[Blog] Travel in Korea – T-money (티머니 카드)

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T-money is quite possibly the greatest invention to ever grace the streets of Seoul and surrounding Gyeonggi-do, and it’ll be the best investment of your life to get one of these to carry around with you when you come here. T-money comes in all shapes and sizes, is rechargeable, and is useful in every means of public transportation that Seoul and Gyeonggi-do has to offer (hence the name “T-money”).

So let’s say that you’ve arrived in Korea and don’t have T-money yet. How do you get it?

Luckily, you can purchase and re-fill T-money at all subway ticket booths. These automated machines are pretty nifty and we will be sure to cover this subject in a later post! You can also purchase and recharge T-money at almost every convenience store in Seoul. Most stores have a T-money logo in the window so you know for sure that you can purchase and re-charge there. There are even a few convenience stores at Incheon Airport on the arrival floor where you can do this so when you get to Seoul or Gyeonggi-do, you’ll already have it. This saves you from being super awkward and basically wearing a sign on your forehead that says “I’m a tourist!” when you try to take a bus ride by paying with cash. Actually, it’s not THAT awkward to pay with cash, but why pay with cash when you can get a discount when you pay with T-money?!

Discount? Yeah, that’s right! Everyone loves discounts, and T-money gives you 100W basic cash fare, which is 1,000W for every 10km. Since transportation cost in Seoul is figured by distance, the T-money card will gives you a discount on up to 4 transfers in the subways and buses when you need to. We’ll go into more detail on this in a future post!

You can get a regular T-money card for 2,500W, and other speciality cards, key chains, phone charms, etc… range from 4,000W to 25,000W. Different cards are sold at different locations, so check out this link to see all the different kinds of T-money and it’s sold: http://www.t-money.co.kr/jsp/tpub/tint/buy_guide.jsp

The initial cost of T-money may seem like a lot when you are first purchasing it. If you buy a regular T-money card, you will end up paying 11,500W when you get it, but subtract 2,500W from that for the actual cost of the card and the rest is the balance you can use to get around the city.

T-money is also refundable, but you have to pay a 500W fee. If your balance is under 20,000W, just take your T-money to a convenience store to receive the refund on the balance only; however, some convenience stores are unable to refund the money. If your balance is more than 20,000W, you have to take it to the T-money headquarters right outside of Seoul Station, Exit #8 to get your money back. Or, you can just keep the T-money and the money on it for the next time you come to Korea because it NEVER expires!!

If you won’t be in Seoul for an extended amount of time and don’t want to purchase a T-money card, another option is the Seoul City Pass. With this pass, you can ride subways and local buses in Seoul as well as subways in the surrounding Gyeonggi-do area. You can ride them all for up to 20 times per day without a limit on distance. With the Seoul City Pass, you can also ride 3 different routes (palace, downtown, and night view) of the Seoul City Tour Bus without limit. Currently the prices for the Seoul City Pass are:

1-day = 15,000W
2-days= 25,000W
3-days= 50,000W

You can purchase this pass at the following establishments:

  • GS25, Family Mart, and MINISTOP convenience stores (located on the arrival floor of Incheon International Airport)
  • Dongdaemun Tourist Information Office
  • Gwanghwamun Tourist Information Office
  • Itaewon Tourist Information Office
  • Gimpo Airport Tourist Information Office
  • Samilgyo Tourist Information Office
  • Myeong-dong Tourist Information Office
  • Namdaemun Tourist Information Office
  • Jamsil Tourist Information Office.

The Seoul City Pass Plus Card is a pretty flippin’ sweet deal if you’re a tourist and plan to be in Seoul for a while. It’s essentially a T-money card with the added benefits of a Seoul City Pass for only 3,000W. You can ride any bus or subway in Seoul until you run out of money and have to re-fill. You can also take any of the Seoul City Tour Bus routes at a 5% discount!! With your Seoul City Pass Plus Card, you also receive a booklet and discount coupons to use everywhere in Seoul. This pass also gets you discounts at 60+ participating stores that include restaurants, attractions, eyeglass shops, beauty stores, and many more! You get all of this great stuff for only 500W more than a regular T-money card. Um, yeah…totally awesome!

You can purchase and recharge the Seoul City Pass Plus Card at any of the convenience stores in Korea as well as 종묘 (Jongmyo) and any of the 4 major palaces (Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace, and Deoksugung Palace). This card is also refundable, but there is a 500W convenience fee to get your money back.

So that’s our introduction to T-money. In the future, we will be blogging about how to use your T-money on a bus, how to use it on the subway, and how to re-fill it, so make sure you keep coming back!

