How I Use Wise To Send Money To Korea From Other Countries

If you plan to live or travel in Korea and want to spend money from overseas in Korea, or if you want to send money to an expat living in Korea, this article will help you do that. I will explain how I use Wise to send money to Korea in different currencies and how a Wise account can help you manage money between borders without the hassle of expensive bank transfers.

This article covers the benefits of a Wise account, including how you can send money internationally, spend in Korea by card, and how to receive payments from abroad. There’s also information about who can get a Wise account, what currencies you can use, and how to spend and send money.

I’ll also share the best ways to send money from abroad to Korea (including the US and UK) and how to send money out from Korea to other countries, too. These include Korea-based banks and banking apps that you can use as an expat in Korea to send and receive money with lower fees than banks charge.

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What Is Wise And How To Use It In Korea

Using Wise To Spend Money In Korea

In the words of Wise, their service is “an international money transfer service designed to make cross-border transactions more affordable, transparent, and efficient.” Wise utilises peer-to-peer technology to offer the mid-market rate for international transfers and currency exchanges, which helps to reduce currency conversion costs for you. Revolut offers a similar service.

Basically, you can send, receive, and spend money internationally at rates that are better than what you’d find at airport money exchanges and offered by banks for international transfers. You can use the app or website to send and receive money internationally and also get a physical or digital card to spend in shops, restaurants, hotels, attractions, and elsewhere.

Here are some of the benefits I’ve discovered of having a Wise account and getting a Wise card:

  • No need to exchange cash at a money exchange: simply withdraw cash from your Wise balance at an ATM from any bank with ‘Global ATMs’.
  • Pay in Korean won fee-free by card: After you convert money from your chosen currency into Korean won, you can use the Wise card to pay in the local currency with no fees.
  • Can send money from outside Korea to people in Korea: Send money to someone’s foreign currency Wise account and they can receive the money online and spend it in Korea.
  • Easy to add money from your home account and spend in Korea: Add funds to your travel budget as you go through online transfers from your home bank account to your Wise app.
  • Free withdrawals from ATMs (up to a limit): Wise doesn’t charge a fee for the first $100 / £200 of cash withdrawals per month. Travellers in Korea won’t need much cash anyway.
  • No unexpected fees when you get home: Using your home bank card or credit card may charge you for using it overseas, which can give you a nasty surprise when you get home.
  • Convert leftover foreign currency back to your own currency: Anything you convert into Korean won but don’t use can be converted back at the mid-market exchange rate in the app.
  • Can use it to pay in 175 countries: Planning to visit Japan after Korea? Use Wise to pay for things when you’re in Japan, Thailand, Europe, and loads of other countries.
  • Tracks your spending and categorises each cost: Each transaction is recorded by the app and broken down into categories so you can see where your travel budget has gone.
  • Safe and secure service while travelling: You can easily freeze the Wise card if you lose it, set a password to access the app, and get a replacement card.
  • Offers physical and digital card versions: Use the physical card to pay for goods and items in person or the digital version for other situations.
  • Works with Apple Pay & Google Pay: Add your Wise card to your Apple Pay or Google Pay account and spend your foreign currency in Wise wherever they’re accepted.
Use Wise to send money to Korea
Using a Wise account to pay when travelling

How To Use Wise In Korea

If you want to get a Wise account to spend money in Korea or make international transfers, you’ll need to make sure you sign up for a Wise account before you travel to Korea. Unfortunately, you can’t create a Wise account from inside Korea. You’ll need to confirm your identity by phone when you create an account, therefore, do it in your home country before going to Korea.

Once you have a Wise account though, you’ll discover a world of international banking that is much easier than using local banks in each country and, in my experience, much cheaper, too. If you travel internationally a lot, or visit other countries on holiday from time to time, you’re sure to find that a Wise account can make spending your money more convenient and less risky.

There are several ways you can use Wise in Korea as an expat or traveller. I use Wise to do all of these things and more, as I’ll show you in the following sections.

  • Use Wise to transfer money to Korea from your home account.
  • Use Wise to send money to Korea from other countries to someone with a Wise account.
  • Use Wise to spend in Korea by card and to withdraw cash.
  • Use Wise to manage costs in foreign currencies while living in Korea.

Learn more: For full details about how to use Wise and the many benefits of using a Wise card to pay for things in Korea, check out my article all about how to use Wise in Korea. For details about how to plan your travel money and what methods of payment are accepted in Korea, check out my article about ways to pay in Korea and you’ll discover the best travel money mix for you.

