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T-Money Card Korea and Transportation Cards

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Public transport in South Korea is simple to use, but it is even easier (and sometimes cheaper) with a T-money card.

From the buses of Busan to the Seoul Subway, the best way to simply use South Korean public transport is using a Korea T-money card or similar transportation card.

In Korea, T-money cards are widely used plus there are several other transport card options including the Korea Tour Card, the Discover Seoul Pass and Visit Busan Pass.

Here is our guide to buying, using and topping up T-money cards in Korea (and similar transport cards in South Korea) in 2024:

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Getting around South Korea with a T-money card

The main ways to get around South Korea are by subway, bus, train or taxi / driving.

Whilst buses and trains operate in all towns and cities, the South Korea Metro / Subway system can only be used in bigger cities – Seoul, Busan, Incheon, Daegu, Gwangju, Daejeon and Gyeonggi-do.

T-money cards are accepted on most metropolitan local bus services too and some airport shuttles.

bus in busan south korea

Try this – Korea Rail Pass (2, 3, 4, or 5 Days) with Klook >

What are T-money cards in Korea?

T-money cards are top-up payment and transit cards that you can use on public transport and in taxis, as well as convenience stores, telephone booths and many electronic storage lockers.

To use a T-money card in Korea, you must first purchase one from a convenience store and top it up using cash (KRW only) or a debit card.

seoul chungmuro subway station platform

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How much is a T-money card?

In South Korea, T-money cards initially cost 5,000 Korean Won but last indefinitely and are very convenient to hop on and off public transport in Seoul and South Korea.

A minimum top-up starting balance starts from 1,000 KRW on top of your purchase price.

T-Money Card South Korea

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Where can you top up / purchase T-money cards?

Korea T-money cards can be purchased at subway or bus station T-money desks or at Korean Convenience stores like:

You can also purchase a T-money card / SIM card combo in advance with Klook for pickup at Seoul’s main airports. Click here to reserve online >

CU convenience store

As well as convenience stores, T-money cards can be used to purchase items in shops like Daiso, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds and Lotteria (but alas not in Olive Young!).

Look out for the T-money logo on display in shops that accept it as a payment method.

Please note only Korean Won can be used to top up a Korean T-money card.

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T -Money Refunds

The refund process varies a little depending on the store / city.

For instance, in Seoul, T-money refunds of up to 30,000 KRW can be completed at CU, MiniStop and eMart 24, and up to 25,000 KRW at 7-Eleven and GS25.

At Subway stations, up to 50,000 KRW refunds can be processed. For anything over 50,000 KRW, you would need to visit a bank, T-money head office or consult the T Money mobile app –

Remember that the original T-money card payment (usually 5,000 KRW) is non-refundable – but you get to keep it as a unique souvenir of South Korea. plus you can use it on your return trip as T-money cards never expire.

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What are the benefits on T-money cards?

The main advantage of T-money cards is not having to worry about having cash on you to pay for fares (plus many South Korea buses don’t accept cash any more like the Gangnam Limousine buses).

In addition, for overseas travellers, it is very easy to buy and top up a T-money card as opposed to having to consider opening additional bank accounts or worry about whether your overseas debit card will work everywhere.

In our experience, our UK ATM / debit cards often get rejected so it is handy to have a guaranteed form of payment.

T-Money Card South Korea

T Money cards also enable payment at both on and offline stores, and T-money cards can be used by all ages (although parents may need to register children under the age of 18 to make use of transport discounts).

In addition, some of the transport fares are marginally cheaper if you use aT-money card as opposed to cash.

Plus the Korea Tour T-money card offers discounts at some tourist attractions like 10% off Seoul Sky or 50% off hanbok rental at Cham Hanbok in Jongno, Seoul.

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T-money cards are easy and safe to use – the other advantage they have over cash is that you register your card online, you can report the loss online and cancel via the T-money app, but you must register it first.

subway seoul south korea

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Personalised T-money cards

A big theme / trend in South Korea is to personalise your T-money card or transport payment cards with your own stickers or designs.

For instance in Busan, we were given fairly blank Korean Tour Cards and we blinged them (some would say ‘upgraded’!) with Kakao Friends character stickers like Choonsik the cat or fun transport stickers.

