That one card for you when traveling Seoul: T-Money (Seoul City Pass Plus)

Just like Singapore’s EZLink Card and Taiwan’s Easy Card, there is T-Money (of varying offerings) when you want to travel around in Seoul and other cities within South Korea (e.g. Busan, Gyeonggi-do, Incheon, Busan, Daegu, and Daejeon). It can be used on public buses, subways, taxi fares and even transactions at convenience stores. It is a hassle (of purchasing single journey subway tickets) free transport card that not only offers the convenience of payment with a tap, but also discounts (at least 100 won cheaper).

The T-money card is credited with money and the fare is subsequently deducted from it. The T-money card cost 2,500 won. When the value is low or insufficient, all you have to do is top up the value (or recharge the card) in amounts ranging from 1,000 won to 90,000 won.

There are a couple of variations of the T-Money (besides the normal one). There is the M-Pass, which is essentially a day(s) pass offering up to 20 rides a day for the duration of the pass (e.g. 1-day, 2-day, 3-day, 5-day and 7-day). It is valid for the designated time period, and expires at midnight on the last day of validity. In addition, the M-Pass also comes with the T-Money function so it can be used on buses, taxis, and at select convenience stores as long as there is a usable T-Money balance. Once all of the  allotted (20) subway rides have been used up, it can still be used as a T-money card.

Despite its offering, the limit of 20 rides per day is only worth it if you will be traveling that much daily. And unless you have a lot of places to visit in a day that are far or need a lot of transferring, I don’t think you would normally even come close to having to travel that much in a day. Moreover, there is also the restriction of usage (e.g. cannot be used on express train, Sinbundang Line and Seoul Read Buses), which limits its convenience should plans change.

Although we were there for 6 days, the (closet) 5-day M-Pass would have cost 42,500 won. Hence, it was more economical to get the Seoul City Pass Plus which is basically a T-Money Card with discount benefits: it comes with a set of coupons that can be used at major at major culture (e.g. the four palaces Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, and Deoksugung) and leisure facilities. In addition to, there is a 10 - 20% off at beauty establishments, restaurants, opticians and more. 

Tips (from Korea Tourism Board):

  1. If you don’t tap your card on the sensors as you get off the bus or exit the subway, you will be charged double the next time you use public transportation. You cannot benefit from transfer discounts, either. So, make sure to tap your card at all times when getting off the bus or exiting the subway!
  2. You can transfers for free up to four times. Transfers are allowed inside the subway system, so when you transfer from one subway line to another (after tapping your card), transfer discounts do not apply. For buses, you can get free transfers from one type of bus to another (blue bus, green bus, green village bus, yellow bus, red bus, etc.). For example, Bus + subway or blue bus + green bus = free transfer / Subway + subway = no free transfers allowed (free transfers apply on some subway lines like Subway line 9 where transfer gates are situated outside).
  3. These days, many taxis accept payments via the T-money card. In general, the payment terminal is affixed between the driver’s seat and the passenger seat. Inform the taxi driver that you want to pay with a T-money card and tap your card on the terminal and your taxi fare will be automatically paid from your T-money card’s balance. However, if the fare is more than your T-money balance, then your remaining T-money balance will be deducted from the taxi fare and you will have to pay the rest via different means.
For just 500 won more (than the normal T-Money), it comes with a set of discount coupons of about 60+ participating stores such as restaurants, attractions, eyeglass shops, beauty stores etc…), not to mention discounts as well (e.g. 5% discount at any the Seoul City Tour Bus routes!). So we got the Seoul City Pass Plus at Incheon Airport’s GS 25 convenience store.

Seoul City Pass Plus
Seoul City Pass Plus
Refunds on remaining balance or on non-functioning cards are available, but we decided to keep ours for the next time we traveled to Seoul.

More information about the T-Money Card and Seoul City Pass Plus can be found here and here.

T-Money

Price: 2,500 won (3,000 won for the Seoul City Pass Plus)
Sales Locations: Convenience stores (GS 25, CU, Mini Stop, Buy The Way, 7-Eleven, Story Way) bearing the T-Money logo and Ticket Vending and Card Reload Devices inside subway stations
Recharge/Refund Locations: All sales locations



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When travel collides with a byte, a unit of information made up of bits, TravelBytez is formed: snippets of ramblings on travel, food, shopping, living and anything else that comes to mind.
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1 comments :

  1. Hi, here is one more tip for transportation in Korea. In ICN(airport), you can buy a transportation promotion, 'express train and T-money card' and 'express train and international taxi'. With express train, you can go to the Seoul station(Central of Seoul), and with T-money card, as you know, you can take all transportation in Korea. Using T-money card is also very easy. You can charge the money in card by yourself at every stations. In express train and international taxi case, if you have many and heavy bag, that will be good. If you are intersted in these promotion more, you can check out all at travel center in ICN. Thanks.

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