Korea Travel Guide

T-Money a Transportation Card for Tourists

T-Money a Transportation Card for Tourists, this article is about how to use it, recharged it and where to purchased it. A card that a tourist must-have. Here are some guidelines and tips for you K-wanders.

In Korea, we all know that transportation cards are the ones we use every day upon taking the buses nor subways. There are 4 types of payments that can be used when taking public transportation in Korea. Being a traveler or tourist in Korea, T-money is one of the things must-have. 


T-Money a Transportation Card for Tourists

4 Types on How to Pay Bus/Subway Fare

  • T-Money Card: This is a prepaid transit card, known as a T-money card that can be used until the balance runs out. This card can be recharged to continue using it. It can be purchased and recharged at convenient stores or using the “Ticket Vending and Card Reload Device” that we can see inside the subway stations. This is the most common transportation card that a tourist can have during their travel to Korea.
  • Credit Card: Locals mostly use credit cards upon paying for their transportation because you don’t need to recharge the card before using it. The total amount of transportation fees will be included in their credit card payments.
  • Cash: If you don’t have a credit card and the t-money card was run out of money, you can still pay cash. Coins and 1000 won bills are accepted but you cannot pay using bigger bills like 5,000 won, 10,000 won, and 50,000 won.
  • Single Journey Tickets: Single journey tickets can be purchased from the “Ticket Vending and Card Reload Device” that you can see in subway stations. You’ll pay 500 won for one ticket where you can return afterward in the”Deposit Refund Device” after arriving at your destination.

Checking the Bus/Subway Fare and Remaining Balance

When you take a bus or subway you need to tap your transportation card, but do you know what’s the 요금 and 잔액 means? Do you know how much you have paid and how much remaining balance you have on your transportation card?

You can see that in the picture (left, subway terminal; right, bus terminal ) that they have the same 요금 and 잔액. 요금 means fare and 잔액 means balance. Whenever you take the bus or subway, you can check this all the time so you can monitor how much money left on your card and this will help you to know when do you need to reload your card.

But, you haven’t checked how much money in your card and you are worried about taking the bus or subway, don’t worry there’s another way on how to check your balance.

Going to the nearest convenience store (like CU, 7-11, GS25, and MiniStop) near you is the fastest way to know how much money left on your card. Just ask the staff to check your balance by saying “내 카드 잔액을 확인해 주세요” (Ne ka-kadeu jan-ek-oul hwa-gin-hae ju-se-yo) means “Please kindly check the balance of my card”. If you want to recharge your card you can say “내  카드를 충전해 주세요” (Nae ka-deu-reul chung-jeon-hae ju-se-yo) means “Please kindly reload my card)

Another way is by using the “Ticket Vending and Card Reload Device” you can also check your card balance.

How to reload your t-money/cashbee using the “Ticket Vending and Card Reload Device”

Select “ENGLISH” for you to understand better how to reload your card. Select the option “RELOADING THE TRANSIT CARD”. ( Free tickets are for the older citizen of Korea and single journey tickets are for those who doesn’t have t-money cards.)

After selecting the designated language that suits you, you need to put your transportation card in the square box below. Let it stay there until you finish reloading your card. Do not remove it while the machine is processing.

Select the amount you wish to reload. F a tourist who will not stay longer or will just stay in Seoul for about a week 30,000 won is enough.  But if you will travel going to the province you can charge the card around 50,000 won.

(NOTE: But if you are using KTX, the ticket should be purchased at KTX stations or you can do reservations online.) Don’t worry if you have left money in your card it will not expire and you can use it again when you came back to Korea.

Upon choosing the amount you want to reload in your card, you can not insert the bills. Pay an exact amount and do not use higher bills unless you’re reloading 30,000 won to 50,000 won.

After inserting your payment, please wait until the reloading is complete. After completion, you can remove the transit card already. When the “Reloading has been completed” screen appears you can now remove the card. You can use this card in city buses, provincial buses, taxis, subways. You can also use this in convenient stores like CU, 7-11, Ministop, and Gs25 to pay for your goods.

Other Information:

※ You can get a 100 discount on each ride when you use a transportation card. However, foreign tourists like children cannot receive children’s discount the same as Korean children in Korea.

※ Children ages 5 and under can ride for free. (Up to 3 children allowed per adult.)

Want to make a personalized transportation card? Read here:
How to Make a Personalized Transportation Card
First-time traveler in Korea? Check this article, Guide and Tips on Using Subway and Bus

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Xoxo, Hyejin 💕

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Hi, it's Hyejin! I am a person who loves to write my thoughts, travel, have a cup of coffee each day, take photos every day and make reviews including kdramas, books, movies, and product reviews.

11 Comments

  • Blair Villanueva

    The convenience of having this kind of card! I use a Japan-version when I was in Japan. And here in Melbourne, I use the myki card. We just tap and go!

  • Maria Teresa Figuerres

    This is similar to the one we had when we travelled to Hong Kong 3 years ago, but I only got to experience buying the single-journey tickets. I hope we can also visit South Korea in the near future, and when that happens, I’ll remember the tips you shared here about T-money transportation card. Very helpful!

  • May Palacpac

    I think that we’re on our way here. Public transport nowadays since the lockdown has been cashless except that I dont think reloading is done by machine yet, just like in Korea. But soon!

  • www.WanderWoMom.com

    Yes having T-money transpo card is very convenient just make sure na topped up ano? so example you frequent naman visiting SoKor, like quarterly, you can use ba that same card, or does it expire or you have to return it?

  • Pinaynursemeetsworld

    This is a nice and safe idea instead of carrying cash all the time. How I wish they could do this here in the US too, it’s nice to see how S Korea is growing, their technology, mode of transp are really blooming.. how I wish to visit the place soon…:)

  • Ferry tells...

    Sobrang efficient nito. Kaya ang sarap magbakasyon sa ibang bansa e. I don’t like to sound political pero kung hindi kinorrupt and NBN ZTE deal natin, we would probably have started with this. Andun na ang mga e-cards and beep cards natin e… The government must only consolidate everything and put them together para hassle free.

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