BC Global Card gains popularity
By Kim Jae-won
BC Card’s efforts to reduce its reliance on MasterCard and Visa and form its own network of international services appear to be paying off hugely. The company issued a total of 1.8 million BC Global Cards in the 16 months since launching in April last year.
MasterCard and Visa make money here by processing offshore transactions for card firms here and the growing number of Korean business and leisure travelers in recent years has been a boon for them.
However, Korean card issuers have been trying to reduce their reliance on the global giants and establish their own international transaction network to cut spending on royalties and reduce consumer complaints about paying extra commission.
BC Card, which handles the credit card business of 11 member banks, was the first major issuer to distance itself from MasterCard and Visa. Since last year, it has signed partnership with Discover Financial Services of the United States and launched BC Global Card for its customers to swipe abroad.
While MasterCard and Visa have been taking 1 percent commission from Korean credit card companies on purchases from affiliated cards in foreign countries, BC Global Card users are free from such burden.
BC Card official said word-of-mouth marketing contributed to spreading card applications.
``The Global Card earned good reputation among customers who frequently use overseas online shopping malls,’’ said a BC Card spokesman. According to the company, online sales account for 60 percent of the purchases of foreign products and services.
BC Global Cards also provide a variety of consumer benefits, including a 5 percent discount to take the ETS Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) and discounts at U.S. electronic commerce services like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Victoria’s Secret and American Eagle Outfitters.
U.S. department stores, such as Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, provide 10 to 15 percent of discounts to cardholders of BC Global. For BC card holders, American theme park Six Flags charges 5 percent less in admission fees while international rent-a-car company Hertz also cut fees by 5 to 10 percent.
For vacationers to Hawaii, Guam and Saipan, the company hosts a special promotional event. BC Global cardholders can get a $25 discount coupon at DFS Galleria Waikiki when they buy more than $300 of goods there by the end of this year.
Consumers also can take advantage of a 10 percent discount for services and goods paid with a BC Global Card in the three regions until Sept. 30.
The company’s promotion is ongoing in London for Olympians and tourists. A total of 27 British duty free shops affiliated with World Duty Free Group offer 15 pounds in discounts for every 100 pounds of payment with a BC Global Card until the end of December.
For luxury brand maniacs, the company provides bargain sale promotions in cooperation with Ralph Lauren and Tory Burch. Consumers can get up to 10 percent in discounts online at ralphlauren.com and toryburch.com.
Tourists bounded for Japan also can benefit from using the card. A total of 31 shops in four Japanese cities ― Tokyo, Kyoto, Hokkaido and Fukuoka ― are offering a discount to shoppers paying with BC Global Card by the end of this year.