South Korean credit card issuer BC Card has announced plans to establish a joint venture with a Kyrgyz state-run payment provider. The joint venture, called BC Card Kyrgyzstan (BCKG), will offer a unified card payment processing service in Kyrgyzstan. BCKG will be set up in Kyrgyzstan’s capital city, Bishkek, in collaboration with Korean payment services firm Smartro and Kyrgyz state-run payment provider Interbank Processing Center (IPC). BC Card CEO Choi Won-seok stated that BCKG will drive payment innovation in Kyrgyzstan and serve as a stepping stone for digital payment transformation in neighboring Central Asian countries. BCKG’s total capital value is 1.044 billion som ($11.88 million), with BC Card holding a 52.5 percent share, and IPC and Smartro sharing 30 percent and 17.5 percent shares respectively. Currently, Kyrgyzstan’s payment infrastructure is segregated by banks, resulting in inconvenience for merchants and limited acceptance of card payments. However, non-cash payments are increasing, with total card usage reaching $9.96 million by the end of 2022. The joint venture will aim to establish a unified payment system, provide various payment methods, and offer customized services using Smartro’s technology. The agreement to form the joint venture was signed on Friday, following a memorandum of understanding signed in May.
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