How to Open a Bank Account in South Korea

South Korea is becoming a suitable country for expatriates to settle. Among the significant reasons why foreigners are moving to South Korea is to teach English or to work in international organizations. The country is known to be the home of electronics and telecommunications companies.


The country can be challenging to foreigners due to language barriers, transport and cultural differences. If you plan to move to South Korea, you will need to know how to get started and how to open a bank account. This article will provide guidelines necessary for opening a bank account.

Required documents for a South Korean bank account

What are the necessary documents needed while opening a bank account in South Korea? The following are the required documents to open a bank account.

  • You will need to provide a valid passport, visa and Alien Registration Card (ARC). The ARC contains your address, a copy of your address written in English and Korean languages.
  • All these documents are necessary and some banks will allow foreigners to open bank accounts. South Korean banks do not allow people to open bank accounts while abroad. You must present yourself in person to the bank for registration.

Virtual Bank account as an alternative

If you are planning to send money abroad, using banks is very expensive. The banks use mid-market rates to transfer currency. They raise the mid-market rate so that they can make profits. The banks have to cover their costs and retain a profit.

Is it possible to open a non-resident bank account in South Korea?

Majority of the South Korean banks provide foreigners with the opportunity to open bank accounts. These banks offer services in English and other languages. However, they do not provide ATM services to foreigners; hence foreigners are required to transact any business through the tellers. You only gain access to the ATM when you become a resident for more than three months. There are no online applications for bank accounts; you have to present yourself to the bank in person.

Best banks in South Korea

Some of the best banks in South Korea suitable for expats include KB Kookmin Bank, HSBC South Korea, Hana Bank, Citibank South Korea and Woori Bank. Most of the South Korean banks have international partners with ATMs conveniently located across the country. Some of them include Standard Chartered Bank Korea, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, Citi Korea, Hana Bank Korea.

KB Kookmin Bank

The KB Kookmin Bank bank has over 1200 branches and over 1200 ATMs conveniently located over the country. Some of the financial products that the bank provides to its customers include personal banking, corporate banking and student accounts for those who have ARC card.

Hana Bank

The Hana Bank has over 40 branches and ATMs all over the country. The financial products they provide to their customers include corporate banking accounts, foreigner’s services such as online banking in English, Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese languages.

It also has branches in the US, see

Citibank South Korea

Citibank South Korea has over 1200 branches and ATMs conveniently located all over the country. Among the products they provide to their customers include personal banking, foreign exchange services, foreign exchange services, Citigold and Citigold private client accounts. The bank provides foreigners with services such as savings accounts.

Bank charges

It is important to note that South Korean banks allow customers to have only one card. They have several charges such as ATM withdrawing fees. Korean exchange banks do not charge any fee regardless of the card you hold.

Korean banks do not charge a monthly fee. The banks only charge fees for transactions made. Also, transacting using the tellers attract a fee. However, foreign exchange services in ATMs attract a fee. Foreigners holding a temporary work visa are only allowed to transfer 60 percent of their salaries to their home countries.

Bank logistics in South Korea

For opening a bank account in South Korea, you do not need to have an appointment. You only need to present yourself at the bank. The procedures are simple and debit cards and ATM cards are issued instantly with most banks although some might take up to three months. If you want an English speaking service bank, consider Hana Bank World Center Branch.

They issue bank cards after doing the necessary paperwork. The card is an ATM card and not a debit card. You can also ask the bank to provide you with the necessary information about online banking. ATMs are plenty in South Korea and conveniently located near post offices and train stations. International cards are accepted in major hotels and stores.

Vincent is a writer with an interest in finance, business, technology and health niche. He holds a Bachelors degree in Applied Statistics with computing. Read more about Vincent and see our complete editorial team at FiFi.