Korea’s T-Money Card: The Ultimate Guide 2024

Want to know where to buy a T-Money Card in Korea? Unfamiliar with how to use it and what the main advantages of it are? Not sure about how to pay for transportation tickets, what the fares will be, and whether you’ll have the right change? This ultimate guide to the T-Money Card, the best Korean transportation card, will solve all your problems.

Find out where to buy a T-Money Card at Incheon Airport and other locations in Korea, learn how to top-up your card in Korea and where to top-up, and also discover the many benefits of using a T-Money Card. This in-depth article will answer all your T-Money queries quickly and easily.

This comprehensive guide is updated regularly to bring you the latest information about changes and additional ways to use the T-Money Card. There are also lots of my own tips about how to use the T-Money Card, where it can be used, and lots of really useful travel advice for visiting Korea.

For those who prefer to watch a video version of this article, please watch it here:

Korea’s T-Money Card: The Ultimate Guide 2024

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What Is The T-Money Card

The T-Money Card is the essential Korean transportation card

The T-Money Card is a prepaid transportation card that can be used to pay for public transportation in cities across Korea, including buses and subways. It provides cash-free travel around Korean cities, and takes the hassle out of to get around Korea and buying tickets for each journey.

When you use the T-Money Card, you pay less for subway and bus fares. It literally pays for itself.

The T-Money Card can be used to pay for a range of items and services, including taxi charges, items in convenience stores, entrance fees for attractions, vending machines, and food and beverages in restaurants. Anywhere you see the T-Money logo (above), you can pay with T-Money Card.

Why Do I Need A T-Money Card In Korea?

Korea is fast becoming a cash-free society and in recent years Korea’s buses have moved away from accepting cash payments. Almost a quarter of all buses in Seoul are now cash-free and you can’t pay with cash at all on Daejeon’s buses. This will likely be the norm everywhere in Korea very soon.

Even when you can buy tickets in cash, it’s inconvenient making sure you have the right cash available (no change is given on buses). Queueing up to buy a ticket at a crowded subway station is a real hassle when you could just touch-and-go straight through the barriers with a T-Money Card.

The biggest reason is the two rates to travel in Korea’s subways and buses – one for cash and one for transportation cards like the T-Money Card. The rate for the T-Money Card is lower, meaning you’ll save money when you travel with a T-Money Card, as you can see in the table below:

Transport TypeT-Money PriceCash Price
Bus ₩1,500₩1,600

*Bus fares in Seoul rose to ₩1,500 from August 2023. However, it hasn’t been confirmed whether cash and T-Money costs will be the same now or not.

Quick Summary

Here’s a summary of the T-Money Card and why you should get one when you travel to Korea.

What Is T-Money:T-Money is an electronic payment system for Korean public transportation that allows people to travel without using cash.
Where Is T-Money Accepted:T-Money is accepted on buses and subways in most Korean cities and can be used in certain convenience stores, shops, restaurants, and attractions.
Where To Buy T-Money:You can buy T-Money from Incheon Airport, convenience stores, and subway and bus stations. T-Money is included with other cards, such as WOWPASS.
Cost Of T-Money:The price of a T-Money Card depends on where you purchase it, but typically costs ₩3,000 in convenience stores and ₩4,000 at Incheon Airport.
Why Get T-Money:You will need T-Money to travel reliably on Korean public transport. It also saves money vs. the regular fare on buses and subways.
Summary information about the T-Money Card

Planning to visit Korea? These travel essentials will help you plan your trip, get the best deals, and save you time and money before and during your Korean adventure.

Visas & K-ETA: Some travellers to Korea need a Tourist Visa, but most can travel with a Korean Electronic Travel Authorisation (K-ETA). Currently 22 Countries don’t need either one.

How To Stay Connected: Pre-order a Korean Sim Card or a WiFi Router to collect on-arrival at Incheon Airport (desks open 24-hours). Alternatively, download a Korean eSIM for you travels.

Where To Stay: For Seoul, I recommend Myeongdong (convenient), Hongdae (cool culture) or Gangnam (shopping). For Busan, Haeundae (Beach) or Seomyeon (Downtown).

Incheon Airport To Seoul: Take the Airport Express (AREX) to Seoul Station or a Limo Bus across Seoul. Book an Incheon Airport Private Transfer and relax to or from the airport.

Korean Tour Operators: Tour companies that have a big presence in Korea include Klook, Trazy, Viator, and Get Your Guide. These sites offer discounted entry tickets for top attractions.

Seoul City Passes: Visit Seoul’s top attractions for free with a Discover Seoul Pass or Go City Seoul Pass. These passes are great for families and couples visiting Seoul – you can save lots.

How To Get Around: For public transport, grab a T-Money Card. Save money on Korea’s high speed trains with a Korea Rail Pass. To see more of Korea, there are many rental car options from Klook, EconomyBookings, and RentalCars.

