Visiting South Korea Starts With a Plan and the Currency Exchange

by, 14/10/2009

What should I know about exchanging money before I leave for Korea?

Most people don’t realize that Seoul is a full democracy and the 2nd largest metropolitan city in the world. Korea’s economy is fueled by its exports. The country has made an impact on the global market with its automotive, electronics, petrochemical, machinery and robotic industries. It’s no wonder that expatriatesm as well as tourists, flocked to Korea from all over the world.

It’s a good idea to arrive in Korea prepared, especially when it comes to handling currency and financial issues. The KRW, better known as the Won, is the currency used in Korea, although many folks don’t realize that the Euro is also readily accepted throughout Korea, which makes it easier for European travelers. The KRW has been very volatile against the U.S. Dollar and other currencies recently, so it’s important to do some research and begin to exchange small amounts of your currency to Won before you leave home. Just a slight surge in the KRW can cost you an extra $180 for every $1000 you exchange, if the U.S. Dollar moves by 1800 points and you want to exchange U.S. Dollars for KRW when you arrive in Korea. 

Exchanging currency with your bank may not be the most economical way to plan a trip. Banks charge you a fee that can be 3% or more and may not give you a real time rate and that can get expensive. Credit card companies will add extra fees on exchanges, so the rate is extremely inflated, plus they add surcharges on credit card transactions once you’re in Korea.

The best way to exchange currency is to average your exchanges. Averaging is exchanging small amounts of currency at different times while you’re planning the trip. A currency broker can help you by notifying you when the rate is in your favor and a broker will give you a real time rate every time you exchange, so you can put an effective budget in place. Averaging your exchanges before you leave home will offset surges and will reduce your exchange costs.

What should I do if I need to exchange money while I’m staying in Korea?
Korean banks will exchange currency for you, but the cost of exchanging money changes from bank to bank. Korean foreign exchange shops may offer a better rate than banks, but that’s not always the rule. Airport exchange merchants load the exchange rate with extra fees and hotel rates are not competitive. If you have Internet service you can still exchange money using a currency broker and save money on exchange fees.

If you decide to leave Korea and want to exchange KRW for another currency, you’ll need a day or two to complete the transaction through a Korean bank, especially if you want to receive a currency that’s not Japanese Yen or U.S Dollars, or if you’re exchanging a large amount of KRW. Using wire transfers and other bank instruments can be very expensive because the sending and the receiving bank charge a fee for the transaction.

Other travel tips
If you’re carrying over $10,000 cash into Korea, you must declare it at the custom inspection point. It’s always a good idea to carry cash in a money belt or a hidden pocket that is secure and out of sight. Use hotel safes or open a bank account when you arrive, plus use other security measures while you’re in the country.

The experts at provided this article to assist you with your travel plans to Korea. If you need more information about the currency trading market or forex trading, please visit our website.

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