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Korean Currency

Korean Currency

Korean currency comes in coins and bills. The government recently introduced a new design for bills and for some coins. The bills are now smaller and the colours are different.

Size: The higher the denomination, the larger the bill. Previously, all bills were the same size.

Korean won is indicated by KRW or W with a bar through it. You will also see 'won' written after the amount.

Money is calculated by multiples of 10. For example, W20,000 is stated as 2 x 10,000, while W200,000 is 20 x 10,000, etc)


           W1,000  - old style: pinkish               new design: bright blue*

           W5,000 -  old style: brown                 new design: brown

           W10,000 -  old style: green               new design: bright green

           W50,000                                         introduction 23 June 2009: yellowish

- Bills contain dots for the blind.

- Koreans have not traditionally used a comma when writing amounts and so the denominations are written as 10000, 5000 and 1000 (and in June, 50000)

- Larger W50,000 and W100,000 bills have been announced. Although the W50,000 note will be released in June 2009, the higher denomination has been put on indefinite hold. The 50,000 won bill features Shin Saimdang, a renowned female writer and painter of the middle of the Joseon period (1392-1910). She was famous as the mother of Yulgok, one of Korea’s most respected 16th-century Confucian scholars. The banknote itself is equipped with the latest anti-forgery measures, including holograms and optical variable ink.

The new W1,000 (chon won) and new W10,000 (man won) - introduced in 2007 -are still being confused one for the other because of the similarily of the green and blue colours in a dim light.

- Both old and new bills can still be used, although machines may no longer accept the older (larger) notes.

COINS are W10, W50, W100 and W500. The W10 coin is being replaced by a smaller lighter version. 
(Note: Koreans generally do not like to receive the 10 won coin unless it the amount owed is, for example, W5520. They generally don't like to be given W3000 in coins either.)

 MANAGERS CHECKS can be used in lieu of bills if you don’t want to carry around bags full of money.

  •  A manager’ check is issued by the bank
  • The standard denomination is W100,000.
  •  It is possible to have other denominations created by the bank for a small fee.
  •  When you withdraw money from an ATM, many will ask if you want cash or checks or both. If the amount you are taking is W700,000 and you choose checks, you will receive 7 checks. If you want both, you will be asked how many of each, so you could get 5 checks and W200,000 in cash.
  •  Manager’ checks are more or less like cash. If stolen or lost, they are like cash. However, when cashing them, the regulations state that you must write your name and contact details on the bank of the check. Some businesses may charge a small fee for processing the check - especially if you are cashing it in a city other than where it was issued.
  •   Cashing a manager’s check is often best done at a store/business you know.
  •  If you use a check to make a purchase, you will receive the change/balance in cash. You do not have to spend the entire amount at once.
  •  If you deposit a manager’s check at a bank, there might be a delay in crediting your account.

         - If you are depositing/cashing it at the same bank from which it was issued, it may be credited almost immediately. However, if you want cash, you may have to wait a little.

        - If you are depositing/cashing a check issued at another bank at your own bank, there will be a delay of a least a few hours in many cases before your account is credit or before you can get the cash.

         - If you are depositing it in your account via an ATM, you will have to wait until the next day before you can withdraw the money from your account.

  •  Regardless of some of the inconveniences, manager’s checks are the best way to go if you are handling a large sum of money that cannot be remitted through a bank transfer.


K4E Editor: We try to make the information on Korea4Expats.com as complete and accurate as possible, so if you notice any errors or omissions in the content above, please let us know at info@korea4expats.com.


Last Updated on 2019-12-14

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