Travel Money: Use money exchanges near Myeongdong and Hongdae subway stations for the best exchange rates. Order a Wise Card or WOWPASS to pay by card across Korea.

Flights To Korea: I use flight comparison sites such as Expedia and Skyscanner to find the best flights to Korea from any country. Air Asia is a good option for budget flights from Asia.

Travel Insurance: It is important to insure your trips to protect yourself against the unexpected. World Nomad is a specialized travel insurance provider with options for different coverage for travellers from around the world. You can also purchase cover when you are already travelling.

How To Learn Korean: The language course from 90 Day Korean or Korean Class 101 both have well-structured lessons and lots of useful resources to help you learn Korean.

Where To Buy A T-Money Card

Sign showing where to buy t-money cards at Incheon Airport

T-Money Cards are available in many places in Korea, including at Incheon Airport, in convenience stores, and in public transportation stations. This section of the T-Money Guide will show you where to buy a T-Money Card in each of these different locations and extra services that include T-Money.

Buy T-Money At The Incheon Airport, Seoul

The most convenient place for most travellers to get a T-Money Card is at Incheon Airport in the Transit Centre (Floor B1) of Terminal 1 or Terminal 2. There are vending machines that sell the Korea Tour Card, which is the tourist-friendly version of the T-Money Card that comes with extra benefits.

Follow the directions to the ‘Airport Railroad‘ in either terminal and it will lead you to the B1 Transit Centre. The T-Money Card vending machines will be well signposted and located next to the All-Stop subway train, which is the subway to central Seoul that you can pay for with T-Money.

Please note: If you arrive at Incheon Airport Terminal 1, the Transit Centre is the only place you can buy a T-Money Card (Korea Tour Card). The CU convenience stores in Terminal 1 don’t sell T-Money Cards. In Terminal 2, you can buy T-Money Cards from GS25 and 7/11 convenience stores.

How to buy T-Money card At Incheon Airport Transit Centre:

It’s easy to buy a T-Money Card from the Transit Centre. Head to the All-Stop train station where the T-Money Card vending machines are located. You must have cash (KRW) to purchase at the vending machines, as well as cash to top-up the balance afterwards.

Here are the 4 steps required to buy a T-Money Card from the vending machine:

1: Insert Cash

The cost of the Korea Travel Card (hereafter called T-Money Card) is ₩4,000. Insert cash into the machine. Change is available.

Inserting money to buy a T-Money Card

2: Press The Number

Like a normal vending machine, press the number of the card you want to buy. Don’t select a number which is empty.

Selecting a number on a keypad

3: Press The Green Button

To confirm your purchase, press the green button at the bottom of the keypad.

Green button to confirm transaction

4: Collect Your T-Money Card

The vending machine will collect your T-Money Card and dispense it to you.

T-money card being dispensed

Once the T-Money Card has been dispensed, don’t forget to collect any change from the vending machine. To top-up, take it to the ticket machines outside the All-Stop terminal. Full details about how to top-up will be included in the section ‘How To Top-Up A T-Money Card

Need Cash For T-Money?

One issue with T-Money is that it can only be topped-up using cash (KRW). Unfortunately, airport money exchanges typically give bad exchange rates. You can get better rates by taking the Airport Express non-stop train into Seoul and changing money in Myeongdong or Hongdae, or by ordering a Korean sim card from Klook with a T-Money Card with a preloaded balance of 5,000 KRW or 10,000 KRW.

Where to Buy A T-Money Card In Korea

I recommend buying a T-Money Card at the Incheon Airport Transit Centre. However, if you’re not arriving in Korea at Incheon Airport, want to get a card with a cuter design, or want to save money by combining T-Money with other services, here are 6 other places where you can buy T-Money Cards.

T-Money Card from Ticket Machine At Subway Station

Buy T-Money At A Subway Station In Korea

Subway stations in Korea sell the basic version of the T-Money Card, which comes with no balance. You can usually top-up from the same machine that dispenses them.

Price: ₩2,500

T-Money Card a Korean Convenience Store

Buy T-Money At A Convenience Store In Korea

Korean convenience stores, including GS25 and 7/11, sell T-Money Cards with their own designs. These come with no balance but can be topped up straight after purchase with cash.

Price: ₩3,000

T-Money Vending Machine At Airport Express Station

Buy T-Money On The Airport Express

It is possible to buy a T-Money card inside the subway stations along the Airport Express all-stop train between Incheon Airport and other parts of Seoul. You can even personalise this card and add your own picture to the card.

Price: From ₩6,000

Klook Logo

Buy T-Money From Klook

Klook offers a combined Korean sim card and T-Money package that comes with a T-Money Card with Klook’s own cute design. You save money on both the T-Money Card and sim card with this combined package.

