Paying Bills in Korea

Category : Surviving in Korea
Nov 28, 2014

Korea’s like the future, and everything here is incredibly easy and convenient. I wish people around the world could enjoy efficiency like we do in Korea. But it’s only fantastic if you know about it, so read on to learn how straightforward it is to pay your bills. There are so many options!

 

After a month living in Korea, you are going to receive a bunch of bills in the mail. They will all be in Korean and you will have seven days to pay them from the issue date, which should be the same day as their arrival. Utility bills (gas, water and electricity) will arrive on the same day, while phone, internet and cable bills will arrive one month after the start-up date.

 

Bills to Pay

  1. Water- supplied by K-Water for the whole country
  2. Gas- each city has their own supplier (Seoul City Gas, Busan City Gas, Daegu City Gas, Chungnam Urban Gas)
  3. Electricity- powered by the Korean Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO).
  4. Internet/Cable- usually combined into one bill by your service provider
  5. Maintenance/ Security- applies only to those buildings with this service
  6. Cell Phone-charged by your service provider

 

Paying Bills: Using the Bank

Your bank is a great place to pay your bills and there are lots of payment options.

 

At the ‘Special’ Bank Machine

The ‘special’ bank machine, (a.k.a gong-gwa-geum nabbu-gi /공과금 납부기) looks like the ATM machine at your local bank branch, but don’t be fooled—it’s not just an ATM. Most usefully, it pays your bills by withdrawing money from your account and transferring it to the bill account.

 

To do this, you need

  • Your debit card or bank passbook
  • Your bills with the actual bill detached from the receipt. The bill is the part that says OCR on the top beside a long serial number. You can easily tear the bill from the receipt along the perforated line.

 

To use the machine follow the steps below:

  1. Insert your debit card or bank passbook into the machine.
  2. Press the button to pay bills: 공과금 납부
  3. Look below the screen to the slot. It should be flashing green at this point. Insert your bills into the slot.
  4. Insert all your bills in the slot, one after the other, before pressing the green button to continue.
  5. Press the green button to continue. It will show the total amount owed.
  6. Punch in your pin number and press continue.
  7. Your card will come out with a receipt. You are done!

 

àKeep in Mind

  1. The machine operates only in Korean so ask the security guard to guide you through the process, especially if it’s your first time.
  2. You must pay your bills at the fancy machine in your bank branches. That means if you use Shinhan Bank, you can’t use the bill-paying machine at KEB Bank.
  3. The fancy machine is open during bank hours only, 9:00-16:00.

 

Via Bank Transfer

You can pay your bills by direct bank transfer. This method requires your debit card or bank passport and the bank account information (bank name and account number) of the bill company. The information is written directly on your bill. Most bills will list multiple bank accounts that you can transfer the money to. Most ATMs have English options so it’s easy to follow the screen directions.

 

àKeep in Mind

  1. You can use any ATM to make transfers.
  2. Make sure you double check the account information and amount before you confirm the transaction.
  3. The bill company will receive your payment that day.
  4. ATM machines open around 8:30 and close around 23:00, depending on the bank.

 

Go to the Bank Teller

If you don’t want to use a machine to do your transactions, you can visit a real person. The bank teller at any bank can help you out.

 

àKeep in Mind

  1. You can go to a teller at any bank if you have cash.
  2. Go to your own bank if you want to pay from your account.

 

The Automatic Bank Transfer

You can set up an automatic bank transfer. This has one major advantage in that you never have to go and pay bills again, which is pretty awesome. The disadvantages are: a) it takes a bit of time to set up and b) you will be penalized if you don’t have enough money in your account to pay the bill. To set up automatic bank transfers to pay bills, you need to visit a teller at your bank.

 

The teller will ask you for three things:

  • Your bank passbook
  • Recent bills of all the payments you wish to set up for automatic transfers.
  • A filled-out application form to authorize the transactions, which you can get at the bank.

 

Paying Bills In Other Ways

You may not be able to get to your bank on bill payday. Luckily you have a couple of other choices.

 

Online

You can pay your bills online, but first, you need to set up an online banking account. You will need to visit a teller at your bank to do this. You need your bank passbook and a form authorizing your online account. You also need to come up with IDs and passwords to access your information online—the online banking security is really tight! Once you have done that, then you can set up domestic transfer payments. You need to enter in the account information of the bill company and amount due. Then confirm your transaction.

 

àKeep in Mind

  1. You can include a short message with online transfers. Include your name, the amount paid, and the bill companies account information to ensure they easily receive your payment.

 

At the Post Office

Just like at the bank teller, you can also visit the post office to pay your bills.

 

àKeep in Mind

  1. Post offices only accept cash for bill payments.
  2. Post offices are open Monday-Friday from 9:00-18:00 and on Saturdays from 9:00-13:00 at select locations.

 

At the Convenience Store

Major Convenience stores will accept bills so pop over to any 7-Eleven, GS25, Family Mart, CU, or Ministop. Convenience stores keep long hours, so it’s helpful to pay your bills here if you are busy during regular working hours.

 

àKeep in Mind

  1. Convenience stores only accept cash for bill payments.

 

à Tips!

  1. Depending on your apartment, some of the utilities may be shared. In this case, the landlord will tell you the amount you owe and you may pay the landlord directly in cash. Ask the owner to see the original copy of the bill, if you think you’re being scammed. Water is a commonly shared utility.

 

  1. The maintenance/security bill is charged by the building, so scoot down to the security office in your apartment or on the complex premises to pay it. You’ll notice the charge doesn’t fluctuate greatly from month to month and it’s handy to have cash on hand for it.

 

  1. If you are late paying your bills, you will be charged a small late fee on the next month’s bill.

 

  1. If you don’t pay your bill for three months, you will receive a warning. After that, your services will be shut off.

 

  1. AC costs A LOT! The electricity bill is comprised of the basic charge for your level of use plus your consumption demand. In the summer, the electricity demand is great because of AC use. This will cause your bill to skyrocket.

 

  1. Your utility bills will arrive on the same day or within two days, but look out for other bills on different days.

 

  1. KPECO has a great English website. You can see the breakdown of your bill, plus the way the total fee is calculated. They also have a usage meter function that will show you how much it costs if you use a certain amount of electricity! 
Tags : Bills.

Lindsey lived and worked in Seoul, South Korea for over 5 years. While there, she dabbled in different areas of work and explored the culture. She spent time teaching elementary students, business English to adults and high school students about college preparation. She also studied Korean, wrote blogs and tasted as many foods as she possibly could including fermented skate fish. Over the years, Lindsey developed a love for Korea and the culture. She is keen to share her knowledge of Korea with others and she will always consider Korea a second home.

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