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[Herald Interview] ‘Electronic traveler’s checks gaining popularity’

An electronic version of the traveler’s check, which has gained popularity among Western travelers for its convenience and security, is also drawing interest in Korea.

“In the past, we prepared traveler’s checks when going on a trip, but these days we need to hold a traveler’s card instead of traveler’s checks,” said Richard Kim, country manager of Card Services Korea.
Card Services Korea country manager Richard Kim (The Korea Herald)
Card Services Korea country manager Richard Kim (The Korea Herald)

As MasterCard recently acquired the company, Kim expects its global networks will greatly be enhanced.

Card Services Korea offers convenience as well as security to Korean travelers by launching Cash Passport Card, the first “foreign currency prepaid card,” in the local market in July 2010.

Its core targets are those who are residing overseas for medium to long periods, such as students, backpackers, frequent business travelers and those going on family vacations who require more funds than other travelers.

“Since May 16, holders of Cash Passport Cards have enjoyed free fee services when they use automated teller machines,” Kim said.

Except for a few global banks which waive fees on their limited network, most Korean banks charge around $3 per ATM withdrawal abroad, whereas Cash Passport has removed such fees for the summer peak season between May 16 and Sept. 30.

The card has been available to expatriates in Korea since last February.

The pre-paid travelers’ card can be issued at SC First Bank branches nationwide without opening a separate account, right on the visit without cumbersome procedures.

The CEO stressed that the card can be used at a much wider range of places than debit cards: 28 million MasterCard merchants across the world and at 1.7 million ATMs carrying the MasterCard Acceptance Mark.

Cash Passport Card applies “telegraph transfer selling rate” which is 8-9 won per dollar cheaper than when exchanging into cash.

In addition, a 50 percent benefit on the exchange rate is provided compared to cash exchanges. It can be purchased for 13-14 won cheaper per dollar.

It also offers a back up card at the time of purchase so that when lost or stolen, the customer can contact the Global Emergency Assistance call center for 24 hours a day and seven days a week with Korean-language services.

By Kim Yon-se (kys@heraldcorp.com)
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