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Leaving Korea - Settling Bills

Leaving Korea - Settling B...

Korean companies frequently report that ‘foreigners don’t pay their bills’ and as you may have discovered from your time in Korean, this has resulted in a number of them applying policies that some might described as discriminatory against foreign residents. In one instance, when we were able to get the stats we noted that while the numbers of defaulting foreign nationals was high (relatively speaking) the amounts were quite small (a high percentage under W10,000) which led us to conclude that the problem is most likely the result of timing and misinformation.

Utility Bills
On the day of your move or the day before, you can call the gas, electricity and water companies to report the amount of consumption you see on the meter and they will tell you how much you owe. While some of the utility companies have English-speaking staff, you may need help from a Korean friend, your realtor or property owner.  (The telephone number is on your monthly bill – if there is a number for English-speakers it is usually indicated on the bill as well.)

There is often a one-month time lag before you are billed, so you will have to make arrangements to cover the final bill. There are a number of options for this, including:

  • - giving your realtor, property owner, employer or a friend money to pay your portion of the bill the next month. (The downside on this option is that sometimes this person does not make the payment contributing to the ‘skipped stats’).
  • - keep your bank account open with enough funds to cover your outstanding bills before you leave – you can set up an automatic bill payment process via your bank with a termination date or arrange to pay your bills online.  NB: See the Bill Payment Options page on K4E for more details. The downside on this option is that you don’t close your bank account – however, there is an upside, if you will be receiving payments following your departure from Korea. Some banks offer a special account for transfer to designated overseas banks. See the FX and International Banking page on K4E. 

Telecommunication Services
Prior to your departure, you can contact your service provider to find out what you owe if you have not already set up an auto-payment process via your bank. Just as with your utilities you can make arrangements either through your employer, a friend or someone else to make your final payments.

If you have  Internet/Cable/Satellite contracts with a set expiration date but are having to cancel it early, be prepared to pay the early cancellation penalty (If you are moving within Korea and to an area where that service is available, that will not usually not have a negative impact on your contract.)

If you have a friend or someone else cancel your contract, either because they have used your service for a time or because they will be paying your final bill, make sure that that person has your alien registration number (a copy of your ARC would be helpful). Some of the delinquent foreign residents stats are the result of someone not being able to cancel the service and the company continuing to charge the minimum rate for some months, even though there is no record of service use during that period.

Since Korean cell phones must now be unlocked, you can bring your phone with you (note that you still cannot get SIM cards in Korea for phones brought into the country).

If you have made a deposit on equipment, you will not receive your refund until you have returned the equipment. In the case of deposits for service, there is no reimbursement until you have paid the final bill. Often there is a small time lag before the refund is deposited to your Korean bank account.

Terminating Automatic Payments
If you have set up auto payments for any of your regular bills, you will have to go to the bank, in person, to stop the auto-payments. You don't have to say why you're terminating the payments, you just have to give the date when you want payments to stop, or when you want the last payment made. You will sign a form with the end date, and that's it. However, you must do this in person at the bank.

K4E Editor: tries to ensure that the information we provide is accurate and complete, so should you notice any errors or omissions in the content above please contact us at

Last Updated on 2015-04-12

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