Sending Money Home with Wire Transfers

It’s come time for me to finally send money back home.  I’ve been procrastinating the task for quite some time, but I decided to just get it over with.  Not knowing where to start, I went to the administrative office of my school and asked for some direction.  I usually go to them for things like this since they are responsible for making withdrawals from my account for lunch and just overall dealing with the Busan Office of Education.  They also speak English very well!  The young lady on leave at the moment who is an administrator is also a certified English teacher in Korea and actually speaks better than the majority of teachers I’ve met.  I’m really fortunate for this since it makes dealing with the necessary evils of life in Korea a bit easier.  In her stead, the administrative head asked one of the other English teachers to help me out.  They went to the nearest branch of Busan Bank (my bank) and got the paperwork together for me.  The application is like one you’d see back home – just in Korean.  All the required information was marked off so all I had to do was contact my bank back home via Skype to get the information ready.  I bank with Chase in America.

To cut to the chase (no pun intended), the information below is a list of what you will need to complete a wire transfer successfully to the United States.  My guess is that it’s likely the same for other countries as well since they are international banking terms that all institutions use for their systems to communicate.

  1. Bank Name (name of your bank back home)
  2. Account Numbers (both your Korean bank AND home country bank)
  3. Bank Addresses (address of your bank’s main headquarters AND the address associated with your account)
  4. SWIFT/BIC Number (ISO 9362 identification code for interbank financial telecommunication)
  5. ABA/Routing Transit Number (nine digit code identifying your bank)
  6. IBAN or A/C Number (an international bank account identification number – was not available with Chase)
  7. Passport Number

Once you’ve received this information, complete the application form and hand it off to your bank.  They will take care of the rest.

One tip I mention in my vlog is to consider splitting large amounts into smaller portions and placing them on an automated schedule.

Much like “dollar cost averaging” in personal investment strategies, this will help reduce the risk of exposure to fluctuations in the currency exchange market.  

If North Korea’s fearful leader decides to go on another tirade at the time you are thinking of wiring money home, the amount that lands in your account back home will be negatively affected.  Just like bad news affects a company’s stock value, so too will the exchange rate be affected by these types of events that cause turmoil and unrest.

Making several, smaller transactions will take into account market fluctuations and help to ensure you are getting as close to an honest exchange overall based on long-term values.  Not one affected by a blip on the radar.  Your bank in Korea will likely have this type of service available and the cost difference is negligible.  One lump sum transfer would’ve cost me between $30-40 USD, whereas the multiple transaction route cost about $100-105 USD.  At the moment, the Won is weaker than what I expected.  Over the course of 5 months, however, I’ll be able to balance out the overall value of my exchange.  I believe it will far outweigh the difference in cost of making a lump sum versus multiple transfers.

If you’re good at reading market behavior, time it the best you can and go for it lump sum.  You should be fine.  If not, look into the other method as an alternative.

In either case, good luck!  Happy wiring.


  1. Another route would be to do it via your smart phone or Internet Banking. This reduces the fees and provides the best wire rates. My in-bank fee is only W8000 per transfer when doing it this way as opposed to the nearly W20,0000 it used to be when I went into the branch.

    Plus I can do it any time, any where.

    • Avatar Hugo Adrian says:

      Hi Steve, is there any restriction on how much and how often can you transfer money out of South Korea using internet banking?

  2. Great option. I didn't go that route because the portal is so confusing. I think next time I'll have someone from school walk me through though – that's a big difference.

  3. I like your blog post. Keep on writing this type of great stuff. I'll make sure to follow up on your blog in the future.

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