Paying students loans while teaching in Korea (16 Answers)
Question asked –
Just arrived in Korea and I’m excited to start teaching and paying off my college debt. How should I be sending money home each month? Is there a preferred bank or money transfer method among English teachers? I’m American.
Read 16 Answers
“I wire money from my US PayPal account to my main US bank account and then my student loan payments are pulled from my US bank account automatically each month. You’ll need to set up a Pay Pal account first. Once this is done, set up a Korea Exchange bank account and connect it with Hana Global Pay. KEB acquired Hana bank so, that’s where “Hana” comes into the picture. Hana Global Pay has a phone application you can download. First, you’ll get paid by your Korean employer to your KEB bank account. Then you can transfer money from KEB through the Hana Global pay app to your Pay Pal Account. It’s a 1% transaction fee. So, if you send $1,000 home each month, it will cost you $10 for the service, but there is no 24-48 hour wait time as if you were wiring money from KEB to your US bank account directly. Once the money is in your PayPal account you can transfer the cash online to your US account. Moving money from PayPal to a regular US bank accounts does not cost you anything.” It’s a few steps , but depending on how often you need to send money home and how quickly, it’s effective. I’d recommend KEB. KEB also has a Facebook page for Expat banking.
“You can get the Hana Global Pay app at the Apple App Store. You might have to dig around for it, but it’s there. Try typing it in Hangul from your iPhone.”
“1% is cheap trough PayPal. Many US banks will charge you up to $50 to do a wire transfer and it takes a business day or more to process. Great idea thanks.”
“Sounds a little complex to me. Wouldn’t it be easier to just wire money from your KEB or Shinhan Bank (recommended) to your bank in the US? Some US banks won’t charge any fees to wire funds as part of their bank service. I think Citibank doesn’t charge anything to do international wire transfers.” Citibank is also in Korea. Here’s a good explanation of how to interpret overseas remittance fees.
“Go with KEB, Shinhan, or Citibank. I’ve also heard of English teachers use HSBC (Hong Kong Shanhai Banking Corporation), especially Canadians and Brits. Worth checking out. They’re in practically every country.
“Don’t let your hagwon manager talk you into using a local Korean bank. Often their Korean debit and/or credit cards can’t be used overseas. Try to book a flight through Expedia and your Korean credit card might not even work. On vacay in Thailand and you may have issues using your Korean credit card as well. Make sure our Korean credit card has an international icon or global access indicator on it, but also confirm with the bank. Also, the problem with the smaller banks is that they may not have English-speaking departments or website, so you’ll have to bring a Korean friend to help you with your personal banking.” Stay away from the domestic mom and pop Korean banks.
“I use Citibank Korea and they charge a $10 per month banking charge just for having an account.” I also have a Citibank account back home so transfers are painless and affordable.
“Do you trust PayPal? Google “PayPal sucks”. There are dozens of stories of people who’ve had PayPal accounts and had them frozen, and couldn’t get their money out of their PayPal account. Worse yet, was they couldn’t even get a live voice from PayPal on the phone to help them. Once your PayPal account is frozen, it takes a lot of verification to get it lifted. There’s even a Facebook page dedicated to complaints from angry paypal account holders. ”
“Bring all your personal paperwork when you go to a Korean bank to set up an account. This includes your ARC card, passport, copy of your teaching contract, any other identification if you have them like your driver’s license, credit card, etc. Most international banks in Korea will have someone on staff who can speak English so you can get it done effortlessly. While you’re at the bank it would be a good idea to apply for a Korean credit card. It’s a good thing to have as some online shops only accept Korean credit cards, and if you don’t have an American one.” You’ll avoid the currency conversion since your Korean credit card will be in Korean Won.
“I didn’t have a US credit card, but I got a Korean one with no problem, because I actually have a real job here teaching English to Koreans.” Yay!
“Shinhan charges $15 per international wire transfer. Not sure if that’s $15 per $100 or any amount you send.”
“If you choose KEB, make sure you get the English-speaking banking person to set up your Hana Global pay for you. It’ll save you time doing it yourself which can be frustrating.” They do charge me 25,000 won per transfer. It can add up in a year if you do a transaction every month.
“When you wire money home, you’re going to get charged 3 times. Your Korean bank will charge you a bit, PayPal will, and lastly your home bank. It’s really tricky to figure out how much you’re paying because there’s a currency exchange in there depending on the day and time which makes it harder to interpret. I don’t believe any home bank will do this for free, unless you are a VIP customer, which requires one to have a lot of cash in their bank account usually, and pay a higher monthly fee. After it’s all said and done, you’re looking at about $50 per overseas remittance fees between all 3 financial institutions.” The fewer the banks you pass through, the better! That’s my two cents….
“Make sure you check if your remittance fee goes up based on how much money you send. Is it a percentage of the total amount or a flat fee? It might be wiser to send larger amounts every few months if you get charged a flat fee per transaction versus a percentage.”
“Here’s an old school way: I’ve had friends years ago who just bought Korean traveler’s checks and put them in the mail and had their parents cash them and put them in their bank accounts. There are also the Myeung Dong money exchangers where you get a cheaper deal on the exchange rate. However, this requires you to take cash out of your bank account, exchange it in the street (risky) and then bring the cash back to your Korean bank and deposit it in your US dollar account. You’ll be asked where the US dollars came from though, if you start doing this every month, especially if you’re using a US bank like Citibank in Korea which is always concerned about “money laundering”. You can also bring home up to $10,000 USD on the plane to make lump sum payments on your student loans.” I guess this may work for some of us, depending on how often we go home and if our banks allow us to make annual payments…
Set up a Citibank account in the US and one in Korea. Pay the bank fees. It’s all under one roof. Done! Now, get back to teaching English and making money in Korea.