The official currency of South Korea is Won (code KRW; symbol ₩). Notes come in denominations of ₩50,000, 10,000, 5,000 and 1,000. Coins come in denominations of ₩500, 100, 50 and 10.
Foreign Currency Exchange
Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, authorized money exchange offices, hotels or some tourist shops. For best rates, the recommended currency to bring to South Korea is US dollar, but most major international currencies are accepted.
Since the won is very difficult to exchange outside Korea, visitors should exchange back their unused wons before they leave (for example at the airport). They will need to show the receipt from the original exchange.
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) or Cash Dispensers (CDs - their service is limited to only dispense cash) can be found in all cities, but only some of them accept international cards. Most ATMs or CDs are located at banks, post offices, inside large hotels, at train and subway stations or department stores. Most machines have limited hours of operation, (most typical from 9:00am to 10pm or from 8:00am to 12:00am), some operate only on weekdays, but there are some that work 24/7. The daily withdrawal limit varies from machine to machine and it's usually in the range of ₩300,000 to ₩700,000.
Recommended for international travelers are machines with 'Global' or 'Citibank' logo - most of them accept foreign credit and debit cards and have the selection menu available in English.
Major credit cards, mostly Visa and MasterCard, but also American Express and Diners Club, are widely accepted at major hotels, shops and restaurants in cities and tourist areas. Many small businesses don't accept credit cards so travelers should be prepared to carry some amounts of cash. Also, some merchants may not be able to process international cards.
Traveler's checks are widely accepted, mostly in larger cities. Most common in South Korea are Visa, American Express, and Thomas Cook traveler's checks and they can be exchanged at banks and exchange bureaus. Traveler's checks are also accepted at major hotels, department stores, and large restaurants and shops. For best rates recommended are checks in US dollars. Be prepared that outside larger cities checks may not be accepted.
Typically banks in South Korea are open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday.