T-Money Your Way in Korea

T-Money Your Way in Korea

For a journey that's convenient and cost-efficient, get a T-Money for your Korea trip here.

The Rundown

  • T-Money is a South Korea travel essential that can be used to pay for subway, bus, and cab fares. It can also be used in certain retail stores like Starbucks, GS25, and Dunkin' Donuts.

  • It comes in various forms and designs, so pick the one that suits you.

  • T-Money cardholders get automatic discount whenever they take various subway lines in Korea.

  • Purchase a T-Money card in the airport, subway station, or CVS. Cards are usually sold for ₩3,000 (around ₱150 or $2.8).

  • For convenience (and a discounted rate!), you can also purchase your T-Money card online here.

  • If you plan to get a Discover Seoul Pass, you don’t need to purchase T-Money since the pass already works as one.

Also read: Count the Cost: Budget Tips for Your South Korea Trip


UPDATE on T-Money Card in Korea: March 19, 2019

T-Money in Korea. Screengrab from  Klook .

T-Money in Korea. Screengrab from Klook.

You can now purchase your T-Money card online! You can view the product listing by clicking below or scroll down to the BUY IT! section to see the full product description.


Why Buy T-Money for Your Korea Trip?

bus-fares-korea

T-Money is a smart way to pay for public transit fares in Korea. It will save you from having to buy single-journey tickets each time you ride the train just like the beep card in the Philippines, EZ-Link in Singapore, and Oyster in London. The main reason why I got T-Money is because it gives at least ₩100 automatic discount (or around ₱5 or $0.09) for bus and subway fares. I know it's not much, but I was able to save ₩3,200 at the end of my first solo trip, which is almost the cost of a tall Iced Americano in Starbucks.

T-Money in Korea can also be used to pay for cab fares, as well as purchases in select convenience stores (CVS), vendo machines, Starbucks, and Dunkin' Donuts in South Korea. (More store listings are found below.)

With T-Money, you also get free transfers (bus-to-bus, subway-to-bus, and bus-to-subway), provided that you hop in and out of the next leg within 30 minutes. Beyond this time, you'll be charged for multiple trips.

Buying and Reloading T-Money in Korea

I got the AmazingPay T-Money Card. It entitled me to an additional 10% discount on bus routes that connect Seoul and Incheon. It also comes with discount benefits at Lotte World and 63 Square.

I got the AmazingPay T-Money Card. It entitled me to an additional 10% discount on bus routes that connect Seoul and Incheon. It also comes with discount benefits at Lotte World and 63 Square.

Before buying your T-Money, know that you can pick the form and design that you'd like. You may opt to get a T-Money in the form of a card, keychain, phone charm, watch, or bag tag.

T-Money cards also have various designs that you can choose from, i.e. Kakao Friends, Pokemon, and BTS, so pick whatever your heart desires. To see T-Money cards with exclusive benefits, read more on the official website here.

T-Money cards in Korea are sold in convenience stores that have the T-Money logo. You can go to a GS25, CU, 7-Eleven, Ministop, Story Way, or Buy The Way. When I arrived in the airport, I went to the first CVS I saw and purchased my T-Money Card from there. I bought it for ₩4,000 (around ₱200 or $3.7) and requested for an initial top-up of ₩15,000 (around ₱730 or $14), which covered for my all-stop train ticket and subway metro fares for my first three days or so.

You can also purchase a T-Money card from ticket vending machines found in the airport transportation center or subway stations. These machines operate in English and are very easy to use. 

Alternatively, you can also purchase your T-Money card online here to get it cheaper.

Reloading my T-Money card.

Reloading my T-Money card.

When your T-Money balance is running low, you can easily top up using the ‘transportation card’ reloading machines found in subways and the airport’s transportation center. To load, simply place your T-Money card on the sensor (it's the middle box below the screen), choose English as your preferred language, and the machine will display the top-up amount options available. Insert your cash (or coins), and you'll be all set to ride the next train.

Of course, you can also go to a nearby CVS and request the cashier to reload your T-Money card.

How much should I load my T-Money?

To help you with your budgeting, here are the public transportation fares in Korea:

1. Airport Railroad Train Fares

If you’re not planning to get a T-Money card, you can just pre-book your airport express train tickets  here . Screengrab from  Klook

If you’re not planning to get a T-Money card, you can just pre-book your airport express train tickets here. Screengrab from Klook

If you’ll enter Korea through Incheon International Airport and will make your way to Seoul Station by train, expect to pay the following:

  • Incheon to Seoul Station (and vice-versa) via KTX or Airport Express Train:

    • KTX is the train option for you if you want a faster and premium ride to Seoul Station.