T-Money Card South Korea

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Personal experience using T-money cards

We were lucky enough to win a Korea Tour Card / T-money card by the Korean Tourism Organisation at a K-Pop concert in Busan.

We found using the T-money card so easy and quick and it transformed our public transport trips.

We didn’t have to try and fiddle around finding loose change or research how much public buses cost in advance to ensure we had the correct change. Did you know most buses in South Korea that accept cash don’t provide any change either?

transport card recharging machine subway for T-Money Card South Korea

We used our T-money cards in both Busan and Seoul and never had any issues – we regularly topped them up at transport card terminals in Subway stations and never looked back.

All in all, T-money cards are incredibly easy to use and top-up and we’d highly recommend buying one (and covering it in crazy stickers too!)

transport card recharging machine subway for T-Money Card South Korea

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Can you use your T-money card to pay in convenience stores?

Yes, most big South Korean convenience stores like CU shops, 7-Eleven and GS25 accept topped up T-money cards as payment – although you must ensure you have sufficient credit to cover your purchases.

GS25 convenience store

You might like our things you can buy in 7-Eleven South Korea or CU Convenience Stores guides.

Is there a T-money app in South Korea?

There are supporting apps but T-money is a physical digital payment card – if you want an e-payment app on your phone, consider Line Friends or Kakao.

T-money also has a website / app where you can register your details but this is not compulsory (and not something we did).

buses with faces south korea

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Other transport cards in Korea like T-money

Korea Tour Card

The Korea Tour Card is another rechargeable transit card for international tourists that incorporates T-Money (it is co-branded with the T-money logo).

Similar to T-money, you can use it to pay for different types of public transport and enjoy a wide range of discounts offered by over 200 tourist attractions all over South Korea.

From restaurants to shops, theatre to live music, there are numerous benefits to claim (although to note the discounts are generally pretty small like 10% or 15% off.

Korea Tour cards are available to buy in airports, convenience stores, major airports banks and Subway vending machines – up to KRW 500,000 can be loaded on to Korea Tour T-money card.

Try this – South Korea Railplus Transport Card with Klook >

Discover Seoul Pass / Visit Busan Pass (for visitors)

Exclusive to foreign travellers visiting South Korea from overseas, both Seoul and Busan offer special ‘free-pass style’ tourist passes that allow tourists use of major attractions, all for one low price over a certain timeframe.

With these Discover Seoul Passes or Visit Busan Passes, users can enjoy numerous discounts and ticket attractions as well as free transport options like hop-on hop-off bus passes or airport shuttles.

If you use the physical Discover Seoul Pass or Visit Busan Pass cards (rather than mobile app), you can then use the card as a T-money card. Both cards have multiple pick up points including the main airports.

We’ve used both a Visit Busan Pass and Discover Seoul Pass on separate occasions and on average, saved around 70% on average on top attractions.

On both passes, we visited / completed 7 or 8 activities and tours including Lotte World Seoul and Lotte Adventure World in Busan.

As of January 2024, the Discover Seoul and Discover Busan pass prices are as follows:

Discover Seoul Pass costs:

  • 24 hours for 50,000 KRW
  • 48 hours for 70,000 KRW
  • 72 hours for 90,000 KRW

Read our honest review of using the Discover Seoul Pass here >

Visit Busan Pass costs:

  • 24 hours for 55,000 KRW
  • 48 hours for 85,000 KRW

Read our guide to using the Visit Busan Pass here >

Other cash cards and transportation cards in South Korea

Although the T-money card or Korea Tour Card are all you will likely need in terms of a Korean Tranporaton card, there are a few other options.

Additional transport cards in South Korea include: 


Can be used in certain convenience stores like GS25 (it is also more popular in Busan than Seoul).


A customisable card in South Korea that travellers and foreign residents use for transportation and purchases – balances can be checked via the Namane app and the customised card is a cute souvenir of your time in Korea.

Found out more about the Namane card here >


MPASS is a transportation pass for international travellers but which seems to be only accepted in Seoul and Jeju Island as of January 2024.

With MPASS, you can use the public transport system up to 20 times. MPASS is a T-Money card that you can use and top up in convenience stores or in taxis.

Prices start from 15,000 KRW for one day including a 5,000 KRW deposit – 4,500 KRW will be refunded when you return.


A prepaid card for cashless Payment in Korea that you can purchase before you travel.

Find out more about WOWPASS here > 

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