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    Currency in South Korea KRW - Things to know

    Foreign exchange guide to South Korea and the South Korean won

    South Korea

    What currency is used in South Korea?

    The official currency of South Korea (country code: KR) is the South Korean won, with symbol and currency code KRW.

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    Things to know about the South Korean won

    The won replaced the South Korean hwan at an exchange rate of 1 hwan to 100 won in 1953 following the Korean war. The won is subdivided into 100 jeon.

    A single unit of won is worth little in comparison with the currencies of other advanced economies. Between 1990 and 2017, to buy a single US dollar always required at least ₩900. At points of major won weakness – December 1997 and March 2009 – buying a single US dollar required ₩1900 won and ₩1600 respectively.

    Given the almost worthless value of won and jeon coins, in 2017 the South Korean government began a trial with selected stores intended to move the country towards being a coinless society. These stores no longer return coins to customers but instead deposit the coins’ value onto prepaid cards, such as those used by South Koreans on public buses and trains.

    Despite the South Korean economy being larger than that of Australia and far larger than those of Switzerland and New Zealand, as well as being advanced, the won is considered a far riskier currency to hold than any of the FX ‘majors’ – a group which includes the Australian dollar, New Zealand dollar and Swiss franc.

    This is in large part due to the ever-present strain between North and South Korea, which frequently threatens to spill over into a military conflict. For this reason, the won’s value typically falls against these majors (especially the Japanese yen, Swiss franc, US dollar, euro and British pound) during periods of economic uncertainty or when global geopolitical risk is elevated, or during bouts of high market volatility.

    An example South Korean won banknote


    Travel money for South Korea

    Save money and time by Ordering your South Korean won online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the KRW cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.

    Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.

    For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in South Korean won otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.


    Travel Ideas and Money Tips for South Korea

    South Korea is a country in East Asia, located on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. It is bordered by North Korea to the north, the East China Sea to the east, the Yellow Sea to the west, and the Sea of Japan to the south. The capital and largest city is Seoul, with a population of over 10 million people.

    South Korea is a developed country with a high standard of living. It is home to some of the world's largest companies, such as Samsung and LG, and has a highly skilled workforce. The country is also known for its vibrant pop culture, which includes K-pop, K-dramas, and K-beauty.

    South Korea is an excellent destination for travelers and expats alike. It has something to offer everyone, from its lively cities to its stunning natural scenery.

    Best things to do and see in South Korea

    There are many things to do and see in South Korea. Here are some of the best:

    1. Visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)

    The DMZ is a 4-kilometer wide strip of land that runs along the border between North and South Korea. It is one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world.

    2. Tour the JSA (Joint Security Area)

    The JSA is the only place where North and South Korean soldiers stand face-to-face. It is located in the DMZ.

    3. Visit the Korean War Memorial

    The Korean War Memorial is located in Seoul. It is a tribute to the soldiers who fought in the Korean War.

    4. Tour the DMZ Museum

    The DMZ Museum is located in the DMZ. It is a Museum dedicated to the history of the DMZ.

    5. Visit the Seorak Mountain National Park

    The Seorak Mountain National Park is located in the Gangwon Province. It is one of the most beautiful places in South Korea.

    6. Tour the Namsan Tower

    The Namsan Tower is located in Seoul. It is a radio and television tower.

    7.Visit the Inje Speedium

    The Inje Speedium is a car racing track located in the Inje County. It is one of the most popular attractions in South Korea.

    8. Visit the Jeju Island

    The Jeju Island is a volcanic island located off the coast of South Korea. It is a popular tourist destination.

    9. Visit the Seoul Olympic Park

    The Seoul Olympic Park is located in Seoul. It was the site of the 1988 Summer Olympics.

    10. Visit the Bukchon Hanok Village

    The Bukchon Hanok Village is located in Seoul. It is a traditional Korean village.

    Top Travel tips for South Korea

    If you're planning a trip to South Korea, here are a few travel tips to help you make the most of your experience:

    1. Start your trip in Seoul, the country's capital and largest city. From here, you can easily explore the rest of the country by public transportation.

    2. South Korea is a very safe country to travel to, so don't hesitate to venture off the beaten path and explore.

    3. Be sure to try the local food! Korea is famous for its kimchi and BBQ, but there are many other delicious dishes to try as well.

    4. When shopping, haggling is expected and is a great way to get a good deal.

    5. Be aware of the language barrier and carry a travel dictionary with you. While many Koreans do speak some English, not all of them do.

    6. Be respectful of local customs and traditions. For example, take your shoes off when entering someone's home or a temple.

    7. Finally, enjoy your trip! South Korea is a beautiful country with a lot to offer.

    What's the best way to pay in South Korea?

    Contactless payments are becoming increasingly popular in South Korea. Many stores and restaurants will accept payments through Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, or Google Pay. Credit cards are also widely accepted, although you may be charged an additional fee for using one.

    While there are ATMs everywhere in big cities like Seoul, they can be sometimes hard to find in the villages, so if you plan to stray a little off the beaten path, be prepared to take plenty of local currency with you. Even in Seoul not all ATMs will work with foreign cards, be sure to check that it is specially marked for Global Cards. Mobil payments are wildly popular with the youth in South Korea. SO load your credit cards onto your smartphones and leave your credit cards back at the hotel when you go out in big cities. That said, always carry a bit of cash on you for tips or smaller restaurants and street food.


    USD/KRW Market Data

    The below interactive chart displays the USD/KRW change and UP📈 DOWN📉 trends over the past 1 Year.