If you’re interested in getting a Wise account, you can use these links below to find your local Wise site:

How To Use Wise To Send Money To Korea

This section will show you how to use Wise to send money to Korea in two different situations, based on who is sending the money and who is receiving the money. The first situation deals with how to transfer money to Korea from your own account using Wise, while the second details how someone else can send money to Korea from other countries into your Wise account.

1 – How To Transfer Your Own Money Using Wise

This situation is for expats living in Korea or people travelling to Korea. It assumes you already have a Wise account that you created before going to Korea to live or travel. You need to open a currency account in Wise for whatever currency you want to transfer into Korean won – this is really easy and you just have to select the currency in the app and choose ‘open’. It takes ten seconds.

Step 1 – Add money to your Wise account in your own currency: I have a UK bank account, so I add money from my UK bank account to Wise. You can add funds by credit card, debit card, bank transfer, or Swift transfer. To add money, select the currency you want to add in the app and click on the big green button that says ‘Add‘ and follow the instructions. The money usually transfers instantly.

How to add currency to Wise account
Step 1: Add currency to your Wise account
How to add Korean won to Wise account
Step 2: Convert currency to Korean won

Step 2 – Convert your currency into Korean won: You can convert money into Korean won in the Wise app in two ways. Firstly, click on the button that says ‘Convert‘ in the currency you just added (GBP in this case) and choose to convert to Korean won. Secondly, go to your Korean won account in the app and select ‘Add‘. There’s a small fee to convert money, as shown in the image above.

Step 3 – Spend the money in Korea using your Wise card or withdraw cash from an ATM: Once you’ve converted your money into Korean won, you can use your Wise card to spend in Korea at most shops, restaurants, hotels, etc., or withdraw cash from a ‘Global ATM’. I recommend using the card as there’s no fee to pay by card but the Korean ATMs will charge a fee to withdraw cash.

2 – How To Send Money To Wise For Someone Else

This situation is for people outside of Korea who want to send money to people in Korea who have a Wise account. You (the person sending the money) don’t need to have a Wise account yourself, but the person receiving the money should have a Wise account. You will be sending money in your own currency and shouldn’t have to pay any fees to transfer the money.

Step 1 – Ask for the Wise account details of the person you want to send to in Korea: When you create a currency account in Wise (e.g. GBP or USD), you will receive a bank account number, along with details including your Sort Code, IBAN, SWIFT, or BIC numbers. You can find these account details by going to that currency in your Wise app and clicking on the account number (as shown below).

Step 2 – Send money to the Wise account from your own account: For this example, I will assume that my mum wants to send me £100. I provide her with my Wise account details for my GBP currency account that is shown in the Wise app. She can make a bank transfer from her bank to Wise in the same way she’d transfer money to anyone else in the UK. I receive the money in my Wise account.

Step 3 – Convert the money you received into Korean won: After my mum has kindly sent me £100 to my Wise GBP currency account, I can now convert that money into Korean won and use my Wise card to spend it in Korea to buy myself a new pair of shoes or a fancy meal out. Thanks, Mum! The transfer didn’t cost my mum anything and I now get to spend the money in Korea as I like.

British pound balance on Wise app
British pound account details on Wise
Korean won balance on Wise app
Korean won accounts don’t have account details

Can You Transfer Directly To Korean Won With Wise?

Unfortunately, as Wise doesn’t allow people in Korea to sign up for a Wise account (I suspect this is due to strict Korean banking regulations), you won’t be assigned a Korean bank account when you create a Korean won currency account. That means you can’t transfer money directly from one country into Korean won and will need to choose one of the methods shown above.

Simply put, to transfer money to Korea with Wise, you need to transfer money to another currency account in Wise and then convert that into Korean won. Even though there’s no Korean won bank account, you can still spend money in Korea with your Wise card without any extra fees or hidden conversion costs after you’ve converted money into Korean won in your Wise app.

Transfer Money From Wise To A Korean Bank Account

You can transfer money from your Wise account directly to a Korean bank account in the Wise app. Select the Korean won currency account in the app and click on ‘Send‘. Enter the details of the recipient (bank account, name, etc.) and select the amount of Korean won you want to send. Alternatively, you can share a payment link and send that. There’s a fee of ₩1,450 to make a bank transfer.

Currencies That Offer Bank Accounts With Wise

Although it’s not possible to get a Korean bank account with Wise, you can open bank accounts in the following currencies and make transfers or receive deposits in those currencies:


You can also add money to your Wise account in the following currencies:


Please note: There are some exceptions and conditions for certain currencies based on the country you’re in. Check the Wise website for more details about money transfers in your desired currency.

