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South Korea A close-up of South Korean currency.

Why Is South Korean Won So Cheap?

Are you going to South Korea or are you sending money to loved ones back home? Wondering why is South Korean Won so. cheap?

During morning trading July, the South Korean won fell below the 1,320-won threshold in relation to the US dollar for the first time in more than 13 years. Analysts warned that the won could lose more value.

Around 2:30 p.m., the won was trading at 1,326 won per dollar after breaking through 1,320 won per dollar for the first time since April 30, 2009.

The weakening of the euro and the Chinese yuan against the strong dollar trend brought about by the US Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate hikes and monetary tightening to control high inflation coincided with the collapse in the value of the won.

On the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula, South Korea is a sovereign nation in East Asia. Seoul, South Korea’s capital, is the biggest city in the country.

The Republic of Korea is the only nation that uses the Korean won as its official currency; the plural of “won” is “wones.”

The sole authority to print money for South Korea is held by the Bank of Korea. The won’s currency code is KRW, and its official emblem is a capital “W” with two parallel lines running across it.

A jeon is a won subunit that is equal to one hundredth of a won. There are 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, and 50,000 bill denominations. There are 1, 10, 50, 100, and 500 won coins available.

Six fascinating details regarding the Korean won
Do you enjoy learning about money? Check out these fascinating details about the Korean won.

“Yuan” and “Yen” are combined to form the name.

The word “won” was created by South Korea by fusing the Chinese “yuan” and the Japanese “yen.” Given that both China and Japan have previously occupied Korea and that both nations’ currencies share the same symbol (), this is understandable. In fact, the Korean word “jeon,” which has a pronunciation akin to the Chinese “yuan,” means “money.”

Notable Yi dynasty figures are depicted on banknotes.

The early Yi dynasty figures can be seen on the back of the banknotes. This includes the 1,000-won note’s author, Yi Hwang, the 5,000-won note’s author, Yi I, and the 10,000-won note’s author, King Sejong.

Due to Japan’s occupation of Korea, when the Bank of Joseon first unveiled its designs for Korean money, it based them on the Japanese yen.

The Bank of Joseon took care to distinguish between Korean money, though. The Bank of Joseon replaced the paulownia tree, a symbol of the Japanese government, on the Korean won note with the rose of Sharon, the country’s official flower.

It is very difficult to fake coins or banknotes.

By 2006, there were numerous counterfeit won banknotes in use. A new series of banknotes with better security features was introduced by the government as a result of the widespread problem of counterfeiting the 5,000-won note.

These new security measures are also present in other significant currencies, such as the Canadian dollar, Euro, British Pound, and Japanese Yen.

Korean banknotes now feature watermarks with portraits and 3D holograms that change colour. Additionally, freshly minted coins contain a material that makes them simple to distinguish from fake coins.

Formerly, brass was used to make 1-won coins.

One-won coins were initially produced by Korean banks using brass. The value of the brass, however, surpassed the face value of the coin in 1968 due to a significant rise in the price of brass.

Because aluminium has a lower face value than brass at that time, the government decided to replace the brass coins with them. The change was successful, and aluminium is still used to produce the 1-won coin today.

The latest in a line of Korean currencies is the South Korean won.

The Japanese yen took the place of the won as South Korea’s official currency during the Colonial era. Korea, however, was divided into North Korea and South Korea in 1945. Although the currencies in each of these territories were distinct, they were both still referred to as “won.”

The South Korean won was initially pegged at 15 won to 1 USD when compared to the US dollar. At that time, the coins and notes were produced by the Bank of Joseon. Following that, the currency underwent a number of devaluations, partly as a result of the Korean War.

In 1950, when the Bank of Korea was established, officials also introduced new banknote denominations. The KRW was made the sole legal tender in South Korea on March 22, 1975.

Korean money was first printed by the Bank of Joseon.

The Bank of Joseon introduced the 10-won and 100-won bills in 1946. In 1949, the 5- and 1,000-won notes were introduced.

The Bank of Korea was established as the nation’s new central bank in 1950, taking over the responsibilities of the Bank of Joseon.

The Bank of Korea introduced notes in the denominations of 5, 10, and 50 jeon as well as 100 and 1,000 won, some of which were dated 1949. Later, in 1952, the bank began issuing 500-won notes.

The Korean won’s value
Due to the South Korean economy’s stability and expansion since the second half of the 20th century, the won has performed well. South Korea is a developed, wealthy nation that belongs to the OECD. This Asian nation is one of the biggest manufacturers of ships and automobiles in the world, and it is also the location of numerous sizable construction firms.

From the 1960s to the 1990s, South Korea’s economy actually experienced some of the world’s fastest growth. In the 2020s, it will continue to be one of the developed nations with the fastest growth rates, right behind Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. As a result, the won frequently ranks among the currencies that perform better in international trade.

The won hasn’t been as strong lately, though. Its value was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it isn’t performing as well as it did before the pandemic.

Korean won conversion rates
Since the only legal tender in South Korea is the Korean won, you’ll need to exchange your USD, CAN, or GDP before visiting. While in South Korea, you can use ATMs to withdraw cash directly, exchange money at a bank, or visit an airport exchange desk.

How much will your foreign currency buy in Korea, then? One US dollar is equivalent to roughly 1,319 Korean won as of July 2022.

Daily fluctuations in supply and demand, economic growth and stability, and other factors affect how much money is worth (and how exchange rates are determined). To make the most of your money, learn more about exchange rates.

When it comes time to convert your funds into Korean won, you can check the current rates with your bank or preferred money transfer service.

For instance, you only need to log in to the Remitly app and choose Korea as your destination. The most recent exchange rates for USD, GBP, and other currencies are available.

Money transfer to Korea
Korea is a dynamic nation with a long history. Even though the value of Korean currency has changed significantly over the past century, both visitors to the developing Asian nation and South Koreans living abroad find its rich history to be fascinating.

Remitly streamlines, speeds up, simplifies, increases transparency, and lowers the cost of international money transfers if you need to send money to Korea. Over 5 million users worldwide rely on our dependable and user-friendly mobile app. To get started, download Remitly right away.

James Yeong
James Yeong

Once a quaint dweller of the English countryside, James is now a vibrant voice narrating his adventures in the bustling heart of South Korea. Since relocating to Seoul in 2019, James has immersed himself in the dynamic tapestry of Korean culture, from the serene temples tucked away in mountainous terrains to the neon-lit streets of modern cities.

This blog has become a haven for those seeking an outsider's yet intimate perspective on South Korea, often shedding light on hidden gems and local favourites rather than just the typical tourist hotspots. With a keen eye for detail and a writing style dripping with wit and warmth, James has managed to amass a devoted readership from all corners of the globe.

Whether you're planning a trip to the Seoul, the surrounding cities or just vicariously traveling from the comfort of your couch, Jame's tales of exploration and discovery are sure to ignite a passion for the Land of the Morning Calm.

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