    1 USD =
    1389.1We compare provider deals to this wholesale mid-market rate. Read more
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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What currency should I use in South Korea?

    The domestic currency in South Korea is the South Korean won.

    What is the South Korean won currency code and symbol?

    The three letter currency code for the South Korean won is KRW — symbol is .

    Which countries use the South Korean won?

    It is the domestic currency in    South Korea.

    Is the South Korean won a closed currency?

    No, the South Korean won is freely available and convertible. See guide: What is a closed currency?

    What are equivalent amounts of USD and KRW?

    Here are some popular conversion amounts for USD to KRW (US dollar to South Korean won)*.

    $ 1 1,389
    $ 5 6,946
    $ 10 13,891
    $ 20 27,782
    $ 50 69,455
    $ 100 138,910
    $ 250 347,275
    $ 500 694,550
    $ 1,000 1,389,100
    $ 2,000 2,778,200
    $ 5,000 6,945,500
    $ 10,000 13,891,000
    $ 20,000 27,782,000
    $ 50,000 69,455,000
    $ 100,000 138,910,000
    $ 0.0007 ₩ 1
    $ 0.0036 ₩ 5
    $ 0.0072 ₩ 10
    $ 0.0144 ₩ 20
    $ 0.0360 ₩ 50
    $ 0.0720 ₩ 100
    $ 0.1800 ₩ 250
    $ 0.3600 ₩ 500
    $ 0.7200 ₩ 1,000
    $ 1.4400 ₩ 2,000
    $ 3.6000 ₩ 5,000
    $ 7.2000 ₩ 10,000
    $ 14.40 ₩ 20,000
    $ 36.00 ₩ 50,000
    $ 72.00 ₩ 100,000

    More amounts

    *Converted at the current USDKRW interbank exchange rate. Calculate actual payout amounts for Send Money and Travel Money exchange rates.

    Send Money to South Korea - Best Rates

    To get a good (and fair) exchange rate when sending money to South Korea you need to find and compare exchange rates for International Money Transfers (IMTs).

    The available FX rates for sending money abroad can be very different to the mid-market (wholesale) rate which you see reported online and in the News.

    You should especially compare your own bank's exchange rates to those available from Money Transfer specialists to see how much you can save - we make that calculation easy in the below table.

    Get a better deal for foreign transfers to South Korea

    When sending money to South Korea it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 4 simple steps :

    1. Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
    2. You specify the local or South Korean won amount you want to transfer
    3. Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
    4. Once your funds are received by the provider the converted KRW amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in South Korea.

    Use the above calculator to compare the exchange rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more South Korean won deposited into the recipient bank account and less margins and fees kept by the banks!


    Expat Money & Business Guide to South Korea

    Managing your money effectively while living and working abroad can be challenging, but there are several steps you can take to ensure that your finances are in order.

    By following these tips and managing your money effectively, you can reduce financial stress and enjoy your experience living or doing business in South Korea.

    How is the cost of living in South Korea?

    The cost of living in South Korea is relatively high when compared to other countries in Asia. In terms of transportation, food, and accommodation, South Korea is more expensive than China, Japan, and Thailand. However, it is important to note that the cost of living in South Korea varies depending on the city. Seoul, the capital city, is known for its high cost of living, while smaller cities and rural areas are generally more affordable.

    What are the limits to foreigners when buying Property in South Korea?

    There are no limits when acquiring property but you are required to register your purchase to local authorities within 60 days.

    Purchases are subject to 10% VAT and 2% Acquisition fee.

    Agents charge fees roughly between 0.4 - 0.9%.

    How is the expat life in South Korea?

    There is a large expat community in South Korea, and many people find the expat life to be enjoyable. There are plenty of things to do and see, and the food is excellent. The cost of living can be high, but it is possible to find affordable housing and transportation.

    Any laws in South Korea that foreigners should be aware of?

    All foreigners are required to carry their passport at all times. In addition, foreigners are required to register with the local immigration office within 90 days of arrival.

    What is doing business like in South Korea?

    South Korea is a very competitive market, so businesses have to be innovative and offer unique products and services to be successful. There is a lot of competition for consumers' attention and businesses need to stand out to be successful. There is also a lot of regulation in South Korea, so businesses need to be familiar with the relevant laws and regulations.

    How is the economy in South Korea?

    The economy of South Korea is a highly developed mixed economy dominated by family-owned conglomerates called chaebols. The South Korean economy is the 4th largest in Asia and the 11th largest in the world.

    Managing your finances in South Korea

    Here we list some key points for expats and businesses to consider when managing financial dealings in South Korea:

    1. Understand South Korean won currency exchange rates: Exchange rates can have a big impact on your finances, so it is important to keep an eye on the KRW exchange rate and consider using a currency exchange service or a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees to get the best exchange rate.

    2. Use a local South Korean won bank account: A local KRW bank account can make it easier for you to manage your finances and pay bills while you are in South Korea. It may also be more convenient to use a local KRW bank account to make purchases and withdraw cash.

    3. Research local laws and regulations: It is important to understand the local laws and regulations that apply to financial transactions in South Korea. This can help you avoid legal issues and ensure that you are complying with local requirements.

    4. Consider the tax implications: It is important to understand the tax implications of living or doing business in South Korea. This can help you plan your finances and ensure that you are paying the correct amount of tax.

    5. Seek financial advice: If you are unsure of how to manage your finances in South Korea, it is a good idea to seek the advice of a financial professional who is familiar with the local financial system. This can help you make informed decisions and avoid financial pitfalls.


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