Discover Financial Services has agreed to carry transactions for the Korean payments company BC Card on its networks.
The Riverwoods, Ill., credit card company said the deal announced Monday would boost its transaction volume.
Discover said that BC Card cardholders would be able to make purchases and access cash outside South Korea, and the payments would be routed across its Discover, Diners Club International and Pulse networks.
South Korean cardholders spent $12.6 billion in 2008 on purchases outside the country, according to data from the Korea Tourism Organization. BC Card cardholders should be able to transact on Discover's networks by late this year.
Discover's agreement with BC Card is similar to ones it made with the China UnionPay card network and with JCB Co. of Japan, said Adil Moussa, an analyst with Aite Group LLC in Boston. "It is the same strategy that Discover has done in China and Japan," Moussa said. "There is potential to increase transaction volume" with the BC Card agreement, he said.
Discover began its relationships with China UnionPay in 2005 and with JCB in 2006. It purchased Diners Club International in 2008. "These actions are all part of our strategy to build scale via network alliances," a Discover representative said.
BC Card has a 32% market share in Korea, with more than 52 million cards issued by 11 financial companies.