Currency in South Korea

A Travel Money Guide to South Korea

temple in south korea

With a thrilling mix of old and new in South Korea, this breathtaking country offers a feast for the senses. You'll find vibrant cities, grand temples, beautiful islands and amazing food in this region of East Asia! With a landscape as diverse as its culture and cuisine, there's plenty to do and enjoy in South Korea. 

But you can make your savings go even further with a few clever choices, including how you’ll exchange currency and pay for things in South Korea.

This guide helps you get a little more savvy in your decision-making by giving you an overview on:

What Currency is Used in South Korea?

The currency for South Korea is the South Korean Won while the currency code is KRW and the currency symbol is ₩. 1 South Korean Won is divided into 100 jeon; although the jeon is no longer used for regular transactions.

In South Korea, there are 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 won coins and 1,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 50,000 won bills.


Using Your Bank Card in South Korea

restaurant street in central seoul south korea at night

Some of the best travel money cards include debit, credit and prepaid cards. Efficient and convenient, credit and debit cards are perfect for travelling and naturally, widely accepted in South Korea.

Most places will have the facilities to cater to card payments but when you’re paying for smaller transactions (below ₩10,000), some merchants may not accept cards.

Whether you choose to pay with your card more often in South Korea is still up to you, as long as you’re aware of the fees and charges incurred by the respective cards.

Debit Cards

In South Korean cities, you’ll have no trouble using a debit card as many young Korean adults have adopted contactless and mobile technology in droves. However, it is important to check that you are getting the best deal from your credit card provider, as you might end up paying high fees for the currency conversion, foreign transaction, and overseas ATM withdrawals.

To make your trip hassle-free, look for a bank card that’s designed for frequent travellers. Some travel-friendly debit cards that waive a portion of the charges include Wise, ING, Citibank and Revolut.

All major credit cards are accepted as currency in Italy

Credit Cards

All major credit cards are accepted in South Korea, but if you’re venturing into the rural areas or would like to dine at smaller restaurants, it is best to still have some cash on you.

Some credit cards come with attractive features for frequent travellers, including complimentary travel insurance, rewards points, and additional security measures.

But the perks are countered by some exorbitant charges if you use your card overseas, including:

  • International transaction fees
  • High exchange rate margins
  • ATM fees
  • Potential ‘cash advance fees’ if you use an ATM

As with debit cards, there are some exceptions. Bankwest Platinum and 28 Degrees cards are designed for travellers and waive the currency conversion fees.

Prepaid Travel Cards

It’s natural to gravitate towards a prepaid travel card, considering the product is designed for travellers. Lock in a favourable exchange rate with prepaid travel cards. Bonus: You also get a handy back-up card!

Even though they are convenient, you could end up with hidden fees. Some travel cards still impose the following:

  • Currency conversion fees
  • Uncompetitive exchange rates
  • International ATM withdrawal fees
  • Reload fees
  • Inactivity fees

Using a Currency Converter For South Korea

The South Korean Won (KRW) is relatively stable to the Australian dollar (AUD) and the New Zealand dollar. Converting AUD to KRW is easy with our currency conversion tool.

Simply enter in the value and currencies to figure out how much it would cost you to buy South Korean Won with S Money today. We use the same mid-market rate you’d find on Google or


*Wholesale exchange rate updated

How to Exchange Currency in South Korean Won

Smaller establishments located in the cities or rural areas only accept cash, making it essential that you have some of the local bills on hand as you travel. While it can be better value to buy the currency before you go (see our section on that below), you can also get currency once you arrive in the country.

The most popular ways to exchange currency include ATMs, currency exchange desks and traveller cheques.

You can use the available ATMs for currency in Italy

ATMs in South Korea

There are plenty of ATMs that allow cash withdrawal in local South Korean Won using international credit cards like Mastercard or Visa. In South Korea, ATMs owned by large banks will stay open until midnight, while some have 24-hour ATMs, providing you access to your money at any time.

South Korean Currency Exchange Outlets

There are various ways to change your AUD into KRW in South Korea. Changing your money to South Korean Won prior to your trip would be ideal but you can also exchange foreign currency at any of the South Korean banks, currency exchange desks at Incheon Airport and Gimpo Airport, or in tourist areas like Myeongdong, Itaewon, and Dongdaemun – all of which are located in Seoul.

Currency exchange in Italy is easy and available

Travellers Cheques

Some banks and hotels in South Korea still cash traveller’s cheques. But that doesn’t mean you should invest in them. You’ll get just as much value (if not more) out of alternatives such as ATM withdrawals and direct cash exchanges.

Buying South Korean Currency Before You Go

Buying South Korean Won before you leave home can be a seamless process, with three main options to suit your needs:

  • Buy KRW online and have it delivered or collect it in-store.
  • Buy from a bureau de change.
  • Buy at your home airport.

Since bureau de change desks at Australian airports are renowned for their poor rates, we recommend avoiding them and picking up your currency ahead of time.

A fuss-free way to secure your travel money is to order it online. It can be delivered to your door or made available for pick-up at a convenient location. Online currency providers offer competitive deals you’re unlikely to find elsewhere. For example, S Money offers the same rate listed on Google and

If you’re in the city, an alternative is to visit a CBD bureau de change. Suburban outlets don’t have the competition to keep prices low and banks often supply high fees and poor rates.

What Will South Korean Won Buy Me?

View of Seoul, South Korea at night.

It’s handy to cost out your trip before you go so you know just how much money to exchange. Prices vary across South Korea but here are some average costs (all prices quoted in South Korean Won):

25,000 - 30,000 KRW

Private room at airbnb

9,000 - 15,000 KRW

Meal at a casual restaurant

4,000 - 5,000 KRW

Pint of beer

5,000 KRW

Local transportation day pass

33,000 KRW

One-day city pass

Track the best time to buy currency

We match the currency exchange rate with the rate shown on Google or Xe. In real time.

This means you never pay over-inflated rates and can be 100% positive you are getting the most competitive rate for currency exchange.

  • Check out the daily rates:

Not ready to buy yet?
You can get a free rate tracker!

Updated: Posted on