Price: From ₩32,500

WOWPASS With T-Money Functions

Get T-Money With The WOWPASS

The WOWPASS is a travel money card that allows you to pay for goods and services like a local. It includes T-Money functions and the WOWPASS Airport Package comes with ₩10,000 T-Money balance included.

Price: From ₩5,000

T-Money Card With Discover Seoul Pass
Image credit: Discover Seoul Pass

Get T-Money With The Discover Seoul Pass

The Discover Seoul Pass is a city-pass that offers free entry to dozens of premium attractions in Seoul. It also includes T-Money functions to allow you to travel on public transport without having to buy a separate T-Money Card.

Price: From ₩50,000

You can also buy T-Money cards from stationery stores like ArtBox. ArtBox is a popular place to buy souvenirs and cute stationery. They also have their own line of T-Money Cards with ever-changing fun designs for you to collect. There is no T-Money balance and the cards cost more.

How Much Does The T-Money Card Cost?

The price of the T-Money Card is ₩2,500 for the standard T-Money Card that is sold at public transportation stations in Korea. This does not include any credit and you will need to add funds to the card before you can use it. The cost of the Korea Travel Card at Incheon Airport is ₩4,000.

T-Money Cards from other locations, such as convenience stores and stationery stores, which include special artworks, typically cost more money. The cost of T-Money can be free when it is included in another service, such as the WOWPASS or Discover Seoul Pass.

Where Can You Buy Special T-Money Designs?

If you want to buy a T-Money Card with an interesting design, there are several options in Korea. The stationery store ARTBOX offers some cute designs with their own characters, as do convenience stores. These cards have the same functions as a regular T-Money Card and work the same way.

Please note: T-Money Cards with unique designs are a bit more expensive – around ₩5,000 to ₩6,000 per card. The base cost of a T-Money Card is ₩2,500. These can make nice gifts or souvenirs and as the T-Money Card doesn’t expire, you can use them every time you visit Korea.

BTS-Themed T-Money Cards

BTS ARMY members may want to get a special souvenir of their time in Korea and can do so with a BTS-themed T-Money Card. These special edition BTS T-Money Cards work the same as regular T-Money Cards, but come with 7 different designs, one for each member of the hit group, BTS.

These aren’t widely available, and new versions replace older versions frequently. If you want to buy a BTS-themed T-Money Card, you can find them in some convenience stores or in K-Pop merchandise stores in areas such as Gangnam, Hongdae, or in the Dongdaemun Design Plaza.

Where Can You Use T-Money In Korea?

Bus Stop And Traffic In Seoul

The T-Money Card is primarily a transportation card that can be used to pay for bus and subway journeys in most Korean cities. However, it also functions as a payment card that can be used to make small purchases in certain Korean shops, cafes, restaurants, and attractions.

If you bought the Korea Tour Card from the Incheon Airport Transit Centre, you will be eligible for discounts at tourist attractions, shops, entertainment, restaurants, and other locations. For example, you get 30% off entry fees at N Seoul Tower and 20% off entry fees at COEX Aquarium.

Here are the places you can use the T-Money Card in Korea:

Korean blue bus

On Buses

It’s really simple to use T-Money on Korea’s buses. Touch the T-Money Card to the card reader when you enter the bus to start your journey, then touch it again when you exit the bus. In most city buses in Korea you enter at the front of the bus and get off in the middle. There will be a T-Money Card reader in both locations.

Most bus journeys cost the same price, however, if your bus travels more than 10km, you will be charged an extra fee. If you don’t tap-off when you leave the bus, you may be charged this fee.

Using Korea Tour Card on Seoul Subway

On The Subway

The T-Money Card is accepted on all subway systems in Korea, including in Seoul, Busan, Daejeon, and Gwangju, Touch the T-Money Card when you enter the security gates at the start of your journey, then touch again to exit. If you run out of credit, there are machines inside the gates to top-up (but you’ll need cash).

Like bus journeys, most short journeys on the subway will be the same fee. If you travel a long way on the subway, or make many transfers, the fee can be higher.

Transfer discounts: When you transfer between subway or bus rides within 30 minutes, you’ll get a discount on your next ride as long as you tapped-off when on your previous journey. Also, if you accidentally enter the wrong subway gate, you can leave within 10 minutes for free on some lines.

People waiting to use a Kakao Taxi

For Taxis

You can use a T-Money Card to pay for taxis in Korea. It’s quick, easy, and allows you to avoid using a credit card or having the right change. As long as the taxi driver has the T-Money logo displayed, you can pass your T-Money Card to the driver who will touch it to the card reader and complete the payment.

