South Korea's antitrust regulator is urging card companies in that country to let their cardholders earn reward points on purchases made overseas.

"In this day and age, when locally issued credit cards are universally used here and abroad, there is no reason not to offer mileage points for overseas purchases," the Korea Fair Trade Commission said on March 3.

Korean issuers say that they do not offer reward points on overseas spending because it creates additional cost and a slump in such spending does not merit such an action.

The agency contended that such purchases generate significant fees for card companies.

"Hence, the practice of not offering mileage points for purchases made outside Korea for no rational reason should be annulled," the commission said.

Koreans' credit card spending overseas rose to $6.7 billion in 2008 from $3.6 billion in 2005, before slumping to $5.3 billion in 2009 because of the recession, according to the Bank of Korea.

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