In major cities in South Korea like Seoul and Busan, you’ll primarily be traveling around using public transport.
While you can purchase a single fare ticket, using a T-money card, which can be used for both the subway, buses, and taxis, is far more convenient. You simply scan it before your journey and once you reach your destination. The fare is automatically paid.
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You can purchase a T-money card for public transport at any convenience store like CU, GS25, 7-Eleven, or Ministop. The T-money card costs around ₩3,000, and the design of the card depends on the store and what designs they currently offer.
To purchase a T-money card from a convenience store, head up to the counter and ask the cashier for a T-money card. They’ll also understand if you ask for a travel card.
T-money cards can also be purchased from T-money card machines and vending machines located inside subway stations. Not all subway stations have these, however.
You can find the nearest convenience store by using Naver Maps or Kakao Maps. Alternatively, you can just look around wherever you are, as they’re located everywhere, and you’ll probably spot one.
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How to get a Tmoney card in South Korea
Getting a T-money card, which is the travel card used for public transport in South Korea, is essential and one of the first things you should do after arriving in the country. You can use the T-money card for both the subway and busses.
Having a T-money card makes traveling seamless and saves you tons of time compared to buying a single ticket for every journey.
To get a T-money card in South Korea, head to the nearest convenience store, go to the counter, and ask the cashier for a Tmoney card. The card costs around ₩3,000 (~$2.4), and the design of it depends on what store you go to and what designs they currently offer.
The four main convenience store chains in South Korea that sell Tmoney travel cards are CU, GS25, 7-Eleven, and Ministop.
Convenience stores are located everywhere, so chances are that you’ll spot a couple just by walking around. You can also find the nearest one by using Naver Maps or Kakao Maps.
Almost all convenience stores sell Tmoney cards, but I have experienced two that said they didn’t. If the cashier says that they don’t sell it, just go to the next convenience store.
The two convenience stores that I’ve personally bought Tmoney cards from are CU and GS25.
T-money cards are only kept behind the counter, so you have to go ask them to purchase one. They are not on any shelf in the store.
Some subway stations in South Korea have special T-Money card machines and vending machines that sell T-Money cards, but not all do. So, it’s usually easiest to purchase one from a convenience store.
When you purchase a T-money card, it comes with no money loaded onto it and thus cannot be used for travel yet. Before you can use it in the subway or on a bus, you need to charge money onto it.
You can charge money onto it in the convenience store when you purchase it or use the recharging machine located in every subway station. To charge the card in the convenience store, ask the cashier to reload the card and give them cash. Only cash can be used to charge a T-money card. Check out our guide on how to recharge t-money cards in South Korea for more info.
As not all convenience store workers in South Korea have the best English capabilities, they might misunderstand you when you’re trying to buy a Tmoney card and think you wish to reload one you already have. Make sure to let them know you want a new one, and they should understand.
That’s how to get a T-money card for traveling in Seoul, Busan, and the rest of South Korea!
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