    • Adult Ticket Price: ₩9,000 (around ₱410 or $7.9)

    • Children Ticket Price: ₩7,000 (around ₱320 or $6.1)

  • Incheon to Seoul Station (and vice-versa) via the All-Stop train:

    • All-Stop is the train option for you if you want to pay less to go to Seoul Station.

    • If boarding from Terminal 1: ₩4,150 (around ₱190 or $3.6)

    • If boarding from Terminal 2: ₩4,750 (around ₱216 or $4.2)

If you’ll go farther than Seoul Station, i.e. Myeongdong Station or Dongdaemun History and Culture Park, you’ll have to load an additional amount of at least ₩1,250 (around ₱57 or $1.1) on top of your KTX or All-Stop Train Fare since you’ll be switching lines.

Also read: Incheon to Seoul: Your Bus, Cab, & Train Options

2. Subway Fares in Seoul

railway-train-subway-underground-transportation-transport-604896-pxhere.com.jpg

If you’ll mostly use the subway in Seoul to get to different points in the city, i.e. Myeongdong, Gangnam, or Itaewon, here are the subway basic fares for T-Money card users (already discounted):

  • Adults [19 years and above]: ₩1,250 (around ₱57 or $1.1) per trip

  • Teens [13-18 years old]: ₩720 (around ₱33 or $0.6) per trip

  • Children [7-2 years old]: ₩450 (around ₱20.5 or $0.4) per trip

  • Children [6 and below]: FREE

The basic fare covers a travel distance of 10 km or less. An additional ₩100 (around ₱5 or $0.09) is charged for every 5 km traveled within a distance of 10-50 km, and ₩100 for every 8 km traveled with a distance of over 50 km.

3. Subway Fares in Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, & Gwangju

Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan, South Korea.

Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan, South Korea.

When you’re in Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, or Gwangju, you can also use your T-Money to access their respective subway lines. Here are the discounted rates for T-Money Card users:

  • Busan Subway Fare (Section 1)

    • Section 1 rates cover a travel distance of up to 10.5 km only.

    • Adults: ₩1,300 (around ₱60 or $1.1) per trip

    • Teens: ₩1,050 (around ₱48 or $0.9) per trip

    • Children: ₩650 (around ₱30 or $0.6) per trip

  • Busan Subway Fare (Section 2)

    • Section 2 rates apply for those traveling a travel distance of more than to 10.5 km.

    • Adults: ₩1,500 (around ₱69 or $1.3) per trip

    • Teens: ₩1,200 (around ₱54 or $1.05) per trip

    • Children: ₩750 (around ₱34 or $0.7) per trip

  • Daejeon Subway Fare (Section 1)

    • Section 1 rates cover a travel distance of up to 10 km only.

    • Adults: ₩1,250 (around ₱57 or $1.1) per trip

    • Teens: ₩880 (around ₱40 or $0.8) per trip

    • Children: ₩550 (around ₱25 or $0.5) per trip

  • Daejeon Subway Fare (Section 2)

    • Section 2 rates apply for those traveling a travel distance of more than to 10 km.

    • Adults: ₩1,350 (around ₱62 or $1.2) per trip

    • Teens: ₩960 (around ₱44 or $0.84) per trip

    • Children: ₩600 (around ₱27 or $0.53) per trip

  • Daegu Subway Fare

    • Adults: ₩1,250 (around ₱57 or $1.1) per trip

    • Teens: ₩850 (around ₱39 or $0.7) per trip

    • Children: ₩400 (around ₱18 or $0.35) per trip

  • Gwangju Subway Fare

    • Adults: ₩1,250 (around ₱57 or $1.1) per trip

    • Teens: ₩900 (around ₱41 or $0.8) per trip

    • Children: ₩500 (around ₱23 or $0.44) per trip

Do note that T-Money cannot be used to pay for your inter-city train transfers, i.e. Seoul to Busan or Daegu to Daejeon. T-Money can only be used to pay for the subway lines within each city.

Also read: Korail Pass: Enjoy Nonstop Trips in South Korea

4. Bus Fares in Seoul, South Korea

Blue Bus in Seoul, Korea. Image credit:  Korea Tourism Organization

Blue Bus in Seoul, Korea. Image credit: Korea Tourism Organization

If you’ll be taking a bus to explore the capital, here are the fares for reference:

  • Blue Bus Seoul Ticket Price

    • Adults: ₩1,250 (around ₱56 or $1.09) per trip

    • Teens: ₩720 (around ₱33 or $0.6) per trip

    • Children: ₩450 (around ₱20.5 or $0.4) per trip

  • Green Bus Seoul Ticket Price

    • Adults: ₩1,250 (around ₱56 or $1.09) per trip

    • Teens: ₩720 (around ₱33 or $0.6) per trip

    • Children: ₩450 (around ₱20.5 or $0.4) per trip

  • Yellow Bus Seoul Ticket Price: ₩1,100 (around ₱50 or $0.9)

