How to send money to South Korea
Save money on your next international transfer from the UK.
Updated . What changed?
While your local bank branch may be the most obvious option if you need to send money to South Korea, you can save on fees and get a more favourable exchange rate with a specialised money transfer company.
Compare services that send money to South Korea from the UK
What's in this guide?
- Compare services that send money to South Korea from the UK
- How to send money to South Korea online
- What's the best way to send money to South Korea?
- How to get the most out of your money transfer to South Korea
- South Korea's exchange rates explained
- Documents needed to send money to South Korea
- What to watch out for
- Bottom line
How to send money to South Korea online
Sign up and send money with a digital money transfer specialist in four steps:
- Sign up for a free account. Pick a provider and sign up for a free online account using your contact information, proof of ID and preferred payment method.
- Provide transfer details. Submit your recipient’s contact information and pick a delivery method. If transferring to a bank, you’ll need their South Korean bank account details.
- Confirm transfer details. Double-check your payment method, expected fees and destination.
- Save your receipt. Record your receipt’s confirmation number to track the progress of your transfer to South Korea. Some money transfer providers send a text or email when your transfer is complete.
What’s the best way to send money to South Korea?
Online money transfer providers typically offer the strongest exchange rates and lowest fees on money transfers to South Korea. ACH transfers through banks, account-to-account transfers through PayPal and other options are available but come with high fees, weak rates and long turnaround.
Digital money transfer specialists
Companies like OFX and TransferWise specialise in foreign currencies, making them some of the most cost-effective transfers. Most offer a variety of options for your recipient to receive their money, including to bank accounts as well as in person.
Services like MoneyGram allow you to transfer cash for pickup at a local branch in South Korea – often in 15 minutes. While it’s a fast way to send money, you’ll pay for the convenience in weaker rates and high fees. If a cash pickup is necessary, look to digital services like WorldRemit or Remitly.
South Korean won aren’t a popular currency, which means banks may not offer them. If your local bank does support won, beware of high fees and wide margins on the exchange rate compared to digital and other options.
Crunching the numbers: Sending £2,000 to South Korea
Let’s say you need to send £2,000 to family in South Korea. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of 3 May 2020.
|Digital money transfer||Cash transfer||Bank transfer|
|Fee||£3||£4||£20 + additional correspondent bank fees|
|Exchange rate||1 GBP = 1,516 KRW||1 GBP = 1,495 KRW||1 GBP = 1,368 KRW|
|Transfer speed||Same day||Minutes||2-5 days|
|Amount received||KRW 3,027,654||KRW 2,986,643||KRW 2,737,669|
The bank option ends up being both the slowest and gets the smallest amount of money to your recipient. If you go with the online transfer service, your recipient ends up with KRW 289,985 more than the bank offers. And if you need to get the money there as quickly as possible, a cash transfer may arrive in as little as 15 minutes.
How to get the most out of your money transfer to South Korea
Weigh costs and fees against convenience, and learn how to compare money transfer providers that send to South Korea to meet your needs:
- Exchange rates. The GBP-KRW relationship fluctuates, but for the last few years it has remained relatively stable. Still, locking in an exchange rate when possible may save you money in the future if the rates shift quickly.
- Transfer fees. Transferring money overseas nearly always requires fees, but they might be hidden in the exchange rate. When sending large amounts, it may be cheaper to pay a flat fee to secure a stronger exchange rate.
- Transfer limits. How much you can send varies by company, and different amounts can attract higher or lower fees. Shop around for the best deal on the number of South Korean won you’re sending.
- Turnaround. Transferring money through a local bank can take a business week or longer. If you need the funds delivered quickly, seek out a digital specialist that offers instant transfers to South Korea.
- Maximum limits. When exchange rates are favourable, sending more money can save you money in the future. If you plan to send large amounts of money to South Korea, be sure to pick a provider that won’t limit you.
- Transfer methods. Whether you want money sent to a South Korean bank account or picked up as cash at a local agent, narrow down a company that matches your preferred delivery method.
Emergency cash transfer to South Korea
When it’s more important to send money to South Korea quickly, look for money transfer companies that support cash pickup in minutes.
You can pay with a credit or debit card for fast pickup, but fees are higher than other methods.
How to send money to South Korea without a bank account
If you don’t have a bank account, you can still use cash transfer services to get the money to its destination. Similarly, a recipient can get the money with a cash transfer if they don’t have a bank account.
These cash transfer services are widely available around the world and although they’ll typically not be the cheapest available service they can be fast, convenient and can be used without bank accounts.
South Korea’s exchange rates explained
The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another country’s currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weaker currency. The South Korean won often fluctuates when compared to the pound sterling, so expect exchange rates today to be different than those you’ll see tomorrow. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Track how the South Korean won trades against the pound sterling in our historical rate chart.
Documents needed to send money to South Korea
To send money to South Korea from the UK, you’ll need government-issued ID and other documents, while documents needed to pick up money in South Korea may be different by company.
Documents to send money from the UK
To send money from the UK to South Korea, you’ll need documentation and details that include:
- Identification. Most services require a driver’s licence, passport or other government-issued ID.
- Payment method. Your service may accept credit or debit cards, cash, bank accounts or cheques.
- Recipient information. Submit your recipient’s name as it appears on their ID, along with their phone number, South Korean bank account and routing number if sending to their bank.
Documents to receive money in South Korea
To pick up money in person, documentation can include:
- Transfer number. The person sending you money can forward the transfer’s confirmation details – called a PIN, a MTCN, a reference number or a tracking number, depending on the company.
- Government-issued ID. A South Korean resident ID, a South Korean passport or any other government-issued ID that has your photo in addition to your address can typically be used to pick up money in South Korea.
- Amount sent. You may need to know how much was sent, usually within 10% of the total.
- Sender’s information. Take along your sender’s full name, the sending country and their address, if known.
What to watch out for
When sending money to South Korea, any amount over £10,000 will be reported to the Financial Supervisory Service. Additionally, any individual sending or receiving more than £50,000 in one year will need to provide evidence of income and proof for the purpose of sending.
It shouldn’t cost a fortune to send money to South Korea. Compare transfer companies that specialise in foreign for the strongest rates, lowest fees and flexible delivery. For transfers to other countries, rely on our country specific guides the next time you need to make a transfer.
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