Opening a bank account in Korea is pretty easy, despite what you may have heard. Korean banks don’t ask for or require a credit history nor do they do a credit check. In most cases, setting up an account can be done in one day, though in some cases it may take a bit longer.
But now Korvia has teamed-up with KEB Hana Bank (one of the leading banks that support expats in Korea) to help those looking to teach in South Korea open their bank accounts faster and more efficiently than ever.
The Korvia team will support EPIK and GOE teachers in a new way so that you can fill out a bank account application form as soon as you arrive at the airport and Korvia office. That way, you’ll be able to receive a bankbook and a debit card faster, because they’ll be sent directly to your school via registered mail. Furthermore, you don’t have to wait for your ARC and get your Korean bank account and a debit card.
Teachers not connected to EPIK or GOE can also follow these steps and have a Korean bank account in your hands within one hour:
- Passport or Alien Registration Card (ARC)
- You may open a bank account with a passport only. However, you will need to provide your ARC later on if you want an account without service usage limits.
- Korvia EPIK teachers can send the Korvia team a copy of their ARC after the EPIK orientation sessions
- Opening deposit amount
- You may open a bank account without making a deposit (of Korean Won). You can begin making deposits at any time after you open the account
- Employment Verification Letter (재직증명서) or copy of employment contract
- Korean banks require you to provide documents to prove the purpose of your financial transactions. For this, you can obtain an “employment verification letter” (Jae-jik–jeong-Myeong-seo) from your school.
- If you filled out an account application form at the airport with the Korvia EPIK team, that is the only document you need to provide after you’re assigned to a school after orientation.
- Mobile phone Number
- KEB Hana Bank provides free text messaging service for important notices, and you can also register separately at the branch for instant SMS (text message) notifications of your banking transactions. When you do this, an SMS will be sent to your mobile phone to alert you of you every payment, withdrawal, and deposit to/from your account. (If your phone number changes, you must promptly update it at the branch.)
- You can use a prepaid cell phone number if you don’t have your ARC yet.
- Korvia will support you to provide a prepaid SIM card upon your arrival.
1. Prepare your tax and security information
The Korean banking system is the smartphone and Internet-friendly, and as part of this, you will need to create several IDs and passwords. It’s important to keep them organized. You will be asked to create a User ID for Internet Banking that is 6 to 15 digits long in English letters, or a combination of letters and numbers. You will also need to choose both 4-digit and 6-digit PINs.
Separately, all expats need to fill out a FATCA/CRS Self-certification Form. As part of this, U.S. citizens must provide their social security number (SSN), and non-U.S. citizens need to provide their country’s Taxpayer ID number (TIN). This form is required under Article 21 of the Act for Coordination of International Tax Affairs and Article 47 of the Enforcement Decree of the same act in connection with a tax treaty for periodic, reciprocal exchange of financial information. By gathering the above details in advance, you’ll save lots of time when filling out the bank application forms.
2. Fill out the Application Forms (Opening a Bank Account)
Download the Application for Account Opening & FATCA/CRS Self-Certification Form. Fill out only the sections HIGHLIGHTED in yellow. The forms are pretty simple to fill out unless you don’t have your SSN or TIN information. For the contact information, write your school address.
KORVIA PRO TIP: Verify and have ready your SSN or TIN.
3. Fill out the Debit (Check) Card Application Form
Download the Debit (Check) Card Application form. In Korea, most people have a debit card connected to their main bank account, and it’s known here as a “check card.” Using this card, you can make purchases and payments at almost any Korean retail stores and even enjoy online shopping at Korean web malls like G-market. To withdraw cash, you’ll find ATMs at most convenience stores, but you can save on ATM fees by using KEB Hana Bank’s ATMs (there are over 5,000 nationwide).
KORVIA PRO TIP: Get a debit card embedded with a T-money transit chip.
4. Visit a KEB Hana Bank Branche near you or visit the Korvia Office
You can find KEB Hana Bank branches all over the country. Just find the nearest branch in your area (check the bank’s website at https://www.kebhana.com > User Guide > Branches), and visit with your printed application form and other required documents.
The Korvia team, together with bank staff, will help EPIK and GOE teachers fill out the forms at the airport, or you can just visit the Korvia office, where we’ll help you fill it out and guide you to a nearby KEB Hana branch in Gangnam.
KORVIA PRO TIP: Visit a KEB Hana Bank ‘Sunday Banking Branch (SUNDAY banking Branches)
You need to register PINs for both your bank account and your debit card. They can be the same PIN or different ones; it’s up to you. Go with whatever you feel more comfortable with.
That’s about it for now! Get used to using your new Korean bank account, and apply with your school for your settlement allowance and airfare reimbursement. With your debit card, you can save money by getting a T-money chip instead of buying a separate T-money card for buses and subways. (In case you a taxi, they also accept payment with the debit card.)
** Korvia EPIK and GOE teachers who filled out a bank application form at the EPIK and GOE arrival points at Incheon or Gimhae airports will receive their KEB Hana bankbook and debit card by mail at their school address.
- Specialized face-to-face English-language services
- Many of KEB Hana’s branches around the country – including more than 25 expat-friendly ‘Global Desk Branches’ and ‘Foreign VIP Centers’ – provide convenient teller services in English and other languages.
- Online and mobile banking platform in English
- KEB Hana has English-language interfaces for both desktop PCs and mobile smartphone platforms, with English-friendly mobile apps supporting both iOS and Android phones.
- Mac-friendly banking
- KEB Hana was the first Korean bank to add Mac support onto their online banking services. So even in Windows-centric Korea, devoted Macbook users do not need to worry!
- The “easy-one” remittance account
- Many teachers will send some of their earnings home to pay school loans and for other needs. KEB Hana created an ultra-convenient way of wiring money abroad that removes the hassle of filling out forms or waiting in line. With the ‘easy-one Foreign Currency Remittance Account,’ expats can send money overseas instantly – literally in seconds – anytime from nearly any ATM in Korea (as well as by smartphone or PC). It ranks among the most-popular bank services among teachers in Korea.
- Sunday Banking branches
- Unlike the typical Korean bank, KEB Hana has more than 15 locations around the country that stay open on Sundays for customers who can’t make it to the bank during the regular Monday-Friday workweek.