How to Talk About Money in Korean

Any language learning endeavor would be incomplete without a few cash-related vocabulary words up your sleeve.

In this guide, you’ll oearn how to talk about money in Korean, from the general terminology all the way to slang and more. 

Contents

How to Say “Money” in Korean

The Korean word for money is (don).

친구야 나 돈 좀 빌려 줘.

Friend, can (you) lend me some money?

South Korean currency is called (won). Its symbol is ₩ and it’s abbreviated as KRW.

The Won is further subdivided into 100 (jeon) but the symbol isn’t commonly used, as it’s more practical to refer to amounts in whole Wons. However, the division exists conceptually, with 100 Jeon making up 1 Won.

The Korean Won is available in both coins and banknotes. Coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 won, while banknotes are issued in denominations of 1,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 50,000 won.

Korean Money Vocabulary

Money has its own lingo, and if you plan to travel to Korea, you’ll need to know it to get around. Here’s all the vocabulary you need to know to talk about money in Korean. 

General Money Vocabulary

KoreanPronunciationEnglish
경제 gyeongjeEconomy
동전 dongjeonCoin
가격 gageukPrice
비용 biyongCost / Expense
수입 suipIncome
지출 jichulExpenditure
현금 hyeongeumCash
정가 jeonggaFull price
할인 harinDiscount
환불 hwanbulRefund
영수증 yeongsujeungReceipt
bitDebt
월세 wolseMonthly rent
가계 gagyeHousehold finances
중산층 jungsancheungMiddle class
용돈 yongdonAllowance
푼돈 pundonPocket money
돈벌이 donbeoriMaking money
비싼 bissanEspensive
ssanCheap
저렴한 jeoryeomhanCheap
귀중한 gwijunghanValuable
부유한 buyuhanRich
가난한 gananhanPoor

Banking and Financial Terms

KoreanPronunciationEnglish
지폐 jipyeBanknote
은행 eunhaengBank
예금 yegumDeposit
계좌 gyejwa
Account
계좌 명세서 gyejwa myeongseseoStatement of account
예금주 yegumjuAccount holder
대출 daechulLoan
이자 ijaInterest
이자율 ijayulInterest rate
이자 계산 ija gyesanInterest calculation
수수료 susuryoFee / Commission
통장 tongjangPassbook
신용 sinyongCredit
신용 카드 sinyong kadeuCredit card
신용 등급 sinyong deunggeupCredit rating
직불 카드 jikbul kadeuDebit card
출금 chulgeumWithdrawal
이체 icheTransfer
자동 이체 jadong icheAutomatic transfer
환전 hwanjeonCurrency exchange
환율 hwanyulExchange rate
수표 supyoCheck
보험 boheomInsurance
금융 geumyungFinance
증권 jeunggweonSecurities
주식 jusikStocks
주식 시장 jusik sijangStock market
투자 tujaInvestment
수익 suikProfit
손실 sonsilLoss
자산 jasanAssets
부채 buchaeLiabilities
세금 segeumTax
세금 신고 segeum singoTax filing
과세 평가 gwase pyeonggaTax assessment
급여 geubyeoSalary
현금 인출기 hyeongeum inchulgiATM (Automated Teller Machine)
잔고 jangoBalance

Korean Slang for Money

Got some cash? Can you spare a buck? Every language has its own unique ways to refer to the dough. Here’s some Korean money slang to make you sound more natural when you’re discussing your finances. 

  • 돈맛 (don mat) — A taste for money, referring to the enjoyment of spending money
  • 돈봉투 (don bongtu) — Money envelope, often used for gifts or bonuses
  • 풍년 (pungnyeon) — A year of financial abundance or prosperity
  • 깡패 (kkangpae) — Originally meaning “gangster,” this is sometimes used to refer to someone with a lot of money or financial power
  • 현금 (hyeongeum) — Cash, literally translated as “ready money”
  • 떼돈을 벌다 (ttedoneul beolda) — To make a fortune, similar to the English phrase “to make a killing”
  • 흙수저 (heuksoojeo) — Someone born into a poor family, literally meaning “dirt spoon” as a twist on the phrase that someone is born with a silver spoon in their mouth
  • 월급쟁이 (wolgeupjaengi) — A salaryman, or someone who relies on a monthly salary
  • 돈벼락 (donbyeolak) — A sudden and unexpected large amount of money, like a financial windfall
  • 빈털터리 (binteolteori) — Empty pockets, referring to someone with no money
  • 달러 (dalleo) — Dollar, used in a similar way as you’d use “bucks” in English
  • 사과 박스 (sagwa bakseu) — Literally meaning “apple box,” this refers to corrupt politicians sending cash inside boxes as bribes, and as such the slang term can be used to mean “bribe”
  • (pun) — Used for counting money, this word can be used to refer to cash in general, and is also found in the phrase 어림 반 푼어치도 없다 (eorim ban puneochido eopda), meaning “to not even be worth half a penny”
  • 금전욕 (geumjeonyok) — A lust for money
  • (ttaeng) — Literally meaning “ding,” this word is used to denote good luck or fortune
  • 파산 (pasan) — Means to go broke

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How to Talk About Money in Korean

You have the vocabulary down, now it’s time to actually use it. (Though if you end up in a tricky situation, don’t feel bad about asking to switch to English—money matters!)

Read on to see some common phrases and situations related to Korean money that you might encounter in everyday life. 

Counting Money

To count money, simply say the number followed by won. For example:

Counting bills? Add 권 (gwon), like this:

You can study Korean numbers and counting with this blog post:

Bargaining and Negotiating

Korea isn’t big on bargaining, and you’ll only find haggling commonplace in the more rural areas. Still, you may find yourself in the position to negotiate, in which case you can use these phrases and sentences: 

Here are some more vocabulary words that might come in useful for negotiations:

KoreanPronunciationEnglish
협상 hyeopsangNegotiation
흥정 heungjeongHaggling
조건 jogeonTerms and conditions
할인 harinDiscount
타협 tahyeopCompromise
상의 sangiConsultation
교섭 gyoseobBargaining
협의 hyeobuiAgreement
제안 jeanProposal
보상 bosangCompensation
합의 hapuiConsensus
대화의 기술 daehwaui gisul
Communication skills
신뢰 ssilloe
Trust

Asking About Prices

Even if you don’t find yourself haggling for a better price, asking how much something costs is a skill you’ll need to have if you travel to Korea. Here are some common vocabulary words, phrases and sentences you may need to use in your shopping excursions:

 

You’re a little richer thanks to this post—your knowledge bank is full of ways to talk about money in Korean!

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