How expats can get a Korean credit card
Submit your banking questions to firstname.lastname@example.org — Ed.
To be eligible for a credit card you must meet certain eligibility requirements – just as you would have to do back home.
First, you must have a valid passport and Alien Registration Card.
The other requirements are quite straightforward and actually quite easy for most legally employed foreigners here to meet. The requirements are based on your salary, position, Shinhan customer status, or real estate ownership (in Korea). You need only meet ONE of the requirements.
If however you do not meet the eligibility requirements, you may be eligible for a “secured credit card” instead. While the secured credit card is not actually a credit card in the traditional sense, it would allow you to shop online and enjoy the many other benefits of having a credit card as well (discounts or cash back at movie theatres, amusement parks, restaurants, ski resorts, etc.)
To get a secured credit card, you deposit a certain amount (minimum of 1 million won) in an interest-earning account (time deposit) that would basically be your credit limit.
Seoul Global Cener
Another way to get a credit card is with the assistance of the Seoul Global Center. Established in 2008, it's mission is to enhance the convenience of living in Seoul for expats. It also promotes cultural exchanges, but some of its most popular services are helping expats take out contracts for cellular phones, opening bank accounts, applying for credit cards, extending visas and applying for driver’s licenses.
Its full-time staff are fluent in English, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and Mongolian.
Seoul Global Center: http://global.seoul.go.kr or (02) 723-3206
Shinhan English call center: (02) 1577-8380
“Dear Michelle: Banking Advice for Foreigners in Korea” is a monthly column written by Michelle Farnsworth. Michelle is an 8-year resident of Korea who is currently the Foreign Client Relationship Manager at the Shinhan Bank Seoul Global Center -- the only bank branch in Korea that is exclusively dedicated to serving foreigners and foreign companies. Please visit the “Shinhan Bank Seoul Global Center” on Facebook for more information. Also, please note that the banking information provided in this column is based on Shinhan Bank policies and may not be applicable to all banks in Korea.