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Consumers in South Korea used debit and credit cards to spend 145.6 trillion won (US$145.1 billion or 91.2 billion euros) during the first half of this year, 21% more than the 120.8 trillion won they spent during the same period a year ago, according to the Seoul-based Credit Finance Association. Payments officials are attributing at least part of the increase to rising prices for gasoline and other daily necessities, according to press reports. In June, South Korean cardholders made purchases worth 24.2 trillion won, up 19% from 20.4 trillion won in June 2007, the association says

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