    • Adults: ₩1,100 (around ₱50 or $0.9) per trip

    • Teens: ₩560 (around ₱26 or $0.5) per trip

    • Children: ₩350 (around ₱16 or $0.3) per trip

  • Red Bus Seoul Ticket Price

    • Adults: ₩2,300 (around ₱105 or $2) per trip

    • Teens: ₩1,360 (around ₱25 or $0.5) per trip

    • Children: ₩1,200 (around ₱54 or $1.05) per trip

  • Night Bus Seoul Ticket Price

    • Adults: ₩2,150 (around ₱98 or $1.9) per trip

    • Teens: ₩1,360 (around ₱62 or $1.2) per trip

    • Children: ₩1,200 (around ₱54 or $1.05) per trip

In case you’re wondering, buses in Seoul are color-coded and offer the following services:

  • Blue Buses run on major highways in Seoul.

  • Green Buses travel shorter distances and stops at subway stations.

  • Red Buses are express buses that travel from Seoul to suburban areas.

  • Yellow buses operate on a closed circuit within a district of Seoul. 

If you’re unsure which bus to take, you can always refer to Google Maps.

5. Taxi Fares in Seoul, South Korea

Standard Taxi in Seoul. Image credit:  Korea Tourism Organization

Standard Taxi in Seoul. Image credit: Korea Tourism Organization

Here are some fare information for taxis in Seoul:

  • Standard Taxi

    • This is your average cab. Usually orange or silver. It's the cheapest option, but there is a 20% surcharge that applies for late-night trips (12mn to 4am).

    • Base fare starts at ₩2-800-3,800 (around ₱128-180 or $2.5-3.4)

  • Deluxe Taxi

    • If you want to have more legroom, go for the deluxe. It usually comes in black with a yellow sign on top. No late-night surcharge applies.

    • Base fare starts at ₩3,200-5,500 depending on vehicle (around ₱160-268 or $2.9-5.1)

  • Jumbo Taxi

    • This type is ideal for large groups (6-10 people). Card payment is available. There is no applicable late-night surcharge.

    • Base fare also starts at ₩3,200-5,500 depending on vehicle (around ₱160-268 or $2.9-5.1)

For standard cabs, a surcharge of 20% applies during late-night hours (12mn to 4am) and/or when you're headed somewhere outside the city (30% applies if traveling out of Busan).

For deluxe or jumbo cabs, no surcharges are applicable.

How to Use T-Money in Korea for Transit

Turnstiles at a Seoul metro subway station.

Turnstiles at a Seoul metro subway station.

When riding the bus, place your T-Money card on the sensor until you hear it beep. You'll then see the charged amount as well as the remaining balance of your card.  Before getting off, make sure to tap your T-Money card on the sensor by the rear doors to get the discount or free transfer.

The process is basically the same when using the T-Money in the metro subway, except you'd have to tap your card on the sensor found at the turnstiles.

If you plan to use your Korea T-Money card in a taxi, inform the driver that you want to pay with it before getting in. If their vehicle is equipped with the function, you can then tap your T-Money on the sensor, which is usually located between the two front seats. If your balance isn't enough to cover the expense, you can pay for the amount you're short using cash.

Refunds for T-Money Balance

If you have a remaining balance of ₩20,000 or less in your T-Money card, you can go to a partner CVS and get a refund. The amount that you will get back will be your balance less the service fee (around ₩500).

If you have more than ₩20,000 left in your T-Money and want a refund, you'd have to drop by T-Money's headquarters. 


BUY IT!

As of March 2019, you can now purchase a pre-loaded T-Money card online.

Introducing the Klook T-Money Card for Korea. Screengrab from  Klook .

Introducing the Klook T-Money Card for Korea. Screengrab from Klook.

  • PRICE: ₱420 or $8 (around ₩9,000), if not discounted

  • Inclusive of Klook T-Money card and ₩5,000 pre-loaded value

Here is the T-Money Korea product description from Klook:

Make your South Korea trip hassle free with convenient cashless payments using the Klook T-Money Card! This integrated transportation card is one of the most versatile stored value electronic cards that can be used not only in public transportations, but also in various convenience stores and vending machines throughout South Korea.

Pick up your Klook T-Money Card from any of the pick-up locations upon your arrival and enjoy a pre-loaded value of ₩5,000 that comes along with the purchase. Don’t worry if you end up having unused balance in the card, the Klook T-Money Card is valid permanently and any maintaining balance can be stored for 5 years.

