Currency in South Korea

The won is the South Korean national currency. Its official abbreviation is ₩ or 원. One won corresponds to 100 Chŏn, which is currently no longer relevant. The ISO 4117 code for the won is KRW.

Won coins are available in the versions 1 ₩, 5 ₩, 10 ₩, 50 ₩, 100 ₩ and 500 ₩. The 1 ₩ and 5 ₩ are no longer needed. Only the 10 ₩ are still used. These were re-minted in 2006 and are only 18 mm in size.

However, you can still pay with the 6 mm larger, old 10 ₩ coins. The first coin was issued here in 1966.

The notes are divided as follows and, like the coins, are issued by the Bank of Korea. ₩ 1,000, ₩ 5,000, ₩ 10,000 and ₩ 50,000 are available here and show mostly famous men such as scholars or kings. A woman is also represented. The face of a famous painter, poet and calligrapher named Shin Saimdang adorns the 50,000 ₩ note.

History of the currency of South Korea

Korean currency history begins early with the Goryeo dynasty (918-1392). Paper money was introduced as early as 1392, during the Joseon period (1392–1897), but was abolished again in the 16th century.

From 1633 to 1892 the Mun was the currency. Then the Yang (1892–1902).

Finally, in 1902, the won was introduced for the first time. The Korean term “won” is derived from an East Asian money counting word.

However, as early as 1910, due to the annexation of Korea, the won was abolished and the yen was introduced instead.

With the end of World War II (1945), the won was reintroduced in South Korea and pegged to the US dollar. North Korea, founded in December 1947, simultaneously formed its own central bank and, associated with it, its own currency, which from then on was distributed throughout the country.

From 1953 to mid-1962, the Hwan was in force in the areas controlled by South Korea. This was converted at 1 Hwan to 100 won, as an impairment was introduced at the same time.

From 1962, the won was used as the single currency everywhere. This was necessary because the Hwan had lost too much of its value and is still based on the US dollar. However, in the wake of the Asian crisis, the ₩ also fell by a good half of its original value.

In January 2006 a new edition was issued with the 5,000 won banknote. The reason for this was that the then 5,000 won notes were often confused with the 1,000 won notes. Therefore, a new size has been implemented for the new notes in order to ensure a clear differentiation.

Since February of the same year, no more 1.000 1,000 and ₩ 10,000 banknotes have been issued. The stock that was in circulation until then was considered sufficient. A year later, new ones were also introduced for these notes. These then also corresponded to new, forgery-proof methods to protect the currency against misuse.

In June 2009 the bank note with the highest value to date, 50,000 ₩, was introduced.

Exchange into local currency

It is currently advisable to first exchange the euro in South Korea. Many credit card providers charge little or no fee for withdrawing money from local ATMs.

Even with the EC card, there is usually only a small fee. However, only some ATMs accept the EC card.

There are many ways to change your money in the country itself. These are mostly cheaper than in this country.