Friday, August 29, 2008

How to Pay a Bill in Korea

Today, I paid my gas bill. I did not do it in person at an office of the gas company, nor did I pay it online or over the phone. Instead, I went to the bank to pay it. There is no checking system in Korea, so unless you pay with cash or credit card, you have to pay by bank transfer. The bill from the gas company came with a stub that had some numbers and bar code on it. The bank has a special machine for paying bills. You put your ATM card in the machine. Then, you put the stub in the machine. It will ask you to verify by putting in your code. The bill is paid. I knew that there was a machine for it. One of the tellers came over and helped me do it.

Later, I wanted to have the transactions printed in my passbook. They still use passbooks for accounts here instead of people writing the transactions in a check register. You put the book in a machine, but not the same one used to pay bills. The machine then prints all the transactions that have not been printed yet. I could not figure out how to use the machine because it was in only Korean. I was able to use this machine to get money out with my ATM card because it could be used in English. I went up to one of the tellers and pointed to the page in the passbook. It took her a second to figure out what I wanted. I felt retarded not saying anything and just pointing. In the end, I did get the transactions printed.


Debbie said...

No chance the tellers speak a little English?
Sounds to me like you're getting along really well for not knowing any Korean language.

Shinigami said...
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Shinigami said...

You can actually get by without knowing much Korean. Most shop owners have to take English tests before they are hired or know enough basic English to sell you stuff. That goes for doctors and dentists, too. But if you want to get things cheaper and negotiate, there are better deals if you overcome the language hurdle and haggle. And it will be easier to get cheaper medical treatment, too. If you are lazy, just befriend a Korean friend or two. Should be super easy.