Friday, February 02, 2007


Banking in Korea has been an interesting experience. On the third day I was here, my boss took me to the local Shinhan Bank branch and we opened an account.

My paycheck is automatically deposited and then I can make withdrawals at any ATM which can be found in every convenience store. Some of the ATMs offer English display menus but for the ones that don't offer English, I've found I can withdraw money if I just always press the top button (no idea what it is saying but in the end, money always spits out at me).

The bank is always incredibly busy so you have to take a number and wait in line for service. There is one account manager who speaks English so even if I have a number in the cue, I usually get shuffled to him.

They are polite and courteous if not entirely efficient. Twice I've gone in only to be turned away after a 20 minute wait and a 10 minute explanation of why I couldn't make the transaction. The first time I had forgotten my passport and the second time I was turned away because they only do domestic wire transfers before 3pm (it was 3:30).

All in all, I like being able to go to the AMT and take money out as needed. Nearly everything is paid for with cash. This can be problematic especially as the largest denomination is a 10,000 Won bill (Approx. $10). You have to have a really big wallet to make major purchases.

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