Travel Tips

How to Exchange Gift Certificates for Cash

Did you know that you can exchange your gift certificates for cash? Especially if you are working as a teacher or in an office, you may find yourself with more gift certificates than you can handle. If you are in Korea and have vouchers that you don’t intend to use, then this article is for you. Korea has a unique system for exchanging vouchers, and it may be hard to find information on your own, so here is a simple explanation of how to turn your gift certificates into cash in Korea.

Gift Certificates in Korea

In most places, the digital era has led to gift certificates being replaced by digital gift vouchers or gift cards. However, it is still common in Korea to use physical gift certificates as gifts and prizes. Gift certificates are often just as good as cash but have limitations on where they can be used. The Korean government even released the “Onnuri Gift Certificate” in 2009 to revitalize and further promote tourism in traditional markets.

Gift certificates in Korea usually come in different values. They usually come in 5,000 KRW, 10,000 KRW, 20,000 KRW, 30,000 KRW, 50,000 KRW, 100,000 KRW to 300,000 KRW. It depends on the kind of gift certificate that you have, but usually, if your purchase amounts to 60% or more of the value of your certificate, you can get the remaining balance back in cash. For example, you purchase an item worth 7,000 Korean won and you gave the 10,000 gift certificate, then the vendor will give you 3,000 Korean won in cash. Hence, if you receive this as a gift or contest prize, you can get as much as 40% back in cash depending on the store.

Finding Gift Certificate Exchange Shops

Gift certificates are good, but cash is king. If you a received a gift certificate but the store isn’t to your tastes, you may want to exchange it for cash directly. To exchange certificates for cash you can try searching ‘상품권 할인매장’ in naver maps for the location nearest to you. In sum, they are shops that buy gift certificates and resell them at a discounted price. Usually, these shops are located near large supermarkets and department stores.

How to Exchange Gift Certicates into Cash

To exchange your gift certificates for cash, you can go to any ‘상품권 할인매장’ with your gift certificates in hand. However, the people working there may be unable to speak English. A good word you can use to indicate to the store clerk you would like to sell your gift certificates is the following: 교환 ( gyo-hwan ), which means exchange.

Fees for Exchanges

Additionally, you should take note that they will not give you the entire value of your certificates, as they require a commission. For example, when I exchanged my gift certificates into cash, they deducted 4%. So I received 288,000 won in cash for my gift certificates valuing 300,000. However, for a different certificate, they charged a 7% service fee. Similarly, when you buy gift certificates from these shops, the amount they are discounted will vary.

To check out my other articles on money, such as ‘Cash or Card? Which is better to use when traveling to Korea? ‘ check out my profile.

🇵🇭 Joey

A scholar, marketer, educator, traveler, and ultimately, a fangirl currently living in South Korea. I mostly write about Hallyu-related places as well tips on traveling and living in Korea.