The currency of South Korea is the won (₩ ). As of December 2013, the exchange rate is approximately 1 USD = 1050 won and 1 EURO = 1436 won.

Coins come in denominations of ₩  10, ₩ 50, ₩  100 and ₩  500, while banknotes come in denominations of ₩  1000 (blue), ₩  5000 (red), ₩  10,000 (green) and ₩  50,000 (yellow). ₩  1 and ₩  5 coins, while they exist, are very rare. The largest bill currently in circulation is only ₩  50,000 and somewhat uncommon in ATMs, which makes carrying around large sums of currency a bit of a chore. ₩  100,000 "checks" are frequently used, and some of the checks go up to ₩  10,000,000 in value. These checks are privately produced (by banks, etc.) which can be used as "c-notes".

A new series of notes was released in 2006/2007, so expect to see several versions floating around, and be prepared for hassles with vending machines which may not accept the new or old versions.

ATM are ubiquitous, but most Korean ATMs don't accept foreign cards, only Citibank ATMs and special Global ATMs do. These can be found at airports in some areas frequented by foreigners in major cities, including Hongdae, some subway stations, and in many Family Mart convenience stores. Sometimes however even the Global ATMs may not accept your foreign card so it's wise to have a second source of money for those times. Be sure to stock up on cash before heading to the countryside. Credit card acceptance, on the other hand, is very good, and all but the very cheapest restaurants and motels will take Visa and Mastercard.


Please note that some hotels may need an imprint of your credit card as a deposit during your stay, which is a normal procedure.  However, this deposit can be made in cash and will be refunded upon check-out