"Money, Money, Money, the rule and plummet of life"

(That is a Henry Watterson quote, by the way.)

Korea is profoundly still a cash society, which is something of a surprise in a nation so technologically advanced. There are a few exceptions, like the T Money cards used for public transportation, and you can use credit cards around in some places like supermarkets and some restaurants. But most transactions are done in cash. Checks are not used. People pay by bank transfer, and it is not uncommon to have funds automatically deposited in your account, or to pay automatically into people's accounts.

So it is odd that the largest Korean bill is 10,000 Won, which is about ten bucks. You can end up getting quite an impressive stack of them.

The other day at the bank I saw a guy get a tray of bound Won notes that looked like something out of a western.

I thought maybe bigger bills weren't printed to keep down inflation, but that is a completely wild guess.

That all said, it has just been announced that they are going to print some bigger bills, and some people aren't happy.


INSIDE JoongAng Daily: "Ending five months of incessant discussions and controversies, the Bank of Korea yesterday announced the two historical figures to decorate the new 50,000-won and 100,000-won banknotes slated for release in early 2009. The decision was greeted with skepticism by women’s groups."

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