Money and Banking


It’s no secret that one of the most attractive benefits to working in Korea is the money. So, without further ado…

Banking is relatively easy in Korea despite the language barrier.

Upon arrival, your school will help you set up a bank account—probably within the first week or right before you get your first pay check.

Someone will take you down and help you with this. It is very important to note that you need to have an Alien Registration Card in order to open a bank account so those people who are thinking about teaching in Korea illegally, be careful.

Now that you know a bank account will be set up for you, your school will ensure your pay goes directly into your account on your agreed pay date. Most banks allow foreigners to have a debit card so you can pay for things at stores without needing to take out cash from an ATM. If you do need to use an ATM, almost all of them have an English option which is easy to follow.

Although Korea is probably the biggest user of credit cards in the world, it’s almost impossible for a foreigner to get a Korean credit card. If you have any credit cards from home you will have no problems using them even in the smallest of stores – Korea is card crazy!

How to send money home

The best way to send money home is to open a “Remittance Account” with KEB which is linked to your bank account back home. KEB (Korea Exchange Bank) branches are everywhere and they specialize in English service so don’t be afraid to approach a teller on your own as they will be able to assist. You can read more about this type of account by clicking here.

Once you have the account set up, all you have to do is transfer the amount of money you wish to send home from your checking account to your remittance account and it will automatically be sent to your home bank account! You can make this transfer from any ATM machine which makes sending money home an absolute breeze!

Fees usually range about $20 on both sides of the transaction for a total of $40 per wire. The Korean bank is charging the fee to send the money and your home bank will charge for receiving it. It’s best to plan your transfers so you can avoid paying fees on smaller wire transfers.

Exchange rates fluctuate daily but here is a good site to convert. Exchange rates can work in your favor or against you, depending on which way the markets are heading while you are here. Try to send the most money home when the Won is strong and the dollar is weak. It won’t always work out that you can do this, but it’s a good thing to try. As a general rule though, 1200 won is equivalent to $1.