You can call taxis directly to you using the Kakao Taxi app, which is available on Android and iPhone and can be used in English, Korean, and Chinese. My guide to using Kakao Taxi will show you how to order and pay for a taxi in Korea.

Shops in Seoul

For Shopping

The T-Money Card is really useful when you want to buy small items, such as a bottle of water, coffee, or some snacks. When you see the T-Money logo, you can use the card to pay for goods and services. You can use T-Money to pay for purchases in convenience stores (CU, GS25, Emart 24, 7/11).

You can use the T-Money Card in Korea’s supermarkets and chain stores, including Home Plus (supermarket) Emart (supermarket) Face Shop (cosmetics) Innisfree (cosmetics) Tony Moly (cosmetics) and others.

Using the T-Money Card for shopping: As the T-Money Card needs to be topped-up in cash (KRW), using it for shopping isn’t really that convenient. Instead, I recommend getting a WOWPASS in Korea, or bringing a travel money card like the Wise Travel Card or Revolut Travel Card.

Starbucks Coffee

In Cafes

Food and beverage outlets also accept the T-Money Card, including Starbucks, McDonald’s, Angel-in-Us Coffee, Ediya Coffee, Gong Cha Tea, and Paris Baguette and more.

It’s best to check for the T-Money logo before trying to pay with your T-Money Card or asking if T-Money is accepted. Again, using the T-Money Card is possible for this, but usually not the most convenient way to pay.

Baseball glove

At Attractions

You can use T-Money to pay for entry fees for major attractions, including theme parks and sports stadiums, as well as other locations like pay-phones and vending machines.

Here are some of the locations you can use T-Money: vending machines, public pay-phones, Everland theme park, sports stadiums (including Wyverns Baseball Club), and at festivals (to pay for food and drinks).

Where Can’t You Use T-Money In Korea?

You can’t use T-Money to pay for intercity train tickets, including the KTX – Korea’s high speed train network. You also can’t enter intercity buses and pay with T-Money like you can when entering a regular city bus. However, you can use T-Money to buy intercity bus tickets and board with those.

Generally, the T-Money Card is accepted in major cities across Korea, especially destinations popular with tourists. If T-Money isn’t accepted, there will be other options available, such as using Cashbee or paying with cash.

How To Top-Up A T-Money Card

T-Money Card ticket and vending machine

The T-Money Card can be recharged (reloaded) at subway stations and convenience stores throughout Korea. Vending machines at subway stations are the easiest locations to recharge a T-Money Card and will also allow you to check your balance before or after the top-up

You can only top-up the T-Money Card with cash. Credit cards aren’t accepted for top-ups.

These machines can be found in each major city in Korea where you can use T-Money. They are available in Korean, English, Japanese, and Chinese. These T-Money recharging machines only accept cash and the T-Money Card can’t be reloaded with a credit card.

This is how to top-up a T-Money Card using a ticket machine in subway stations in Korea. The T-Money card can only be topped-up using cash and can’t be topped up using credit or debit cards or money transfers. This method works for other transportation cards in Korea, too.

1: Go to a ticket machine in a subway station

Go to a ticket vending or transportation card at a subway station. These machines are usually close to the entrance barriers to the subway inside the station.

T-Money Card Charging Machines

2: Select ‘Recharge Transportation Card’

Change the language of the ticket recharge machine as desired, then select ‘Recharging the Transit Card’ or a similar option to begin to top-up your T-Money Card.

T-Money Ticket Vending & Card Reload Machine

3: Select the value to top-up

Select the amount of money that you wish to add to your existing T-Money balance. The screen should show you what balance the T-Money Card already has. New T-Money Cards usually have no balance. You can recharge the T-Money Card with as little as 1,000 Korean won.

Selecting T-Money Recharge Amount

4: Confirm the value to top-up

Once you’ve selected the desired amount you wish to top-up the T-Money Card with in Korean won, confirm the top-up value by pressing ‘confirm’ on the screen.. You should select the amount that you have available in cash as you can’t top-up the T-Money Card in any other way.

Confirming T-Money Recharge Amount

5: Insert cash

To top-up a T-Money card, enter cash into the ticket vending machine up to the value you wish to top-up. Insert each bank note separately. Please note: only KRW can be used to top-up a T-Money Card.

Paying Korean Won For T-Money Card Charging

6: Place your t-Money Card on the card reader

After inserting cash to top-up your T-Money Card, place your T-Money Card on the card recharge plate, which is usually located below the main screen of the recharging machine. Make sure the card is placed flat on the reader.

Card Charge With T-Money Card

7: Wait for the T-Money Card to be recharged

The T-Money Card will be recharged once the recharging machine recognised the T-Money Card placed on the card recharge plate. Wait for the recharge to complete, which should take about 5 to 10 seconds in total.