Why I Use Wise For International Banking

Spending money with a Wise card in Korean cafe

As an expat who works online, I receive and spend money in various currencies (USD / GBP / AUD / EUR / KRW) and use my Wise account to manage and convert them as I need. I can receive money into my USD account on Wise and use the app to convert that into Korean won to spend in Korea, as detailed previously. Wise allows me to manage my international banking needs in one app.

Not only do I use Wise to spend my USD / GBP money in Korea in Korean won, I also use my Wise card when I travel internationally. I recently travelled to Thailand and used my Wise card as my main payment method when cards were accepted. I converted USD and other currency balances to THB in $200 batches and then spent with card or withdrew cash from Thai ATMs as needed.

White Temple in Thailand
Being a tourist in Thailand
Wise card payment in Thailand
Using Wise to spend in Thailand

Another reason I use Wise for international banking as an expat in Korea is that it allows my family to send money to my Wise account (or UK bank account which I then transfer to Wise) that I can spend in Korea. The alternative to using Wise for this would be to receive money into my UK bank account and then withdraw cash in Korea or pay by card – both are expensive options due to bank charges.

Sometimes I need to receive money in currencies that aren’t KRW or GBP and, thanks to Wise, I can do that without having to do a complicated or expensive international transfer between another country and the UK. It’s free to add extra currency accounts in Wise and you don’t need to go through the long, complicated process of setting up a foreign bank account. It’s so simple and quick.

How I Send Money From Korea To My Wise Card

As mentioned, Wise doesn’t allow you to create a Korean bank account, so you can’t send money directly from a Korean bank account to Wise. Fortunately, there are other ways to send money from Korea to other countries. My favourite way is with SentBe, a Korean FinTech company providing international money transfers for a low fee (₩2,500). You need a Korean phone number to use SentBe.

To transfer money from your Korean bank to your Wise account using SentBe, you will need to enter your international (Global) account numbers provided in the Wise currency account of your choice. For example, I would enter my Wise GBP currency account details into SentBe and send money from my Korean bank account to my Wise account. The money is converted into GBP, not KRW.

Alternatively, you can send money from Korea with SentBe directly to your home bank account if you don’t plan to use that money with your Wise card. If you need to send large amounts of money from Korea to other countries, please note that there is a limit of 50,000 USD per year that you can send. I believe this is being increased to 100,000 USD in the future. There are daily limits, too.

There are other apps and websites that provide international transfers from Korea, such as WireBarley, Western Union, and MoneyGram. I haven’t tried any of these options, but from my own experience and feedback from other expats living in Korea, SentBe seems to be the cheapest and most used method.

Other Ways To Transfer Money To Korea

Apart from using Wise to transfer money to Korea, there are some other methods you can use.

Bank Transfer (Remittance): Send money to Korea by entering in the Korean bank details of the person you’re sending money to in Korea. This is how I used to transfer money, but the fees for doing this can be high and the exchange rates can be bad.

International Remittance Provider: You can use companies like Western Union, Currency Fair, or Remitly to send money to a Korean bank account or (in some situations) to be collected in cash at an approved location. Be careful with this method as some frauds are conducted through international remittance providers. Only send money to accounts you trust.

Based on my experience as an expat for more than 13 years in Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, and Australia, I can say that using Wise in combination with my home bank account, Korean bank account, and SentBe has been the best option for sending money to Korea and transferring money out of Korea.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about how to use Wise to send money to Korea. These answers are based on my own experience and from research conducted to write this article. If you have any more questions about this topic, please feel free to post a comment at the end of this article.

What is the best way to send money to Korea?

The best way to send money to Korea depends on how the person will receive the money in Korea. If they have a Korean bank account, a direct transfer into that account might be the easiest method. With a Wise account, you can instead transfer money into that account in one of dozens of currencies and then convert it into Korean won to spend by card or withdraw at an ATM.

What app can I use to send money to Korea

Multi-currency banking apps, such as Wise and Revolut, can be used to send money to Korea, as well as banking apps that allow international bank transfers to Korean bank accounts.

Can I send money to Korea with Wise?

You can use Wise to send money to Korea by converting from one of the available currencies (e.g. USD / GBP / EUR etc.) into Korean won (KRW). To send money to your own Wise account from an overseas bank account, send to a currency account in Wise and then convert to Korean won.

How can I send money to a friend in Korea?

If you want to transfer money to a friend in Korea, you can send them money via an international bank transfer from your account to their Korean account. You might have to pay fees to do this, however. Alternatively, if your friend has a multi-currency account like Wise or Revolut, you can transfer money to their account and they can convert the money into Korean won.

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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.

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