Banking in South Korea
|Go to:||» Opening an Account||» Types of Accounts||» South Korean Currency||» Credit Cards||» Sending Money Home|
Find out here about the different accounts suitable for expats in South Korea, available banking services and fees.
Opening a bank account in South Korea
As a foreigner, it is vital to have a bank account if you plan on making money or spending a lot of it. Also, if you want to transfer your earnings to your home bank, it is more efficient to use local banking services rather than going through companies such as Western Union or MoneyGram.
Luckily, opening up a bank account in Korea is incredibly easy! The process is very short and begins by filling out a bank application form and verifying your travel documents. Assuming there are no problems you will walk out that day with a new bank account!
Citibank Korea, Korea Exchange Bank, Woori Bank and Hana Bank are Korea’s largest banks and all have experience working with foreign clients. They will be more sensitive to your needs and may even have translators on-site or documents in languages other than Korean. However, if you do have a friend who can speak Korean it may prove helpful to have him/her accompany you, just in case.
When applying for a local bank account you will be required to present the following documents:
- Certificate of Alien registration
Types of Bank Accounts
There are several different types of bank accounts available to citizens and foreigners alike. Most accounts do not require a minimum balance nor do they charge any fees to maintain one.
than in the pig!
These accounts work the same in South Korea as in most other countries. The client deposits money at the rate he/she desires and the bank offers interest as an incentive to save. Generally, the longer the term of commitment the higher the interest rate will be. For shorter-term accounts, the interest rates are fairly low for savings accounts (about 2%-4%).
A time deposit account works more like a checking account. Some banks do offer interest on time deposits, but they are generally lower than savings accounts.
This account requires the client to make monthly installments/payments to the bank for interest. At maturity, the client will have made a profit. This works like a Certificate of Deposit, except the money does not have to be paid up front but in monthly deposits.
Within a couple weeks of signing up for an account you will receive a bankbook to record your transactions and a bank card. The bank card is strictly an ATM card to withdraw money from any ATM machine. It cannot be used to charge purchases to your account.
Services, Fees & Interest
The beauty about most Korean bank accounts is the lack of service fees that they charge. So don’t get sucked into paying extra fees because it is likely that you won’t have to anywhere else.
If you would like to make some interest on your account, the best route to take would be a savings account or an installment account. Interest is generally between 2% and 4% and can be paid at varying periods of time (annually, semi-annually, monthly, etc).
Depending on which bank you sign up with, you may be offered tax benefits. Rates vary between banks and types of accounts. For example, Korean Exchange Bank charges 10.5% for taxes on a Time Deposit account.
South Korean Won (KRW)
The country’s official currency is the Won. Notes are in denominations of KRW 10,000, 5,000 and 1,000. KRW 1,000. Coins are in denominations of KRW 500, 100, 50 and 10.