credit card statement On-Line AND pay it monthly via each bank or credit card companies’ own dedicated smartphone app .
and because all vendors understand well : any consumers’ obsession with point cards and/or credit card is directly accumulated into MONEY : it is common now to pay even a single cup of coffee with a credit card than cash .
but one aspect of civilized shopping still lag in Post-Millennium South Korea : where smaller shops (including booth-type store-fronts in supposed-discount buildings in the apparel whole-sale district of DongDaeMun) are notorious in NOT implementing set-price tags, not to mention black sub-vans dreaded by Japanese tourists already known well through their travel forums .
– BLACK Friday 2013, although ofourse there is NO such notion in South Korea – Korea Expat BLog