Should I exchange money before I travel to Korea? If you’re contemplating traveling to Korea, it’s important to be aware of the costs of exchanging currency or buying money in advance. There are a few things to keep in mind before making your decision.
In this post, Lucia Grilli will figure out whether you should exchange money before you go. We will also provide South Korean currency exchange instructions for you.
Should I exchange money before I travel to Korea?
It’s not always better to exchange before you fly. Purchasing KRW before leaving home is not really necessary. It is better to exchange your local currency to Korean won when you are already in Korea than to exchange in your country.
A Detailed look at the Korean Won
If you’re thinking about traveling to Korea, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the Korean won. The Korean Won is the currency that’s used in Korea. There are a few things to keep in mind when using the Korean Won:
1. The currency is divided into 100 jeon. This means that each KRW is worth one hundred won.
2. The KRW can be exchanged at official banks and exchange houses. However, some places may also be willing to exchange money for you if you have travelers cheques or other negotiable instruments.
3. When making a purchase, always check the price in Korean won as well as in the local currency. This way, you’ll know exactly what your bill will cost you in both currencies.
As you can see, it’s important to be familiar with the Korean won if you’re planning on traveling to Korea.
South Korea’s favored and least-favored currencies
There are a few currencies that are especially popular in Korea. These include the US dollar, Taiwan dollar, Hong Kong dollar, and Japanese Yen.
At major Korean banks and money exchanges, you can change most currencies into Korean won. Some currencies, such as those of Chile, Cuba, Iraq, Libya, and others, are not exchanged by Korean banks. This is why we suggest exchanging them into US dollars or Euros before you go.
South Korean currency exchange instructions
If you’re looking to exchange money in South Korea, here are a few guidelines. One can exchange currency at the airport, hotels, banks, or currency exchange counters.
Online KRW purchases
Uncomplicating travel security may be as simple as ordering your financial resources online. Money orders can be transferred to a convenient location, or delivered directly to your doorstep.
ATM machines in South Korea
ATMs usually only accept local currencies such as the KRW, Won, or US Dollars. However, there are a few ATMs that accept international bank cards, such as Visa and Mastercard.
Make sure that the bills you want to exchange at an ATM are the same size as the bills the machine will accept. For example, if you’re exchanging won at an ATM that only accepts won denominations of 500 and 1000 won, insert both 500 and 1000 won notes.
If you don’t have any notes of the correct denomination, you can exchange money at a bank or money exchanger.
Banks that deal in South Korean currency
When you need to convert your home currency into Korean won, visit a bank or authorized exchange service center. Banks usually offer the best exchange rates.
Banks in South Korea are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., on Saturday. Money exchangers are also open during these times, but they may be open later in some areas.
Be sure to have your passport and visa ready when you go to exchange money. You may also be asked to show your driver’s license or other identification.
Banks: 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; closed weekends and national holidays.
As cited in www.trade.gov
A guide to using your bank card in South Korea to exchange money
Using credit cards
South Korea accepts all major credit cards; however, if you’re going to rural areas or smaller establishments, bring cash.
Several credit cards offer travel insurance, loyalty points, and protection for frequent travelers. However, using the card abroad incurs excessive fees, including:
- International fees
- High margins
- ATM fees
- ATM “cash advance” costs
Using debit or prepaid cards
Debit cards are easy to use in South Korean cities since young folks use mobile and contactless technology. Remember to check your credit card company’s offer. This avoids hefty costs for overseas ATM withdrawals and foreign transactions.
Incheon International Airport
This is the best place to exchange your money while you’re in Korea. There are many banks and currency exchangers located inside the airport, and they’re easy to find.
If you’re not flying into Incheon International Airport, there are a few other good options for currency exchange. You can try exchanging your money at one of the major banks in Seoul or at one of the numerous currency exchangers located throughout the country.
Travellers cheques are a good option if you’re not interested in exchanging money. Most banks in Korea will cash travellers cheques, and there are usually no surcharges for this service.
As you can see, it’s important to be familiar with the Korean Won if you’re planning on traveling to Korea. Make sure to learn about Korea’s common currencies and exchange rates.
WOW exchange money transfer
Myeongdong is home to several currency exchange shops. However, if you’re on the run and need a quick fix for your foreign cash, Seoul boasts an automated service called WOW Exchange.
These convenient machines are located around the city; just in case you don’t have time or inclination to visit Myeongdong Street!
The best locations in South Korea for currency exchange
Locations for exchanging money in Seoul
This is the most popular place to exchange your money while you’re in Seoul. You can exchange money here if you’re already going to Myeongdong or if you find you need extra money while traveling. Due to the wide range of possibilities, many travelers convert money in Myeongdong.
The Money Box in Myeongdong
Address: 52-1 Namdaemun-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
This is a convenient location if you want to exchange your money without leaving the comfort of your own surroundings. You can find the Money Box at the top of Myeongdong Street.
Money exchange in Myeongdong Ilpumhyang
Address: B1, 105 Myeongdong 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
If you’re looking for a more authentic experience, you can try exchanging your money at one of the many small money exchangers in Myeongdong. These are usually located near other popular tourist destinations.
The “Embassy Exchange” in Myeongdong
Address: 26 Myeongdong 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
If you’re a diplomat or have official business in Korea, this is the perfect place to exchange your money. You can find the Embassy Exchange at number 26 on Myeongdong Street.
Jeil Money Express
Address: 85-6 Myeongdong 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
This is a convenient place to exchange your money if you’re in central Seoul.
Money exchanges in Busan
Busan is a great place to visit if you want to experience the local culture. Because of this, many people exchange their money while they’re in Busan.
The best place to exchange your money in Busan is probably at one of the many banks located in the city. You can also try exchanging your money at Nampo Station on Busan Metro Line 1, Exit 7.
Locations offering currency exchange in Daegu
“Daesin Currency Exchange” and “Daemi Currency Exchange” are popular with tourists. They’re close on weekends. Before heading over there, it is advisable to confirm their operation schedule in advance; make sure to phone ahead in case they’re not available!
Places in Cheongju where you may change money
The Shinhan Bank Currency Exchange at the Cheongju Airport is right next to Gate 3. Their operating hours are 9:00–16:00 only when international flights make an appearance.
FAQs Should I exchange money before I travel to Korea?
Where to swap dollars for Korean won?
Exchanging your money to South Korean Won prior to your trip would be ideal. However, you can also exchange currency at any of the South Korean banks. Banks or approved exchange service centers can convert foreign currencies into Korean won. EVERRICH Bank is open 09:30–16:30 on weekdays.
Where’s Korea’s best exchange rate?
Myeongdong exchange counters offer Seoul’s finest prices. Compare rates if you’re changing a lot. Banks are everywhere. In tourist areas like Myeongdong and Itaewon, Shinhan, Woori, and KEB banks feature foreign exchange counters.
Is exchanging money in Korea better than in the US?
Korea offers the greatest exchange rates! Because you’ll need cash right away, carry your native currency to Korea and exchange part of it at the airport.
Does First Hawaiian Bank offer currency exchange services?
We trade all the main currencies and some exotics. If available, currency will arrive at the branch in two business days.
The best time of the year to travel to South Korea is in November as opposed to June. Before you travel to Korea, it may be a good idea to exchange your currency. Otherwise, you can still exchange money in South Korea.
You can find a number of exchanges in the city where you are staying. Just be aware that some exchanges may have higher fees than others. Gonseekorea.com recommends that you bring your home currency to Korea and exchange some of it at the airport first.