The cops are fine for now, but Korean banks and banking?
I mentioned before that banking in Korea is the dumbest part about living in a country that is so technologically advanced. Personally, I don’t believe in hell BUT combined with the humidity that’s currently going on, banking here just might make me a believer. Here are some things to remember:
- Banks operate the exact same hours that you are working
- The only way to get to a bank is to take time off of work
- Any official bank business (getting actual, useful help, etc) must be done during the week
- The bank is open on Sundays for foreigners
- You HAVE to be very specific about what you expect from your debit/credit cards
- You need your passport
- No one remembers their passport because only idiots carry it around
What I mean about being specific is that here, you will get a basic card when you open a new account. But as I mentioned before, it is so basic that you can only use it at the ATM located at the SAME bank you got your card from. If you want to actually use your card at other ATM’s, to actually purchase items in stores, to online shop, etc, you have to tell them! This is why I have spent basically every other Sunday waiting for 1 1/2 to 4 hours to “get my affairs in order.”
I also mentioned that Sundays the bank is open for all foreigners. This means the bank is PACKED with Indonesians, Sri Lankans, Indians, etc. And they’re all those creepy types that you usually get random friend requests from. You know? The kind of guys that have NO business wearing open-toed sandals, yet they insist? The kind of guys that signed a pact and vowed to never use deodorant? Those guys. I also mentioned that at Korean banks, you have to take a number and these mofos roll in DEEP packs and take ONE number. Then they stampede the teller when the number is called and make it so everyone else at the bank has to wait hours to be helped. As soon as I see them I just…
WELL this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down…because of my new debit card. Now, about two weeks ago, I’d had it with the banks. I woke up early, tied my hair back a la Steven Seagal, strapped on my machete, and headed for the door. I was determined to get a card that worked for EVERYTHING. The subway, online shopping, ATM’s, traveling outside of Korea, telling me when my eyebrow hairs were getting out of line, and EVERYTHING/ANYTHING else. I translated into Korean all of my hopes and dreams for the new card. I knew what colleges I wanted it to apply to and what type of man I wanted it to marry. I got to the bank and FINALLY got this card. I even made sure to TRIPLE check with the teller that it would work for everything. Everything was fine for the first week and a half- that is until I tried to book my summer vacation.
The travel expert that I am, I spent weeks watching the prices of flights go up and down and decided to wait until closer to the date I want to leave to book my ticket. This has worked so well in the past and when the time was right, I set out to book my travel. But just as I entered in my card details and hit “confirm purchase,” I got sent over to the bank’s website. This just brought up an immediate feeling of
NOTHING IS EVER AS WONDERFUL AS IT SEEMS IN KOREA! Seriously, the chapter of my memoir that talks about Korea will be titled, “Too Good to be True: I’m F***ed.” Getting sent to the bank’s page usually means you’re going to have to install programs and certificates and blah blah blah. So much garbage just to use your own money because Koreans take being hacked VERY seriously because they are VERY gullible and get hacked constantly. So basically, I type in all of my information and then you have to wait for a service to call you so you can punch in a secret code and THEN you can finish your purchase. It is a pain in the dick each and every time. Anyways, I kept getting a message telling me I couldn’t use my card, but of course it was all in Korean. I called the English helpline and they told me it was a problem with my card and that I would have to call the card company BUT they always say that SO I just lied and said the card company sent me to them (again, they’re gullible af) so they told me to go to the bank and see what’s what. Still a sendoff but whatever. The bank in Korea and I have been brought together by fate and I have just accepted that we will have a standing date every two weeks. It’s destiny.
But that’s not where this story ends. My wonderful co-teacher was also pissed about this situation. This is Winnie and I love her because there are times when she clearly has such strong disdain for Korea that it makes my heart flutter! I like it here, but when someone hates something with you, it’s one of the most bonding experiences you can…experience. Shut up. Since she speaks Korean, she took over and worked her way through all of the passwords and codes. She took my phone to my phone carrier to make sure it wasn’t a communication error. Nothing. Winnie couldn’t figure it out and I knew I would have to go to the bank. I got to the bank, grabbed a number, and took a seat next to a guy that was experimenting with how long he could let his toenails AND toe hair grow. When my number was finally called, I went to the teller and told her everything. I navigated to the error screen that kept popping up and she told me to have a seat. After a few minutes, she hands me my phone to tell me that she locked me out. She typed in my card information wrong too many times and locked my card. SHE locked ME out and said I should call the English helpline tomorrow so they can issue me a new code and I can COME back and fix the issue…
Then she sent me on my way because there were “many people waiting for help.” I tell you, I completely understand that the US has its problems. Honestly, before I came to Korea, I was never all, “I’m an American!” But now…
Come back tomorrow? Americans aren’t a “come back tomorrow” type of people. We’re a “Listen bitch, I’M HERE NOW!” type of people. Come back tomorrow? Fugg outta here!!! I will NEVER again complain about Chase or any other bank back home. They may rob us in service fees and you may not feel comfortable putting your money in them because SOMEHOW they always find a way to get to it BUT still. At least you FEEL like you have power. At LEAST they attempt to kiss your ass when you’re there! Korean banks don’t even have free lollipops! WHAT KIND OF A SHAM IS THIS!? But, there was nothing I could do. I just had to swallow that idiot’s mistake and do what I have to do.
If anyone who works in banking here is reading this:
Thank you guys for reading and I hope you fall to the feet of your bank teller the next time you see them. It could be worse. IT COULD BE WAY WORSE~