Story by: Paul Sharkie, Photos by: Darren Farrell
Although banks in Korea are aware that certain branches require English-speaking staff (among other foreign languages), there will, of course, be branches with only Korean speakers or days when the bilingual teller just happens to be out of the office. Whatever the circumstances, this possibility leaves a potentially stressful situation for both the customer and the Korean-speaking teller as they attempt to provide service in an acceptable amount of time. Of course, the bank staff will always try their best, but such a scenario, if not dealt with appropriately, can lead to questions such as the following:
Dear Shinhan Expat Banking,
Do you have an English-speaking consultant who can visit my office to help me open a personal account? I have tried the branch, but no one speaks English there.
I would like information on your current accounts, savings options and credit cards.
— Hold my money (name withheld)
In addition to suggesting that the customer call our foreign-language call center at 1577-8380 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays), here was our actual response to this question:
Although we cannot arrange a visit to your office for your personal account requirements, what we can do is contact a branch and tell them when you plan to visit and which services you wish to have. This way the branch can prepare all the necessary documents — in English — and at the same time provide you with all the information you need to ensure a quick and efficient visit to the branch.
In addition to our excellent English infrastructure, we also have 40 branches specifically designated for our foreign customers. That being said, there are English speakers scattered around our other branches as well. Despite these efforts to accommodate English-speaking customers, it can sometimes be the case that the English-speaking staff member may not be present when you visit.
Should you have any communication difficulties, you may ask the teller at the branch (open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) to call our foreign-language call center at 1577-8380 (Shinhan Bank) or 1544-7333 (Shinhan Card), where staff can provide you with a free translation service to bridge any gaps in communication. Please do not be afraid to ask for this service.
With regard to the products you mentioned, while we have several options to choose from we recommend the following package to get you started:
1) Current account:
We recommend our Salary Savings Account, which is best for those whose salary is paid into it. This comes with a range of benefits and discounts should you have your salary directly deposited into this account.
2) Savings accounts:
Installment Account: We specifically suggest our Salary Plus Installment Account for those who already have a Salary Savings Account. This account allows customers to make installment savings payments for a set period of time at a set interest rate. If you open this account along with our Salary Savings Account, you will also get a more favorable interest rate.
Time Deposit: With a minimum deposit required, you can also add installment payments to this account, again for a set period of time at a set interest rate. There are a variety of Time Deposit savings accounts to choose from, with interest rates varying each day. On the day you visit the branch, the teller will advise you of which would be more favorable.
3) Credit card:
Eligibility depends on each individual’s credit status. Proof of income will be required (three recent pay slips and/or a contract of employment). While we have an extensive range of cards, we suggest our Concourse card, made specifically for foreign customers in Korea. This card comes with great benefits and discounts, as well as an English SMS service to keep you up to date with your purchases.
If you have other questions, please get in touch with us or your bank to see what can be done for you.
For details on the Shinhan Concourse card, visit www.eng.shinhancard.com/contents/cards/global/ConcourseTheBest.jsp.