Money generally moves in Korea through bank transfers or via cash transactions. Koreans do not 'write cheques' as may happen in your home countries. Instead, payments are made through bank transfers (money is 'wired' from one local account to another).
If you do not have a Korean account, you will not be able to receive payments. However, you will be able to make them. It is not necessary to have a bank account to move money into someone else's account. The transactions can be done by tellers in any Korean bank - not necessarily the one to which the payment is going.
CREDIT CARDS ISSUED OVERSEAS can be used in Korea with most merchants, although Korean credit cards are often required for online purchases. You must continue to make payments on your overseas credit card to your own country’s card issuer. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted networks in South Korea.
International students, who are planning to spend more than one semester at Mason Korea, are strongly recommended to open up a bank account in Korea. To open a bank account, students can visit a local bank branch near campus in Korea with legal identification.
Non-Korean passport holders are permitted to open one bank account in Korea and are required to submit the following documents.
Note: All D-2 (Student Visa-holders) will have an ATM/Transfer withdrawal limit of 300,000 Korean won per day. The withdrawal limit does not affect online payments or card payments.
IBK Songdo Branch
12 Gaetbeol Ro
Songdo Techno Park Branch
Yeonsugu, Incheon 21999
Many international students choose to withdraw cash by using their international credit cards. Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted networks in South Korea.
You may also use Western Union to have access to cash from your international bank. You must transfer the funds from your home country prior to your arrival in Korea to pick up the cash at a Western Union branch in Korea. The closest Western Union is located at the Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) branch near campus. More information: Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK)
The monetary unit of Korea is Won (KRW). Korean currency consists of 10, 50, 100 and 500 won coins, and 1,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 50,000 won notes. KRW 1,000 is close to USD 1. Most bank offices you find on the street offer currency exchange.
A Value-Added Tax (VAT) is levied on most goods and services at a standard rate of 10% and is usually included in the retail price.
Tipping in South Korea isn’t customary, and is therefore not expected or an obligation. In fact, it is not uncommon for staff to politely refuse a tip if the establishment doesn’t accept gratuity. You won’t offend someone by not tipping, but there are times when a small token of appreciation is welcome, such as in Western-influenced businesses or when hotel services are exemplary.