Opening a bank account in Seoul is as simple as obtaining an alien registration card. The truth is, actually, you might lose patience getting your card, but once you do, you can open a bank account with no problems whatsoever (see the “Registration” section to avoid as much frustration as possible). No appointment with the bank is required; you can just walk right in and ask to open an account.
The required documents for opening a bank account in Seoul are not difficult to obtain.
- You need your passport,
- You need to fill out an application form (at the bank, with teller assistance)
- You need your alien card.
When you have these documents, the bank teller will immediately open a bank account for you, giving you options for your debit card. You can decide whether you want to be able to use your debit card in stores or if you want it restricted to ATM use among other things. The teller will supply you with an electronic bank book (as well as your debit card, in Seoul you can use your bank book in ATM’s to pay bills and complete other actions).
There are no joint accounts allowed in Korean bank systems, so if you are moving with your partner you will have to acquire separate bank accounts.
There are several types of bank accounts available in Seoul. When you open your account you should always ask the teller which will be best for your lifestyle/situation. They are very helpful and will walk you through whatever you need to know – many enjoy practising their English and will be overly helpful, even!
You generally have the choice between current, ordinary deposit, on call deposit, time deposit or installment deposit. You bank teller will gladly explain the benefits of each type of account and will advise you as to which would best suit your lifestyle. While Korean banks do not usually charge a monthly service fee, they also rarely add interest on your bank account either, so it will be up to you, the expat, to find the right bank with the kind of service you will require.