Korea Post, the national postal carrier of South Korea, may enter the country's credit card market as early as next year, a top official for the country’s postal service said during a June 30 press conference.

The state-run agency first plans to issue debit cards, then apply with the Financial Supervisory Service for permission to issue credit cards before the end of this year, said Namgung Min, Korea Post president. “We will first launch debit cards to the public,” Min said. “As long as an account has a positive balance, a debit card can be issued to the account holder.”

Korea Post also serves as a nonbank financial-services provider in the country, serving a large audience, including many citizens in rural South Korea. It operates more than 3,700 branches across the country, and it has accumulated 44.3 trillion won (US$36.2 billion) in deposit-account holdings.

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