The Best and Worst Korean Banks to Travel With

By Kate.


I have been traveling and living abroad for about 3 years now and I have learned some pretty costly lessons in the process. One of those lessons taught me that I should double check that my bankcard will work abroad before heading off on holiday.

In 2014 I went to Thailand for the first time. Before I left I went to NongHyup (NH), after making a few calls and fiddling on their computer they assured me that I could use my card without hassles.

Yeah. About that. It turned out that I couldn’t withdrawal cash for the entire month that I was away. Luckily I had brought some cash with me to last a week or two, and I was able to borrow money from my boyfriend at the time.

This year I went on my first holiday alone, which meant that if I ran into any financial trouble I would be royally f*cked.

I opened up a KEB account and can honestly say they are hands down the best Korean bank to travel with. I got a text message every time I made a cash withdrawal so I was able to keep an eye on my spending, and be alerted to any suspicious activities.

If you would like to open up a KEB account and use your card overseas take the following steps:

  1. Call the helpline and find out what your nearest branch needs you to bring (Usually it’s just your ARC, passport and contract).
  2. When you set up your account make sure it’s been registered under the Foreign Exchange Regulations AND your card has been approved for international use.

Top Tip: Always have a back-up plan. Leave a bank card/bank book with a trusted friend just in case you run into trouble. Before you leave double check that everything works properly. I left both my bank books with Div, however, there was a glitch with my NH bank book and she couldn’t use it.

We would love to hear from you, do you have any banking tips or similar stories?


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