T-Money Card Charging

8: Take your T-Money Card and start using it

Once the T-Money Card has been topped-up, take the card from the card recharge plate and you can use it to travel on the subway, on buses, and in other places. Tap to start your journey, and tap again when you finish.

Korea Tour Card T-Money Card Subway

Besides subway stations, you can also recharge a T-Money Card at a convenience store. The same rule about only charging with cash applies. You can’t recharge a T-Money Card with a credit or debit card. Here’s how to top-up the T-Money Card at convenience stores in Korea:

1: Go To A Convenience Store

Go to any major convenience store in Seoul or other towns and cities across Korea, including CU, GS25, Emart 24, and 7/11.

T-Money Card at a GS25 Convenience Store

2: Ask To Top-Up T-Money

Show your T-Money Card to the cashier and ask to top-up the balance. Use Papago to translate into Korean if you’re not sure what to say.

Giving a T-Money card to a cashier

3: Give the amount of cash to top-up to the cashier

You can only use cash to top-up T-Money balances, so make sure you have cash available to pay with. Give it to the cashier.

Paying cash to top-up a T-Money Card

4: Place your T-Money Card On the Card Reader

Place your T-Money Card on the electronic card reader and wait for confirmation from the cashier that the balance has been updated.

T-Money card being recharged at a convenience store

There is a T-Money office at Seoul Station where you can ask for advice, purchase & reload the card, and get your remaining balance refunded when you leave Korea. T-Money Headquarters Address: 1st Floor. T-money Town, Seoul City Tower Building, Namdaemun-ro 5-Ga, Jung-gu, Seoul.

How Much Money Should I Add To A T-Money Card?

How much money to add to a T-Money Card depends on how you intend to use it. If you will use your T-Money Card mostly for transportation, I recommend adding ₩10,000 per day. This should cover all subway / bus travel costs within a city like Seoul, which cost ₩1,400 /₩1,500 per journey.

If you plan to use your T-Money Card to pay for small purchases, such as snacks, bottled water, and coffee, then add ₩20,000 per day, which includes transportation costs. A coffee in Seoul costs between ₩2,000 – ₩5,000, water is ₩1,000, and snacks from ₩1,000 – ₩5,000.

When you first top-up a T-Money Card, add ₩50,000 for the starting balance. This balance should last most travellers for a week if they use their T-Money Card just for bus and subway rides. You can check your balance during your travels and top-up when the balance gets low (under₩ 5,000).

Can You Recharge A T-Money Card With A Credit Card?

It is not possible to recharge a T-Money Card with a credit or debit card. Only cash can be used to top-up the T-Money Card. There are restrictions that only allow cash top-ups. The app version of T-Money can be topped-up by card payments or online transfers, but not physical T-Money Cards.

How To Your Check T-Money Card Balance

There are a number of ways to check your balance. When you use the T-Money Card on the subway or a bus, the electronic card reader will show you the fee for the ride and the remaining balance. This is the most common way to check your balance.

You can also check your card balance at subway ticket machines and T-Money recharge stations. When you recharge your card, it will show your balance before you add credit. This is a good way to check your balance, even if you don’t intend to recharge the T-Money Card right then.

Using T-Money Mobile App To Check Your Balance

The T-Money mobile app is an online-only version of T-Money that doesn’t come with a card. Instead, you can use your phone’s NFC function to use your T-Money balance. You can also use your phone’s NFC function to scan a physical T-Money Card and check the balance when logged into the app.

However, I don’t recommend using the T-Money mobile app to check your T-Money balance. There have been reports by travellers in Korea that the app sometimes accidentally wipes the T-Money Card, making it useless. I can’t confirm this myself, but it is much easier to check your balance elsewhere.

How To Refund A T-Money Card Balance

Piggy bank

You can refund the existing balance of your T-Money Card at major convenience stores and subway stations across Korea, as well as at the T-Money headquarters in Seoul. These are the locations you can top-up a T-Money Card. Refunds will be paid in cash and partial refunds aren’t possible.

There’s a ₩500 fee to refund a T-Money balance, which is deducted from the existing balance. The cost of the T-Money Card won’t be refunded, but you can keep the T-Money Card after the balance is refunded. The T-Money Card doesn’t expire, so you can use it if you visit Korea again.

The T-Money Card doesn’t expire. Keep it for future trips or give it to a friend who is visiting later.

Tip: The credit balance on the T-Money Card will stay active for 5 years from the date of the last top-up. If you plan to visit Korea again in the next 5 years and have a small balance left, it might be best to keep the balance on your T-Money Card so you don’t need to top-up the card when you return.

