Travelling in South Korea 🇰🇷


Read First

This is but a single section of a multi-part guide to travelling across the world! It’ll inform you of everything from the currency that is used in the country, the currency symbol to the card usage and advice on what ATM’s that you should be using. I will also try to incorporate any popular specific mechants. All information should have an accuracy date that covers the section.

This guide assumes that you are using one of the Neobanks that give you a mid-market rate when it comes to money exchanges, and that they don’t charge you massive amounts foreign-ATM withdrawals. (Starling et al)

Obviously, using the information you find in this guide is at your own risk and I shall accept no liability.

Relevant Information

  • Korea uses the South Korean Won (Korean: 원)
  • ISO 4217 Currency Code: KRW
  • Symbol:
  • Prices can be written as1000 and 1000원

Card Usage

South Korea is pretty good when it comes to card, with most merchants accepting it, both Visa and MasterCard (I’m unsure about Maestro). As usual opt to be billed in the local currency, as opposed to allowing them to do the dynamic currency conversion (DCC) for you!

I would still recommend withdrawing some cash for the merchants that don’t accept it, this is a general rule for any country though, you should be carrying cash as a backup incase of a fault in your payment network or bank. Remember you may be subject to charge by banks after you pass a certain limit.

From what I have been reading most transactions over there are done using magstripe, so order a new card in advance if your one is looking beaten up, and ensure that you enable your card for magstripe payments and ATM withdrawals in advance. If you can get a local SIM, I would switch it off after each transaction to avoid magstripe cloning, although I’ve seen no evidence that this is rampant in South Korea.


Here’s some South Korea specific information that you might find handy!

  • The ATMs in South Korea typically allow you to choose a language
  • They’re normally located inside of branches
  • As with actual card payments, they typically use magstripe
  • Use proper bank ones marked differently to the others, as these will be the global ones, ones at convenience stores aren’t likely to work.

There will be (Free) in brackets if there is no charge for the ATM usage, and there will be prices in brackets if there are known prices. If I am unsure there will be no prices in brackets. If there are any notes about specific bank ATMs, I will also put them within these brackets, separated by a comma.

  • Shinan Bank (Korean: 신한은행) (Free)
  • KB Star (Korean: KB국민은행) (Free)
  • Korea Exchange Bank (Korean: 한국외환은행) (3000-3600 won, unsure)
  • Woori (Korean: 우리은행) (3000-3600 won, unsure)
  • IBK (Korean: 기업은행) (3000, 3600 won, unsure)
  • Standard Chartered (Korean: SC제일은행) (3000-3600 won, unsure)

Merchant Data

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Disclaimer: The information in this guide was acquired from numerous sources and is often not of my own experiences

Date of Accuracy: 18/11/2018