South Korea is a modern country with an exciting history, culture and cuisine; it arouses the interest of guests from many countries of the world. It should be noted that cash is becoming less and less common here, as cards are accepted in the country without any problems.
According to the Bank of Korea, only 20 per cent of transactions in Korea are made in cash. Nevertheless, this method will remain for a long time, as it has advantages (anonymity, the ability to tip or make small purchases, etc.).
Paying in cash in South Korea
Although bank card payments are very popular in the country, you should take into account that street food vendors, small cafes and some public transport only accept cash.
In addition, some vendors do not accept cards for purchases under 10,000 won (about $8).
To get KRW cash, you can visit an exchange office or bank and exchange the foreign currency upon arrival in South Korea. Banks are open from 9 am to 4 pm on weekdays.
You can also use online exchangers that have offices in South Korea. With their help, you can exchange money at a favourable rate quickly and reliably. BestChange exchangers monitoring will help you find suitable services.
Features of the cash won (KRW) — history, coins, notes
In 1962, after a nine-year break, the won again became the main currency in Korea. The Bank of Korea first initially issued coins in denominations ranging from 1 to 100 ₩. In 1992, the 1 and 5 ₩ coins were withdrawn from circulation as they lost demand due to inflation, and 500 ₩ coins were introduced instead. The minimum prices in the country were set at 10 won.
As of 2023, four denominations of coins are minted:
- 10 won
- 50 won
- 100 won
- 500 won
South Korean won banknotes are currently available in KRW 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 50,000 denominations. To combat counterfeiting in the 1990s and 2000s, various security features such as colour-changing ink and micro-printing were added to the banknotes. The new series of banknotes has up to 22 security features on each note.
Facts about the Korean Won
Here are a few facts about KRW cash that are of interest:
- The name came from a mixture of the words "yuan" and "yen" (Chinese and Japanese currencies). In addition, the word "jeon" means "money" in Korean and shares the same root with the Chinese yuan.
- Both coins and banknotes are very difficult to counterfeit. Korean currency includes 3D holograms that change colour and watermarks with portraits. The coins have a substance that makes distinguishing them from counterfeit coins easy.
- The banknotes depict famous members of the Yi Dynasty, such as writers Yi Hwan, Yi Yi, and King Sejong.
- The 1 won coins were once made of brass. In 1968, the price of brass increased so much that the cost of production exceeded the face value of the coin. Brass was then replaced with aluminium.
The South Korean won is the latest in a series of Korean currencies. In 1945, Korea split into North and South Korea. Each territory adopted its currency, although both are still called the won.