Value added network (VAN) operators in South Korea saw their earnings drop nearly 6 percent in the first half of the year due to increased costs of replacing credit card readers and terminals, the financial watchdog said Thursday.
The combined net profit of 13 VAN operators came to 91.6 billion won (US$81.6 million) in the January-June period, down 6.1 percent from a year earlier, according to the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).
VAN operators refer to companies that approve and relay credit card settlements, install credit card readers and terminals, and recruit and manage card-accepting merchants.
The drop in the first-half bottom line was attributed mainly to a rise in the cost of replacing credit card readers and terminals, with their operating expenses reaching 1.03 trillion won during the six-month period.
Their total operating revenue came to 1.13 trillion won in the first half, up 9.7 percent from the same period a year ago.
The VAN operators processed 8.1 billion credit card transactions in the first half, with their affiliate merchants and card terminals reaching 2.54 million and 3.06 million as of end-June, respectively.
The FSS said it is stepping up monitoring of VAN operators' financial health due to their worsening profitability. (Yonhap)