If you are planning on living in Korea and getting your own place, you will quickly find yourself having to pay monthly utility bills. It is a bit intimidating the first time the yellow slips are delivered to your mailbox. However, paying your bills is extraordinarily simple in South Korea. Today let’s go over the types of utilities you will have to pay for and how to pay your bills
First things first, you should review your housing contract to see what is included in your monthly maintenance fees. Monthly maintenance fees will be paid directly to your homeowner along with your rent. Normally, your landlord will send you their bank account information so that you can deposit it directly into their account.
At times, maintenance fees will simply include the general cleaning and maintenance of the building itself. But, other homeowners include all or some of your utilities in their monthly maintenance fees. And so, be sure to discuss the scope of maintenance fees with your realtor before you sign a housing contract.
Utility Bills: Water
The first utility bill of the month that most people receive is the water bill. It will be distinguishable by the words 수도요금 printed at the top. The format varies from city to city. However, they almost always show your usage by month and the breakdown of your fees. It is normal to pay between 15,000 and 25,000 won per month in water bills for a single-person household in Seoul.
To view a full translation of your Korean water utility bill, Click Here.
Utility Bills: Electricity
Electricity bills are identifiable by ‘에너지 or 전기요금’ written at the top. Electricity utility bills vary exponentially by season and housing type. You can expect to pay a lot for electricity in the winter and summer months when the weather is most extreme. Additionally, homes built before the 2010s generally have poor insulation. As a result, you can expect to pay more if you live in an older building.
During months of mild weather, electricity bills can be less than 10,000 won per month. However, in summer you can expect electricity costs up towards 50,000 won for a studio apartment. For those living in older buildings or multi-room spaces, your bill can quickly exceed 100,000 won if you are not careful.
Utility Bills: Gas
Although many more modern homes do not use gas, if your home has a gas stove or heater, you will also receive a gas bill. Gas bills are the most expensive by usage. Plus, the price is fairly unpredictable, so it’s difficult to budget in advance.
And so, if your home has a built-in gas heating system it is best to buy an area heater or electric blanket for winter. You can also reduce your costs by purchasing an induction stove.
Utility Bills: Internet
Now, let’s talk about the Internet bill, or wifi. How much it costs actually depends a lot on the package you choose. Some packages include your phone bill, TV, and streaming subscriptions. You can also opt for unlimited internet or up to a certain amount of data each month.
For me, I install wifi at my house and share it together with my neighbor. It might be slow sometimes but still acceptable most of the time. It costs me 11,000 won every month. But, the first month was more expensive. Due to the installation fee, the first month was 44,000 won for each of us.
Nowadays, internet bills are normally automatically withdrawn from your bank account. If you need to set up internet you can visit any of Korea’s major internet providers. Normally contracts are signed for 3-year periods, however, you may be able to negotiate shorter times but will pay a higher monthly fee.
If your Korean language abilities are limited, SK Telecom is widely known for having the best English services for residents. Click Here to learn more about their internet packages.
How to Pay Utility Bills in Korea
Located at the bottom of your bill, you will find all of Korea’s national banks followed by a number. Once you find the number corresponding to your bank, you can use it to transfer the money into the account. You can do this by going to your local ATM, transferring online, or going to the bank in person.
This option is not available for all bills in all locations in Korea, however, some do have the option. If there is a QR code on your bill, you can scan it in the Kakao or Naver apps. Then, you can use Kakao or Naver Pay to pay your bills.
One of the easiest ways to pay your bills is by going to your local convenience store. There, they will scan the barcode on your bill. You can pay using cash, card, or mobile payment.
Even if you don’t have a Korean bank account and are operating completely with cash, you can still walk into any bank and pay your bills. However, you may need some Korean language skills and a passport/ARC for this option.
If all else fails, you can pay any utility bills at post offices throughout Korea without showing identification. If you are currently experiencing visa difficulties, this is the safest option.
Although paying your monthly bills in Korea is a little daunting at first, it’s incredibly convenient. Try out different methods and see what works best for you!
If you want to try using the QR code payment method and don’t have Kakao Pay yet, Click Here! We have a complete guide to help you get set up.