Using a South Korean Bank Account

Find out about the products and services available from banks in South Korea, plus bank opening times...

Types of bank accounts in South Korea

  • Savings Account - customers use this account to deposit money for saving purposes. In most cases, the longer the commitment, the higher the interest rate
  • Time Deposit Account - similar to a cheque account. Some banks offer interest, but the rates are lower than on savings accounts
  • Installment Account - customers make monthly payments to the bank, which attract interest. When the account matures, the customer will have made a profit

Once an account has been opened, the customer receives a bank book and bank card.

Bank cards in South Korea

Most foreigners have a card for domestic use only. Many cards have an international access symbol on the back, but this is misleading and the card cannot be used outside of South Korea. Foreigners can apply for international ATM access at their bank.

There are three types of bank cards:

  1. Cash Cards - used at an ATM for deposits and withdrawals within the balance of the account. They cannot be used as a debit card to make purchases.
  2. Credit Cards - can be used to make purchases up to the balance of the customer's credit limit. Unlike in many western countries, the balance must be paid in full every month on a designated day. Failure to pay off the amount means that credit is unavailable until the balance is paid.
  3. Debit Cards - can be used like a cash card, but can also used to make purchases up to the balance of the account. The purchase amount is immediately withdrawn from the account. Spending is limited to the balance of the account.

International credit cards

Major credit cards (American Express, Diner's Club, MasterCard, Visa) are accepted at many high-end restaurants, malls, consumer goods stores, and service businesses.

Some ATMs also allow cash withdrawals on these cards.

Bank cheques

Bank cheques are not personalised and are used much like cash. They are accepted by larger businesses and banks (with proper self-identification), and they can be used as cash when deposited at an ATM.

Bank cheques are available at an ATM in 100,000 won denominations, and from a bank in 100,000 to 10,000,000 won denominations.

Online banking

Requests for online banking can be made at the time an account is opened.

A certificate which limits account access to an individual computer is issued when first using an online account. A user may avoid limited access by using a USB drive when installing the certificate, which allows the user to access their account from any computer (as long as the user has the USB with them at the time).

Depending on the bank, online services may be available in English.

Banking Hours

Banks are generally open from Monday to Friday from 09:00-16:00 (or 16:30).