Banking and Payment

Before Traveling to Korea

If you're planning to travel internationally, it's crucial to inform your bank beforehand to avoid any issues accessing your funds. Here's what you need to do:

  • Notify Your Bank: Inform your bank about your travel dates and destinations. This helps prevent any holds on your account due to suspicious activity.
  • Provide Contact Information: Give your bank your international contact details, including phone number and email address, so they can reach you if needed.
  • Ask About Fees and Exchange Rates: Inquire about any fees associated with using your card abroad and be aware of currency exchange rates to optimize your spending.
  • Confirm Receipt: Ensure your bank acknowledges your travel notification and provides any additional instructions or advice for using your card overseas.


International Credit Cards in Korea

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. 

We highly recommend informing your bank and credit card company of your travel. Otherwise, your transaction attempt might get denied and flagged as fraudulent activity.


Withdrawing Cash in Korea

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. Again, make sure to inform your bank and credit card company of your travel.

Not all ATMs accept cards that are not issued in Korea. May need to use a “Global ATM” (2nd floor of Honestar building behind Hyundai Premium outlet. It is close to "Hana Bank" and "Outback Stakehouse").

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. Use Western Union Branch Finder anr search for "Songdo-dong, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon, South Korea" to see the branches within the area.


Opening Bank Account in Korea

If you are planning to spend more than one semester at Mason Korea, we strongly recommend opening up a bank account in Korea. Opening up an account in Korea is essential if you are seeking paied work.

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. 

  1. Passport
  2. Certificate of Enrollment (issued by the Academic Affairs office)
  3. Alien Registration Card or Certificate of Alien Registration
  4. Proof of Residency (issued by IGC Housing or your landlord)
    * 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.

Mason Korea recommend students open up an account with Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK). Below is the informatin about the IBK branch close to the campus.

IBK Songdo Branch
12 Gaetbeol Ro 
Songdo Techno Park Branch 
Yeonsugu, Incheon 21999 


General Advice

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).



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.


Sales Tax

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.


Tip Culture

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.