Have the perfect souvenir from South Korea with this exclusive Klook design Money Card decorated with iconic South Korean emblems.

As an alternative, you can purchase a Discover Seoul Pass, which can be used as a T-Money card. Buying the pass will not only give you discounts when you ride the bus, subway, or cabs, but will also give you automatic admission to more than 30 attractions in Korea.

TIPS!

  • Still need convincing for you to buy online? You can get more discount if you make your purchase with a Klook promo code. See the list of available codes here.

  • If you're availing a Discover Seoul Pass, you don't have to buy a separate T-Money card since it already functions as one!

  • T-Money cards are rechargeable in amounts ranging from ₩1,000 to ₩90,000 (Maximum top up value is ₩500,000.)

  • The free transfer within the 30-minute timeframe is only applicable if you actually transfer. If you're hopping into the same numbered bus or re-entering the same subway station even within 30 minutes, you'll still be charged.

  • Tap, tap, tap. Don't forget to tap your card on the sensor when you get off the bus. If you don't, you will not be able to get the transfer discount.

  • Our friends from Patar TV shared with us a video on how they used T-Money to save some bucks in their trip. Watch their hilarious video here!

  • T-Money cards don't expire. Hence, you can use it the next time you go to South Korea.


Where Can I Use T-Money in Korea?

You can use your T-Money card in the following:

A. T-Money for Trains and Subway Lines in Korea

subway-train-fares-korea.jpeg
  1. Seoul & Gyeonggi

    • Airport Railroad (to go from Incheon to Seoul and vice-versa)

    • Lines 1-9

    • Shinbundang Line

    • U Line

    • Suin Line

    • Gyeongchun Line

    • Gyeongui-Jungang Line

    • Jungang Line

    • Bundang Line

    • Yongin Ever Line

    • Ui Sinseol Line

    • Bundang Line and more!

  2. Incheon (Lines 1-2)

  3. Daejeon (Line 1)

  4. Daegu (Line 1)

  5. Gwangju (Line 1)

  6. Busan (Lines 1-4)

B. T-Money for Buses in Korea

  1. Seoul & Gyeonggi

  2. Incheon

  3. Daejeon

  4. Daegu

  5. Ulsan

  6. Gwangju

  7. Busan

  8. Sejong

  9. Gangwon

  10. Chungbuk

  11. Chungnam

  12. Gyeongbuk

  13. Gyeongnam

  14. Jeonbuk

  15. Jeonnam

  16. Jeju

C. T-Money for Retail & Convenience Stores in Korea

7-Eleven & CU in Korea.

7-Eleven & CU in Korea.

  1. Convenience Stores in Korea

    • 7-Eleven

    • CU

    • GS25

    • Ministop

    • 365 Plus

    • StoryWay

    • IGA Mart

    • C Space

    • With Me

    • Best All

  2. Retail Stores in Korea

    • Home Plus

    • lalavla

    • Hyundai U-Plex

    • GS Supermarket

    • Home Plus Express

    • Red Bucket

  3. Bakeries in Korea

    • Paris Baguette

    • Dunkin’ Donuts

  4. Dessert and Coffee shops in Korea

    • Starbucks

    • Caffe Pascucci

    • Baskin Robbins

    • Jamba Juice

    • Angel in us Coffee

    • Caffe TIAMO

    • Gong Cha

  5. Fastfood outlets in Korea

    • Lotteria

    • McDonalds

  6. Cosmetic shops in Korea

    • Holika Holika

    • The Face Shop

    • TONYMOLY

    • Innisfree

  7. Entertainment outlets in Korea

    • Everland Resort

    • Wyverns Baseball Club

Korea Railplus Transport Card & Cashbee

Aside from T-Money, you can also consider getting other e-money cards, such as Cashbee and Korea Railplus Transport Card. From what I read, both cards function the same way as T-Money, however they're not as popular as T-Money among locals and tourists alike.

If you're purchasing the Cashbee card in Korea, note that, as of writing time, it cannot be used in Daejeon (Line 1) and these bus routes/areas: 

  • Daejeon

  • Gyeongbuk (Andong)

  • Gyeongnam (Geoje, Tongyeong, Hadong, Hapcheon, Hamyang, Geochang, Changnyeong, Goseong, Sancheong, Namhae)

If you're renting a car, you can use Korea Railplus Transport card to pay for parking.

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UPDATE: Company Alpha List No Longer Required Beginning July 1, 2018

UPDATE: Company Alpha List No Longer Required Beginning July 1, 2018

Stay Connected in Korea with the KT Olleh Data SIM Card

Stay Connected in Korea with the KT Olleh Data SIM Card