T-money - Transit Smart Card
The T-money card is a rechargeable smart card that can be used to pay public transit fares in the Seoul-Gyeonggi areas as well in other cities around Korea (bus, underground/metro, taxi) as well as purchases in designated areas.
The T-money card can be used to pay subway and bus and taxi travel. It can even be used to pay for purchases in a number of locations. Users can also build mileage points that can be used to pay fares later on.
The card sells for W2500 and can be purchased in nearly all convenience stores and subway ticket booths. Users of the T-money card receive a discount on bus and subway fares (W100) and can transfer without additional charges.
T-money cards allow you to transfer from one bus line to another, or from a subway to a bus (or vice versa) at no extra charge, as long as you board the next leg within 30 minutes of getting off the bus/subway. Just tap your card on the sensors as you get on and off the subway or bus, and your total fare will be calculated as if you were on one long subway/bus ride.
T-money can also be used on taxis with a triangular yellow sign on their roofs, which is usually an indicator that they accept check card and T-money fare payments (pretty much all taxis in Seoul do now). Most major convenience store chains accept T-money for purchases, and many amusement parks, vending machines, palaces and museums are starting to accept them as well. In the subway stations, you can use T-money for locker storage.
T-Money cards can be purchased in the subway station as well as at some convenience stores(look for the T-money symbol - shown in image above). T-Money is a prepaid transit card, meaning you “recharge” your card before use. Cards can be charged with amounts from W1,000 up to W90,000 at any subway station via the automatic recharging machines (English instructions are on each machine), and at many convenience stores. Visitors with a balance on their T-money card can get a refund for the remaining amount from any T-money card vendor (less W1,500 – the purchase price of the card).
Only cash can be used to recharge T-money cards. To obtain a receipt, payment should be made at the booth and not at the recharging machine. If you read Korean, it is possible to get a receipt from the machine. If not, someone will help you or you can ask the attendant in the booth.
Refunds on remaining balance or on non-functioning cards are available.
Balance Refund: You can a refund on the balance remaining on your card from the convenience stores that sell them for up to W20,000. They will retain W500. So, if your balance remaining is over W20,000 or less than W500, you will to go to the Smart Card Office. Address: 10th Floor, Seoul City Tower #581, Namdaemunro 5ga, Jong-gu, Seou, 100-741. Map. Contact Center 1688-0120.
Damaged or Defective Cards: If the card is not working, you can get a refund for the full balance as well as the price of the card within one year of the date on which you first used the card. However, if you've used the card for longer than one year or if the card has been damaged as opposed to being defective, only the remaining balance on the card will be refunded.
For more details about the T-money card, visit K4E's T-money information page. (See the Daily LIfe Tab under Public Transportation).
T-money cards are now accepted by transit systems in some areas outside Seoul. Therefore, you can use your T-money card on:
- all Seoul and Incheon buses & subway networks
- any Cheonan and Asan city buses with the T-money symbol in Chungcheongnam-do (province).
Those without the T-money symbol do not accept T-money fare payment.
- all Wonju, Chuncheon and Gangneung city buses in Gangwon-do
- all Andong, Pohang, Gumi, Gwangju, and Mungyeong city buses in Gyeongsangbuk-do
- all Tongyeong and Geoje city buses in Gyeongsangnam-do
- all buses in Jeju.
- transportation systems in Busan
T-Money 'cards' come in many different shapes and sizes: standard credit card form, key chains, cell phone charms, watches, rings, stuffed animals, and for some SK Telecom and KTF subscribers, embedded into cell phones. They can be purchased at subway stations, convenience stores, and even online (Some information available in English on the site - note that registration requires downloading ActiveX). There is no special registration or sign-up required to use one (unless recording mileage points or requesting youth discount card), and they can cost anywhere from 2,500 to 8,000 won, depending on the style of T-Money that you get.
T-money is also available in some specialized forms: Internet T-Money, Mobile T-Money, Seoul City Pass, and Shinhan Tourist Card. (unfortunately, the information on some of these options and how to register for them is still mainly in Korean only on the T-money website):
“Internet T-Money” (must be purchased on-line at the T-money website) refers to T-Money cards that can connect to your computer via USB. This allows for recharging your T-Money over the internet, as well as the ability to use them in online T-Money transactions. Some models of internet T-Money cards have flash memory storage built-in, so you can use them as a USB thumb drive as well.
“Mobile Phone cards” refer to a cell phone with the ability to be used as a T-Money transit card. The information is stored in the USIM card used in supported models of phones by SK Telecom and KTF. LG Telecom does not currently offer phones that can be used as T-Money. These cards work the same as other T-Money cards, with the added benefit that you can check your balance and recharge the card all from your phone.
“Seoul City Pass Card” allows you to ride subways in Seoul, the surrounding Gyeonggi-do area and local buses in Seoul up to 20 times a day without limit on distance. You can also ride the palace route, downtown route, and night view route of Seoul City Tour Bus without limit. (This card cannot be used on busses in the Incheon area, and on red busses in the Gyeonggi-do area). The pricing is 15,000 won for 1 day, 25,000 won for 2 days, and 35,000 won for 3 days. The Seoul City Pass Card also earn the holder a discount at various tourist spots in the city and is good for a 20% on the night view course of the Seoul City Tour Bus.
Note: This card can only be purchased at Incheon International Airport and you will be required to show a valid foreign passport.
“The City Pass Plus Card” is a new, flexible version of the city pass card. The difference is that it has an unlimited validity, and can be 'charged' with an amount of your choice (up to 500,000 Won). Money is then deducted from the card when used at a rate that is a little cheaper than the standard public transport cost. Purchase of the card requires a one time payment of 3000 Won; you are then free to add money to it as you please. The CITY PASS PLUS CARD is valid in Seoul as well as in a number of other major cities and districts. This card may be bought at convenience stores and online at the T-money website.
“The Shinhan Tourist Card” is available through Shinhan Bank. It has the benefit of allowing the holder to make purchases at most all retailers who accept Shinhan cards, as well as T-Money. Other benefits include receiving up to a 90% discount on local and international calls, being granted a preferential exchange rate on money exchange at all Shinhan Bank branches, and a 5-10% discount on purchases over $20 USD at a KTO Duty Free Shop (some goods are excluded).
For more information on the Seoul City Pass Card and the City Pass Plus Card, click here ( Public Transportation Discount Cards in the K4E Visiting Korea - Getting Around Seoul tab).
T-money contact center: 1688-0120. Head Office address and map.
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Last Updated on 2012-08-01
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