Thursday, November 19, 2009

Banking in Korea

I grew up in a different country, that used a slightly different banking system. I have the same bank that I started a savings account with when I was in the 1st grade. Before I came to Korea, I paid every bill that I could with a check. I've since changed, as my bills don't exactly get sent to my current apartment anymore.

So I thought that when I came to Korea, it would be the same. After all, I have a bank account and an ATM card, the same as I had back home...

Well almost....

When I say ATM card, I mean just ATM card...There is no Visa or Mastercard logo on it. I can't use it to buy groceries or pay at a restaurant.

Oh, and they don't give you a check book neither...but that's probably a good thing as I don't write much Korean.

But then how do I pay my bills without checks? I use the ATM to transfer money directly into their account. This is rather strange to me, as back home your Routing and Banking numbers are closely guarded secrets! I mean back when I worked for an insurance company, that information was held more securely that people's Social Security numbers!

Well, they do things a bit differently over here.

In fact, you know what? is my banking information:

Philip Langaunet
Woori Bank

Now anyone can use my account to transfer money to me ANY time they want.

Your account number isn't really a secret. But, transferring money OUT of my account. Well, that's a little harder.

If someone wanted to log onto my bank's website to transfer all of my money to them...they would have to know:

my user name
have my USB drive that's on my key chain
have the bank's encryption card hidden in my wallet
and have my other banking password


Having my ATM card
and my PIN

Well, yes...then if they had all that information without me knowing it...I suppose they could take away my millions (of won that is)

So, I'm pretty sure that even on the internet, that information won't hurt me.

Where was I....paying bills...

On every bill I receive, there are the banking account numbers of 3-4 of the big national banks. If you have an account with one of those bank, you can transfer the funds free of charge...if not, a nominal fee (a little more than the price of a stamp back home) is charged on top of the bill.

I don't think that much of that fee (I really don't have a choice), but Koreans on the other hand DO. Most of them will have 4 different bank accounts in order to dodge those fees.

I just wish my bank would change it's name. While the Koreans have no problem depositing their hard earned money into a bank they call "oori" I have a problem keeping my money in a banking whose name is "Woori"

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