Discover Financial Services (DFS) has entered into an agreement with BC Card, a Korean payment network.

According to the Korea Tourism Organization, the long-term arrangement will result in increased transaction volume on the Discover Network, Diners Club and Pulse networks outside of Korea, where Korean cardholders spent $12.6bn in 2008 on international expenditures.

System interoperability is expected to be active by late this year, when BC Card members will start issuing cards under this agreement.

Diane Offereins, executive vice president of payment services at Discover Financial Services, said: “This agreement marks another expansion of Discover’s growing global network, connecting more merchants and ATMs with more cardholders throughout the world. Expanded BC Card acceptance will increase transaction volume on all of our networks and provide global access to our new partner, BC Card.”

Chang Hyung-duk, president and CEO of BC Card, said: “Our new alliance with Discover opens the door to providing BC Card customers with more opportunities to make purchases and access cash around the world, especially in the US. These robust network capabilities deliver growth opportunities for our issuers and new value for our cardholders.”

In the past few years, Discover Financial Services also has entered into strategic alliances with China UnionPay and JCB. These alliances provide valuable access to Discover’s acceptance footprint and deliver value and volume to merchants and partners.

DFS is a credit card issuer and electronic payment services company. DFS offers student and personal loans, as well as savings products such as certificates of deposit and money market accounts. Its payments businesses consist of Discover Network, with merchant and cash access locations, Pulse, an ATM/debit networks and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in more than 185 countries and territories.