Monzo in South Korea 🇰🇷 [Discussion]

Just a snippet of feedback from Twitter, enabling Magstripe payments doesn’t enable Monzo cards to be used with Citibank & IBK ATMs (regardless of whether you choose saving, checking or credit account in the menu options) in South Korea :worried:

but the card does work elsewhere in the country :tada:


Just a few notes based on my travels in South Korea

  • You may find that the location part of your Monzo receipt often says “Somewhere in Seoul” or has no address and just places the map marker on South Korea no matter where you use it.
  • Most ATMs have the option to switch the language to English
  • Most ATMs in Seoul are inside banks and not on the street, some ATMs will ask for your account type and you will want to select “Checking Account”
  • Near the DMZ you may find that your phone connectivity stops working due to signal jamming from the North, this doesn’t effect your card but it does mean checking your balance can be difficult. As the vast majority of ATMs in Korea require the magstripe your best option is to message Monzo support in-app and request that they enable the mag stripe for the duration of your trip (the in app toggle turns off after 24 hours) and the connectivity issue makes it a nightmare to reenable.

Hope this helped!


Im actually travelling South Korea! No issues at all with Monzo Card. MagStripe works without any problems.


Heading off to Seoul/Suwon next week. Can anyone advise if there are charge free cash machines? Any at Incheon airport. Not planning on taking cash if O can withdraw there (My expenses are biz card so only need petty cash around £50 max…)

I have experienced some of the banks I have used adding an extra fee on top of your withdraw (I paid 3.500 Won = about 2 GBP at this time) but they notice you upfront. But if you are staying within Seoul you easily can pay with your card everything. No problems at all.

anyone know how if the monzo card works in South Korea? thanks in advance

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a simple search using the flying pan on the top right for previous discussions - "Monzo in South Korea " showed these threads about using Monzo in South Korea

Hey Joe, I’ve moved your post to this post where other users have shared info about using Monzo in South Korea. Hopefully this discussion & the topics that Ian’s shared give you a good starting point but just ask if there’s anything else that you need to know :slight_smile:

As a side note, if you are travelling to the Winter Olympics, I believe as Visa is an Olympic sponsor, MasterCard is not accepted at official Olympic venues. (I haven’t checked this for this games, but know it has been true for the last few)

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thanks a lot, everything seem ok :slight_smile: looks like the card should work over there

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Would we need to notify monzo if we’re in another country for a long time? For example i always had to notify santander in advance to let them know when i was going abroad

No you don’t need to, Monzo’s smart enough to spot when you’re going abroad so they won’t block your card. That’s one of the benefits of using a properly modern bank :smile:

good to hear, thanks!

I’ve just arrived in Seoul and used my card for the first time. The cashier asked me to use another card, and I didn’t see any transaction go through on my Monzo card. I also was asked to sign for the transaction. It wasn’t for anything too expensive, just a restaurant bill for two people. What happened? I thought this was going to be easy.

I tried using my Monzo card at the Starbucks in the airport and it was rejected a few times :flushed: embarrassing! COps suggested it might have been to do with the chip not being clean, so I wiped it and it was accepted fine at Dunkin Donuts later on. I’m not sure about South Korea specifically but in Singapore you have to sign when you use your Debit card too. Might be the same situation.

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What was the error? A dirty/oxidised chip could give a read error, but shouldn’t give a decline/rejection.

Did you try other entry methods (contactless or swipe)?

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They said Korean terminals have the chip in a slightly different location to UK cards. They took my card and slot it into the terminal, but I didn’t have to key in my PIN I think. At least the second time I didn’t have to. Usually they take your card and insert it into their end and if you have to key in your PIN (on Singapore for NETS) it’s on a connecting terminal that your card isn’t slotted into. I don’t really know any technical language so I can’t explain this properly, but that was the clarification I was told when I asked COps. It worked the second time so I didn’t question it any further.


My card has just failed again in Starbucks. This time using contact less, then using chip. No opportunity for pin or sign. I also received failure message through the app this time.

That’s 100% failure rate in Korea for me Monzo card so far. I don’t understand. Has something changed recently?

I’m not sure, sorry! Might be worth asking in the chat for help about your specific situation. They’ll be able to give you more info about it. On my first failure in Starbucks, Starling went through fine, so I chalked it down to the card not being used as much since they seem to run on similar processors.

How interesting, indeed. Are you willing to share the decline slip on here if you got one… I’d be curious. Also, can you ask Monzo for what the decline reason code was? I have a theory, but I’m not going to say it on here in case it’s wrong :slight_smile: - it’s just a theory.