Banking Regulations for Foreign Account Holders
While some banking rules and proceedures apply equally to Korean and non-Korean account holders, there are also differing rules for each group.
1) International Access to your Korean Bank Account
This is one area where foreign residents are treated differently. When a foreign resident opens a bank account and receives an ATM card and/or a debit card, that card will be usually be for domestic use only. In other words, it cannot be used abroad - even if it shows the international access symbols (but often it will say something like 'For Use in Korea only'.
It is possible to acquire an international access ATM card. However, you will only be allowed to have access to one Korean bank (even if you have more than one account). You choose which bank you wish to designate for this purposed. Apparently this is a result of instructions emanating from the Foreign Currency Transaction Act.
Tell the teller in the bank you wish to access internationally that you want an international card. You will be given a form to sign that states that you have designated this bank as your only source of international access to your money. (Note you can designate another bank, but you will have to cancel the first designation). The process is refered to by banking staff as a 'bank designation' process.
Foreign Residents can only send out or withdraw the equivalent of USD50,000 in a given year without proof of earnings and paid taxes. This amount includes credit card purchases on a Korean credit card, as well. (This applies only to Foreign Residents). Foreign residents who wish to send out more than the minimum can do so by providing employement and tax records that confirm their income and prove that the required taxes are being paid.
Note: Not all banks are issuing international access cards to their foreign customers. In some case, the bank policy allows it, but the branch won't do it. Don't despair...shop around.
2) Different Debit cards for Foreign Account Holders
Foreign account holders receive debit cards that are different from those issued to Korean customers. They work the same, but may have a different look. Some users have found that some vendors don't accept the debit cards issued to 'foreigners' but they are the exception and not the rule. The advantage of the foreigner debit card, is that your transaction summary is sent to you in English.
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Last Updated on 2012-07-19
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