Alternative Korean Transportation Cards & 1 bonus

Cashbee transit card CU Store Korea

There are several alternative transportation cards to T-Money, including the Cashbee Card (pictured above), Namane Card, which uses Rail+, and varieties of the T-Money Card that offer slightly different benefits from the original T-Money Card. Here’s a summary of those cards and what they offer:

Cashbee Transportation Card

Cashbee Card

The Cashbee Card by Lotte can be purchased and used in most of the same locations as T-Money. You can purchase a Cashbee Card at convenience stores and subway stations across Korea. The CU chain of convenience stores only offers the Cashbee Card, not T-Money.

The Cashbee card can be used to pay for journeys on buses and subway across Korea. Tap the card when you enter the bus or subway, then tap again when you finish your journey. Transfer discounts should also be applied. Cashbee can be used in Lotte shops, including Lotte Department Store and Lotte Cinema.

Price: ₩2,500

Where to buy: Convenience stores, subway

Namane Card Seoul Station

Namane Card

The Namane Card by KB Bank uses the Rail+ transportation card system by Korail, Korea’s national train service. One big advantage the Namane Card has over T-Money and Cashbee is you can use it to pay for train services, including Korea’s high-speed KTX trains.

The other big difference with the Namane Card is that you can personalise your card by uploading pictures of yourself or other designs you upload using the Namane app. The Namane Card is available from locations across Korea, including inside major train stations, department stores, stationery stores, and book shops.

Price: ₩7,000

Where to buy: Convenience stores, subway, Namane machines, online from Klook

Korea Tour Card And Box

Korea Tour Card

The Korea Tour Card was designed for tourists travelling to Korea and provides not only with the standard T-Money functions, but also offers lots of discounts. This is the version of T-Money that’s available at Incheon Airport.

Price: ₩4,000

Buy: Incheon Airport

Discover Seoul Pass Image
Image credit: Discover Seoul Pass

Discover Seoul Pass

The Discover Seoul Pass is a city-pass that offers free entry to more than 50 premium attractions in Seoul. It also includes T-Money functions to allow you to travel on public transport without having to buy one. Discover Seoul Pass comes in flavours of 24, 48, and 72 hours validity, and only starts counting down starting when you use it for the first free benefit.

Price: from ₩50,000

Buy: Online from Klook

Creatrip X Bellygom Transportation Card

Creatrip X Bellygom Transportation Card

The Creatrip X Bellygom transportation card is a colourful travel card from Creatrip, which really stands out thanks to its bright pink picture of Bellygom, a popular Korean character that’s big on YouTube. With the ‘Decoration Card’ feature, you can make your own special transportation card, too. This makes it a lovely souvenir of your trip.

Please note: this card is a version of Cashbee and can be used and charged in all the same locations as Cashbee can.

This card comes with ₩5,000 loaded, which means you don’t need to worry about charging it at the airport (which should be done in cash). Simply collect the card at Incheon Airport (either terminal) or Gimpo Airport and then take the all-stop train straight into Seoul with it. It’s really convenient.

You can use the Creatrip X Bellygom transportation card to pay for public transportation across Korea, as well as in franchises such as Paris Baguette, Baskin Robbins, Angel In Us, and Lotte Mart.

Price: Around ₩10,200 (includes ₩5,000 balance)

Buy: Online from Creatrip.

202405 climate card tourist pass
Image credit: Seoul Metropolitan Government

Climate Card Tourist Pass

The Climate Card Tourist Pass is a new public transport card that will give visitors unlimited access to Seoul’s subway, bus system for 1, 2, 3, or 5 days. n addition to getting unlimited access to Seoul’s public transport, tourist pass users can also benefit from the same discounts for cultural and performance facilities that are applied to the Climate Card, such as 50% off admission to the Seoul Science Center and Seoul Grand Park.

For more information, please read the Climate Card Seoul Tourist Pass Guide.

Your complete Guide for Driving in Korea

Bonus: Driving in Korea

If taking public transport is not your style of travelling, consider driving in South Korea. You’ll get to see things outside of the bigger cities, and also added convenient of not following rigid timetables. Check out our guide on driving in Korea for foreigners!

Tip: The Discover Seoul Pass includes a free Airport Express journey from Incheon Airport to Seoul. This can be useful to get yourself into the city before you top-up the T-Money balance on the card. Find out more tips and ways to use the pass in my list of Discover Seoul Pass itineraries.

Is The T-Money Card Worth Buying?

So, if you’ve read all this and you’re still not sure if you should get a T-Money Card or not, here is a simple summary to show why you might want to get one. This is based on my personal experience of using a T-Money Card, as well as opinions shared from members of my Korea Travel Group.

Saves time when travelling as no need to queue for tickets Need to recharge the card (but you can do that where you use it)
Reduces the need to carry cash Can’t use a credit card to recharge
The T-Money Card doesn’t expire (balance expires after 5 years)Doesn’t allow you to personalise the card (Namane Card does)
Can be used across Korea
Makes travelling a lot more convenient
A variety of interesting card designs
Advantages and disadvantages of the T-Money Card

For travellers who want to pay for transportation across Korea’s bus and subway networks, the T-Money Card will be perfect and an essential purchase. However, if you’re looking for a way to pay for goods, services, and attractions in Korea, then the T-Money Card isn’t really what you’re looking for.