Feel free to leave us any comments, questions, and suggestions for future blog posts in the comments section below!

As always, thanks for studying with us and giving us your support!

Written by Stephanie Morris


  • Esther

    How much would i need for two days? I’ll be travelling around seoul

    • Seokjin Jin

      For two days… Hm… I guess 10,000won will be safe. Just in case.

    • Ivan Karlo Jacob Marquez

      Hello Seokjin! Can I recharge/reload my T-Money using a credit card (Visa/Martercard) at the airport/convenience stores? Please advise. Thanks!

  • gurglaugh

    wait, so when the first time you purchase T-money it’s KRW 11,500? can we top up/recharge it right after we purchase it?

    • Stephanie Morris

      yes 🙂

    • gurglaugh

      how much do you think I would need for 4-5 days?

    • Stephanie Morris

      It really depends on what you are doing, but I would add another 15,000-20,000W onto the card to be safe.

    • Richard Paik

      I am daily user of Metro (working 5 days a week), taking long trip to work (about 1 and half hour), and when it comes down to monthly total, I usually get 125,000KRW. So, based on my calculation, you will need 25,000~30,000KRW to be safe.

  • Ivan Karlo Jacob Marquez

    Hello! Can I use credit card, probably Visa or MasterCard to reload my T-Money at the airport and/or convenience stores? Kindly advise. Thanks and regards. 🙂

    • Stephanie Morris

      Hi Ivan, I’ve never been able to use a credit card to reload T-money before, and Kyung-hwa did a little Naver search to confirm that typically this is not possible. Be sure to carry a little bit of cash to top up 🙂

    • Richard Paik

      Correct, only way to reload T-money is by cash. Stephanie Morris is right.

  • Tomaten Prut ♪♪♪

    Is it kinda the same as the Suica card in Japan?
    I really like the Suica, ~

  • CyberMew

    Has it been released? Can someone link me?

    “In the future, we will be blogging about how to use your T-money on a bus, how to use it on the subway, and how to re-fill it, so make sure you keep coming back!”

  • Breadmaker Judy

    I dont understnad how it is supposed to be used. some people tell me if i am just going one way and not taking the bus for the rest of the day to just tap once when getting on. half of the people tell me to tap off when i get off or the next time they will charge double?

    • Richard Paik

      I will make it simple for you Judy. I am Korean-Canadian living in Seoul, so you can take my words as they are. 1. Regardless of your transportation choice, whenever you get on and get off, you always tap your card. 2.Again, even if you are not planning to take another transportation choice (ex: subway to bus or bus to subway or bus to bus) just make sure you always tap your card when you get on and get off to avoid maximum charge for one way trip(not double ^^;) 3. The importance of tap when you transfer: it minimizes your travel cost. Only 100~150 won will be charged when you transfer from one transportation to another. If you forget to tap when you get off before you transfer, then another new original travel cost will be charged (1,050 won for now) 4. Maximum spare time before transfer is 30 minutes and within one bus stop or one subway stop. In other words, if you are planning to drop by some place and do your business within 30 minutes and catch next bus or subway, transfer fee is still valid. After 30 minutes or more than one bus stop will charge you new original travel cost.

      Therefore, just tap tap tap!! Hope this will help you.

  • Chelle

    Can I bring home my T-Money card?

  • Shanny

    Hi! This article was very helpful. I just wanted to know I am travelling from Incheon to Hongdae, then Hongdae to MyeongDong and then to Gangman and back to Incheon.. i will be travelling for 10 days. What is the recommended amount of money to put into the T Money card?

    • AREX

      Hi! Here is a tip for your question. For 10 days travelling of Korea, absolutely you’d better to buy T-Money card for all transportation. T-Money card is so convenient for going to Hongdae, Myeongdong and Gangnam areas you want to go. If you buy the T-Money card and charge the money inside by yourself, you can go all places near Seoul. After your journey finish, you can get back 500won. And i want to give you one more tip about express train operating between Seoul station and Incheon International Airport. This is the direct train so if your departure and arrival station is Seoul station and ICN, you can take this train and save your time. Thank you.

  • If you want to ask the store clerk to recharge your t-money card, please say, “티머니카드 충전해 주세요.”
    I’m surprised and a little disappointed that TTMIK did not mention how we can politely ask, in Korean, for our T-money cards to be recharged. 🙁

  • minixzhu

    Hi! I am confused regarding the purchasing of T-money card..
    When we purchase the card at the counter do we pay them 2,500 Won or 11,500 Won?