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Foreign Exchange Guide to South Korea

Read this currency guide to South Korea with money transfer and travel tips.   [USD/KRW=1132.2287]

South Korea
Country Code:
Domestic Currency:
South Korean Won
Symbol - Code:
Telephone Prefix:

This is a foreign exchange guide to South Korea, the South Korean Won currency plus KRW transfers and travel tips.

In this South Korea currency guide we take a look at :

  1. South Korean Won info - general info about the South Korean Won
  2. South Korean Won in the markets - recent KRW moves and predictions from the FX markets
  3. Travelling in South Korea - currency & money saving tips
  4. Buying South Korean Won cash online - travel money for South Korea
  5. Sending money to South Korea - save on South Korean Won bank transfers to South Korea
  6. South Korean Won exchange rates - latest & historic exchange rates.

South Korean Won (KRW) general currency information

What is the South Korean Won currency code and symbol?

The three letter currency code for the South Korean Won is KRW and the symbol is .

Which countries use the South Korean Won?

It is the domestic currency in South Korea.

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.

South Korean Won (KRW) in the markets

26-November-18: The South Korean won likes to trade in ranges. Since July it has been contained, for the most part, between 1110 and 1140 to the dollar. The current range developed after June’s violent break from the previous range that existed between 1060 and 1085 in the first half of the year, and that range preceded a sharp break from yet another range that developed in 2017.

At the time of writing, the won had bettered many Asian currencies with a year-to-date loss of only 5.6 percent versus the dollar (unchanged against the euro). While this appears favourable for the won, it puts the currency at risk of underperforming in the coming half-year.

HSBC said in October that any intensification in US-China trade tensions could weigh heavily on the won. Trade tensions act to reduce the risk appetite of investors and to lower expectations for Chinese economic growth, which greatly affects the broader Asia-Pac region.

The interactive chart below shows the USD to KRW exchange rate for the previous 3 months with rate alerts for days when the exchange rate moved up or down significantly or for 30 day highs and lows.

USD-KRW 3 Month chart
Loading USD/KRW Chart
USDKRW currency converter

Travel, Currency and Money saving tips for South Korea


South Korea is known to be a wonderful destination, the locals are welcoming, the countryside serene, and the cities high paced. The countryside ranges from spectacular mountains to tranquil villages. There is even the possibility to sail to remote islands. The countries capital is Seoul, a stunning round-the-clock city filled to the brim, where the ancient palaces and modern marvels stand side by side.

South Korea’s compact size and superb transport infrastructure mean that tranquillity is always within easy reach of urban sprawl. Hike to the summits of craggy mountains – some of which transform into ski slopes come winter – enveloped within densely forested national parks. Get further off the beaten path than you thought possible by sailing to remote islands, where farming and fishing folk welcome you into their homes or simple seafood cafes.

What currency is used in Soth Korea?

Withdrawing money at an ATM or paying with credit card will always work in Korea. Some ATM's do not take foreign cards. But most ATM's in subway stations, convenience stores and major hotels always accept foreign credit cards and also foreign language options. Korea Exchange Bank (KEB) always have ATM's that accept foreign cards and menu in English.

South Korea uses the T-money card to streamline payments for busses, taxis and the subway. Just recently they extended those payments for retail and restaurants, making it the most popular way to pay your way in South Korea. Like a debit card, it’s connected to your bank and makes automatic withdrawals each time you make a payment. You can use the T-money card on your smartphone, making payments as easy as a tap of your phone. From 2016–2018. South Korea is promoting travel with it’s Korea Tour Card. For less than $4, it’s offered to tourists for all the benefits of the T-money card, but with additional discounts to tourist attractions and shopping.

The best way to bring money into Korea is exchanging your local currency into US Dollars or Euro. You can exchange most currencies into Korean won via any major banks or money exchangers in Korea. However, you may have trouble exchanging some particular currencies (e.g. Chile, Cuba, Iraq, Libya, etc.) as local banks in Korea do not provide exchange service for those particular currencies.

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.

Getting around in South Korea?

There are plenty of Taxis and subway stations so getting around this energetic city is not a problem.

For getting around locally South Korea has very good public transport so feel free to grab a map and have a look around with the locals. The Korean government promotes cycling as a green and healthy means of transport. Seoul’s metropolitan government has expanded cycling infrastructure in the city, including its own city bike scheme, Seoul Bike (www.bikeseoul.com), which visitors can use.

For longer trips there are about a dozen different local airlines offering flights, the busiest air route being between Jeju Island and Seoul-Gimpo airport, so much so that there seems to be a flight every 10 minutes. The cheapest flights were offered by Jeju Air, Air Busan (a subsidiary of Asiana) , Eastar Jet and Jin Air.

To book with all these airlines, you need to look on their own website to find their timetable, and then try and make a booking. These are all low cost, no frills airlines and they have a very low hand baggage allowance and you need to pay for any hold luggage you may have. The fast trains are the KTX system. The KTX service is a premium service so this is bound to be pricier than taking the slower train options.


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.


South Korea Trip Checklist    

  1. Compare KRW travel cash rates - probably why you are here!
  2. Search Hotel deals - Save on your accomodation in South Korea
  3. Lonely Planet - world's best travel guide (coupon and deals)

Sending money to South Korea

When searching around for information on how to get a good exchange rate when sending money to South Korea you need to start with finding out the latest South Korean Won foreign-transfer exchange rate.

Then compare your bank's exchange rates to several licensed FX providers exchange rate and fees to see how much you can save (we make that calculation easy here).

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%.

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 our Send to KRW 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!


Bank Transfers to South Korea

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Popular KRW cross rates

KRW/USD - South Korean Won to United States Dollar - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriod
02 Dec 20180.0008941 Week
09 Nov 20180.0008841 Month
12 Jun 20180.0009266 Months
09 Dec 20170.0009151 Year
09 Dec 20160.0008582 Years
10 Dec 20130.0009505 Years
11 Dec 20080.00073610 Years

KRW/EUR - South Korean Won to Euro - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriod
02 Dec 20180.0007891 Week
09 Nov 20180.0007801 Month
12 Jun 20180.0007886 Months
09 Dec 20170.0007771 Year
09 Dec 20160.0008122 Years
10 Dec 20130.0006905 Years
11 Dec 20080.00055410 Years

KRW/GBP - South Korean Won to British Pound Sterling - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriod
02 Dec 20180.0007011 Week
09 Nov 20180.0006821 Month
12 Jun 20180.0006926 Months
09 Dec 20170.0006841 Year
09 Dec 20160.0006822 Years
10 Dec 20130.0005785 Years
11 Dec 20080.00049310 Years

KRW/JPY - South Korean Won to Japanese Yen - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriod
02 Dec 20180.10181 Week
09 Nov 20180.10071 Month
12 Jun 20180.10226 Months
09 Dec 20170.10391 Year
09 Dec 20160.09862 Years
10 Dec 20130.09775 Years
11 Dec 20080.067510 Years

KRW/AUD - South Korean Won to Australian Dollar - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriod
02 Dec 20180.0012131 Week
09 Nov 20180.0012231 Month
12 Jun 20180.0012226 Months
09 Dec 20170.0012191 Year
09 Dec 20160.0011512 Years
10 Dec 20130.0010395 Years
11 Dec 20080.00109810 Years

KRW/CAD - South Korean Won to Canadian Dollar - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriod
02 Dec 20180.0011861 Week
09 Nov 20180.0011691 Month
12 Jun 20180.0012056 Months
09 Dec 20170.0011761 Year
09 Dec 20160.0011312 Years
10 Dec 20130.0010085 Years
11 Dec 20080.00090810 Years

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