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Relief fund donation errors a headache for card issuers

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

On the first day South Korea started to receive applications for COVID-19 relief cash, local card issuers assigned to handle payment processes were met with a flood of unexpected inquiries -- to cancel subsidies donated by beneficiaries mistakenly.

According to credit card companies, calls from recipients surged demanding to withdraw their donation to the state, saying they mistakenly clicked the button.

Fund applicants can donate part or all of their subsidies to the state when filling out the online application via local card companies’ mobile applications or website. The application form includes a series of categories, whereby the recipients agree to the policy terms and donation all displayed on the same page. Beneficiaries say they mistakenly filled out the amount of cash payments in a box asking how much they are willing to donate or clicked the button that they agree to make a donation.

The ministry said the applicants cannot undo their fund donations. But in the wake of the series of related inquiries as well as complaints, major card companies here including KB Kookmin, Lotte, Hana, Woori, NongHyup, Shinhan, Samsung and Hyundai have decided to allow them to make cancellations through their website, call centers or local operations. 

Earlier, over 1.8 million households rushed to an online application for the government’s emergency coronavirus relief funds that started Monday with a combined amount of some 1.21 trillion won ($988 million), according to ministry officials.

The beneficiaries receive funds in the form of credit or debit card points two days after their applications and the points cannot be used for online shopping nor at large-sized supermarkets or department stores or entertainment establishments such as pubs or casinos, the ministry said. 

As for foreign nationals, only those who are married to Korean citizens or have permanent residency visas are eligible for the governmental relief funds. 

Meanwhile, for the first week, the government has implemented a five-day rotation system based on the last digit of one’s birth year in a bid to prevent all residents from applying at once and overloading the online application program. 

Starting Monday, offline applications will be also available at community service centers or banks.

By Choi Jae-hee (cjh@heraldcorp.com)
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