Having a rechargeable transportation card is a must for any foreigner traveling to Korea. All of South Korea’s transportation system runs on rechargeable smart cards and smart devices. These smart cards are called T-Money cards in Seoul. They are used for subways, buses, taxis, and at some convenience stores like CU/GS25/7-Eleven. T-Money cards are embedded with chips that are readable by card-reading machines. These machines are installed in all subways, buses, and taxis in Seoul. However, you don’t have to get a card as this form of chip technology can be put into key chains, rings, bands, and even portable memory sticks. Below we will guide you through the most commonly asked questions regarding T-Money cards in Seoul. If there are any additional questions you might have, feel free to leave your questions in the comments below.
Where can you buy T-Money Cards?
You can buy T-Money cards at most retail convenience stores such as GS25, CU, 7-Eleven, and kiosks located near bus stops. They can also be purchased inside subway stations if they have T-Money Card machines that dispense T-Money Cards. The newer rechargeable machines will all have options for you to purchase a T-Money card.
If you want to buy your T-Money card right away once arriving at Incheon International Airport, there will be a CU convenience store near Gate 5 and 10 of the Arrival section.
How much do T-Money Cards in Seoul Cost?
A T-Money card will cost between 2,500-5,000 won depending on the design. You can even get your T-Money Card that has your favorite K-pop star or group on it.
How/Where can you recharge your card?
You can recharge your T-Money card at most retail convenience stores such as GS25, CU, Ministop, and 7-Eleven. Simply place the card on the card reader and pay the cashier the amount you want to go on the card. However, most people charge their T-Money card at subway stations. There will be an English option that will guide you through the process. All subway stations in Seoul will have recharge machines. Some stations will have recharge machines located inside where you enter just in case you don’t have enough money on the card to exit.
Can I get a refund for the balance left on my T-Money Card?
Yes! This is something most foreigners who visit Korea don’t know. Most end up taking their T-Money card with a balance with them when they leave Korea. However, you can get a refund by handing in your T-Money card to any staff member inside Subway Station help desks. The refund will be given in cash (Korean won) along with the card. Just make sure it is not above 20,000 won as that is the max they will be allowed to refund.
How do I use my T-Money Card?
For subways, there will be an area with a “tab here” sign where you can put the T-Money Card. Tap your T-Money Card and once scanned will allow you to go through the turn gate. The balance of the card will be shown right away so you will know exactly how much you have remaining on your card. For buses and taxis, all you have to do is simply tap the NFC area. You can even pay with your T-Money card at convenience stores. Therefore, if you are ever feeling the need for a quick Korean snack, just pay using your T-Money card.
Should I rescan my Card when exiting the Bus?
Yes! You will get a 100 won fare discount when transiting to another bus or subway. As long as you’re transferring within 30 minutes you will get the added discount. Just make it a habit of scanning your T-Money card when exiting a bus even if you don’t think you will be transferring.