Shinhan Debit Card: The Best Solution for Foreigners


Why Shinhan Bank is a Great Option for Foreigners Living in South Korea

Living in South Korea as a foreigner without a local debit card is possible, but it can be a challenging experience, especially if you prefer immersing yourself in the local culture. Without a Korean debit card, accessing basic necessities like shopping, transportation, cafe hopping, and other essential services can become a bit time consuming. While many businesses in South Korea accept cash and American credit cards, some may not, and you can never predict when such situations might arise. And that’s why, as foreigners, we opened a Shinhan Debit Account and Debit Card.

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Shinhan-Bank-ATM-machine-519x692 Shinhan Debit Card: The Best Solution for Foreigners

Parking Lots & Garages You Can Get In

But You Can’t Get Out

It didn’t become a real problem until we started traveling off the beaten path, into the interior of the country. It began with getting stuck in random parking garages. I parked in the large Apsan parking garage and tried every debit and credit card in my wallet. None of them worked and cash was not accepted.

I ended up giving the parking lot attendant the cash and he used his card to lift the gate. The next time I visited, I went to the office to inquire about it. They confirmed that I could not use a foreign card in the parking lot. This also happened at random parking lots around town as well as in other cities.

Luckily most lots have an attendant or a phone that rings into a staffed office. We utilized the same method of paying the attendant a few more times if possible. And two or three times, the office lifted the gate remotely. A week or two later we would receive an invoice in the mail for 2,000 or 3,000 ₩on that we then paid at the bank.

There have also been a few random instances when our American cards did not work at a restaurant or cafe. It happened just this past weekend at the beautiful cafe Baraemi Vanessa. Since I hadn’t loaded any money onto my Korean card, I had to use cash instead. This highlights the importance of carrying some Won in your wallet at all times as a precautionary measure. Both of the above situations is why you should get debit cards at a local Korean bank.

Registration Card

Foreigners cannot get a bank account without applying for an Registration Card. The Registration Card used to be called the Alien Registration Card (ARC). It is an identification card issued by the Korean government. The ID card is not a visa. It does not automatically entitle you to social services, or allow USFK personnel to extend their stay in Korea past their DEROS date.

Click here ( for the required documents and application process.

Shinhan Bank: A Reliable Option for Foreigners Living in South Korea

Foreigners have several banks to choose from. We chose Shinhan Bank, highly regarded as one of the largest and most reputable banks in South Korea. As an American living in South Korea, we’ve found Shinhan Bank to be a convenient and reliable option for us.

Shinhan has a strong presence in the country, with numerous branches and ATMs. They also have English translation services if you need it.

Online Banking (SOL Global)

The bank’s online and mobile banking app, allows us to manage our accounts and transactions from anywhere at any time. I love the ability to transfer money for services such as art classes and the aerial yoga class that requires payment prior to attendance confirmation. My English students and the online magazines I work with deposit directly into my account– no need for cash or checks. All they need is the account name, bank, and account number.

Managing Your Finances in South Korea

How to Use Shinhan Bank’s Online Banking App

As a foreigner without a local debit card, you might encounter difficulties in managing your finances, such as transferring money, paying for online or delivery services, or avoiding ATM transaction fees.

The Shinhan Bank ATMs are very easy to because you can select from several foreign languages and withdraw and deposit cash and checks.

Debit Card: A Convenient Payment Solution

The Shinhan Debit Card, called the ShinhanCard S-Line K-onepass is multifaceted and accepted for online purchases like Coupang, gmarket, and Korail. It is a debit card, ATM card, and transportation card all in one.

Having a local bank account at Shinhan allows you to process cashless transaction using Kakao Taxi and vendors like my nail & beauty salon. All you need is the other party’s bank name and account number.

Unlocking Discounts and Promotions in South Korea with Shinhan Debit Card

In addition, not having a local debit card can also limit your ability to take advantage of local discounts and promotions. Many stores and businesses offer exclusive deals and discounts to customers who use local debit cards.

One example I take advantage of often is Home Plus, which offers an immediate 5% discount when using my Shinhan debit card at the store.

I can also receive discounts or points using my Shinhan card based on spending requirements:

– points for all purchases

– 5% cash back for all purchases at all restaurants during lunch (1100-1400, min purchase 10,000 KRW)

– CHOICE between 5% cash back for using public transportation or petrol at SK Petrol Station

– 5% cash back at Lotte/ Hyundai/ GS TV

– 5% cash back for overseas shopping.

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