1 Million Cancel Credit Cards After Data Leak

A massive data leak from KB Kookmin, NH Nonghyup and Lotte credit card companies has prompted at least one million customers to cancel their cards on Monday morning. The run caused the firms' websites to crash and flooded their phone lines with calls.

Some 352,000 customers of NH Nonghyup canceled their cards, while another 313,000 suspended their plastic and 238,000 registered for new cards.

KB Kookmin saw 87,000 customers request new cards and Lotte Card 36,000. The two companies declined to say how many customers cancelled or suspended their cards, but the number is likely to be substantial.

A customer service center at Lotte Department Store in Seoul is crowded with credit card holders asking for new cards on Monday. A customer service center at Lotte Department Store in Seoul is crowded with credit card holders asking for new cards on Monday.

As panic spread among card holders, management at KB Kookmin, NH Nonghyup and Lotte in a joint press conference pledged to "fully compensate" customers for any losses they suffer due to the data leak.

Financial authorities, meanwhile, decided to toughen penalty payments imposed on the three card companies.

Some 130 card holders filed a W110 million (US$1=W1,064) class-action lawsuit with the Seoul Central District Court on Monday. They are demanding W600,000 per plaintiff.

Meanwhile, the presidents of KB Kookmin, NH Nonghyup and Lotte credit card all resigned on Monday.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 21, 2014 12:05 KST