Instead of the T-Money Card to pay for things in Korea, I recommend getting a WOWPASS or Wise Travel Money Card. These are both more convenient and allow you pay in Korea using your card’s balance, which can be topped up in foreign currency (WOWPASS) or by bank transfer (Wise).

Learn more: Check out my guide to using Wise in Korea to learn how to get a Wise card, who is eligible, how to activate the Wise card, and all the ways it can save on your travel money expenses.

The T-Money Card is really useful and I can’t imagine travelling in Korea without one. I’d recommend buying one when you arrive in Korea. If you want to know more about T-Money and its alternatives, you can find lots of useful information in my complete South Korea travel guide.

Tips For Using T-Money In Korea

Here are a few quick tips to help you use the T-Money Card more effectively when in Korea:

1: Check the remaining balance as you travel so that you don’t run out by accident.

2: Don’t top-up too much. I’d recommend adding ₩50,000 starting balance and then ₩20,000 – ₩30,000 each time after that. Maybe less if you don’t plan to travel much.

3: Buy one as soon as you arrive. Get a Korea Tour Card at Incheon Airport.

4: Make use of the T-Money Card when you are shopping in convenience stores. You’ll end up with a lot less change.

5: Store the T-Money Card away from other cards that can be used to pay by touch as card readers can be confused by multiple cards.

Frequently Asked Questions

Finally, here are a few FAQs about using the T-Money card in Korea, in case the above information didn’t cover enough for you. If you have any other questions you’d like to ask, feel free to leave a comment.

Where can I use the T-Money Card?

The T-Money Card can be used on public transportation in Korea, including for subway and bus journeys. Furthermore, the T-Money Card can be used to make purchases in convenience stores, cafes, shops, at vending machines, and in a range of attractions.

Can I use a T-Money Card on the subway?

The T-Money Card can be used on the subway in several cities in Korea, including Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, Daejeon, and Incheon.

Can I use a T-Money Card to pay for taxis?

The T-Money Card can be used to pay for taxis where the T-Money logo is displayed. Be sure to check the card has the correct balance remaining to cover the taxi fare before using a taxi.

What happens if I run out of credit when using the T-Money Card?

If you run out of money on your T-Money Card when using the subway, you can top-up at a payment machine inside the subway stations before you enter or exit the station. When travelling on buses, you won’t be able to use the T-Money Card on the bus if there isn’t enough credit available. You will need to top-up your T-Money balance before boarding a bus.

Can I use the T-Money Card outside of Seoul?

The T-Money Card can be used across Korea, not just in Seoul. It can be used for public transportation in all major cities, as well as on Jeju Island. The T-Money Card can also be used for purchases in convenience stores, shops, cafes, restaurants, and attractions where the T-Money logo is displayed.

How much does the T-Money Card cost?

The base cost of the T-Money Card is 2,500 Korean won. This doesn’t include credit, which must be purchased separately. The cost of the card is non-refundable, but outstanding balances on the card can be refunded. T-Money Cards with unique designs cost more and the Korea Tour Card, which is available at Incheon Airport, costs ₩4,000.

Can I pay for the T-Money Card with a credit card?

You can purchase the original T-Money Card with a credit card, but you won’t be able to add credit or reload the T-Money Card with a credit card. Only cash is accepted for T-Money Card recharging.

Does the T-Money Card expire?

The T-Money Card doesn’t expire and can be used on multiple trips to Korea. However, credit balances on the card will expire after 5 years after the date of the last top-up or usage if not used. Once used, the 5 year period will be extended.

Which cities can you use the T-Money Card in?

You can use the T-Money card to ride the subway in Seoul and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province, Incheon, Daejeon, Daegu, Busan, and Gwangju. You can also use the T-Money card on bus networks across Korea, including all major cities. The T-Money can also be used for intercity buses. However, unlike city buses, it is necessary to buy tickets for these buses before you ride.

Where can you buy a T-Money Card at Incheon Airport?

You can buy the T-Money Card from multiple locations at terminals 1 and 2 of Incheon Airport. There is a transportation centre on Basement 1 level of Terminal 1 that sells T-Money Cards (Korea Tour Cards) in a vending machine. You can also buy T-Money Cards at Incheon Airport from convenience stores, such as 7-11 and GS25. The CU convenience store chain in Terminal 1 doesn’t sell T-Money Cards, only Cashbee Cards, which are similar.

Where can I create a personalised T-Money Card?

You can create your own T-Money Card with your own photos on the card at certain subway and train stations in Seoul. These include Seoul Station, Hongik University Subway Station, and Digital Media City Subway Station. Upload photos from your phone or take a photo in front of the machine. Once you’ve chosen your design, the card will be printed and will be ready to use once you’ve topped it up. You can top-up the personalised T-Money Card at nearby top-up machines at Seoul Station or subway stations across Seoul.

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About the author

Hi! My name is Joel, I'm the author of In My Korea and writer of this article. I've lived, worked and travelled in Korea since 2015 and want to share my insights, stories and tips to help you have the best experience during your trip to Korea.

I love learning more about Korean culture, hiking the many mountains, and visiting all the coolest places in Korea, both modern and traditional. If you want to know more about my story, check out the 'about me' section to learn why I love living in Korea.

21 thoughts on “Korea’s T-Money Card: The Ultimate Guide 2024”

  1. Hi Joel,

    Quick question… For the Korean T-Card, is there ability to get a transaction history (or Ride History) of where I tapped my card?

    For example, my Los Angeles Tap Card for my and kids use for Buses and Trains, I register the TAP Card… If I need to know Ride History, I can go the TAP card website and obtain “Ride History.”



    • Hi Mike,

      I’ve not actually tried it, but you might be able to see the history if you use the T-Money app with the mobile version of the card.

      I had a look on the T-Money site (which is very basic), but couldn’t see any details about it. I guess just try it and see is the best answer I can give, sorry. I use the card function myself but never see the history of it.

      Good luck,


  2. Great article. Plan on trip starting at Incheon Airport Apr 2023. Can both myself and my wife use the same card at the same time. ie. we get on and off a bus together. Like scan twice or will we each need a separate card? Thanks-Mark.

    • Hi, thanks for reading. You will need a separate card for each person travelling. On some buses you can ask to charge for two people, but that won’t work on the subway, so it’ll be easier to get one each.

  3. Hi! I really appreciate the detailed information you’ve included about T-money!

    I have some questions. I’m a foreigner and I’ll be teaching English soon. I’m already in South Korea (I arrived beginning of March).

    I didn’t manage to get a T-money card at the airport as I had to quickly be picked up. I’m aware that I can purchase one at a convenience store near me.

    As I have just arrived, there are things I don’t have yet, such as:
    1) My ARC (Alien Registration Card)
    2) Korean bank card – I have my home debit bank card (Mastercard). I also have cash in ₩ on me.
    3) Korean SIM plan

    Will any of this affect me buying and topping up my T-money card?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Hi, welcome to Korea. None of those things will stop you getting a T-Money card or topping it up. However, if you’re going to sign up for a Korean bank card, you can ask to have the ‘pay-on’ feature in your bank card so it will work just like a T-Money card. Therefore, you won’t need to get a T-Money card once you have your bank account. People here don’t really use T-Money cards when they can use their bank cards.

  4. Hi, thank you for this article.
    I just got a T-Money card from a Korean store here in India. It’s the BTS PROOF edition T-Money card. Sitting in India, I was wondering how I could recharge it right away?
    I am visiting Korea next month. 🙂

    • Hi, thanks for reading.
      You can recharge the T-Money card as soon as you arrive in Korea at the airport. Either recharge it at the travel centre at Incheon Airport, or go to any convenience store and ask them to add credit to it.
      You can only top up with cash, so you’ll need some Korean won to do that.
      Have a good trip.

  5. Hi,

    Thanks for the info…
    We’re a family of 4(2 adults & 2 teens), do we need to purchase 4 T-Money cards?



  6. Hi there! I have Cashbee cards from a previous trip, I can’t remember why I picked those over T-money cards last time around but suppose if I did it’s because they were fairly equivalent. Do you know if that’s still the case? No reason for me to leave them at home and get T-money cards, right?

    • Cashbee does work, yeah, but it’s not as widely used outside of the major cities. As per their own website “Transportation : Bus, Subway, Taxi (Some buses at Jeonnam, Jeonbuk, Gyeongbuk, and Gyengnam Will be available later on.)” Those are all large provinces in Korea and if you plan to travel to more places in Korea, T-Money might be a better option as it works in those places (as far as I know). The only place I’ve had a problem with T-Money is Sokcho, so maybe bring both just in case.

  7. Hi! Thank you so much for the info. For the T-money vending machines in the airport, do they open 24 hours? My flight arrives at 2AM-ish, and I wonder if I can still get the t-money 😀 Thank you

    • I believe the base card is still 2,500 KRW, but the cost depends on where you buy it. Most places at Incheon Airport charge a bit more because they offer T-Money cards with their own designs, but usually no more than 3,000 or 4,000 KRW. If you get a WOWPASS, which is only 5,000 KRW, you get a T-Money card included with that.


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