Through the suggestion of a friend, and hitting a limit to the amount of crap I was further willing to take as a foreigner (gyopo to be exact) in Korea, I did away my prior accounts with KB and Shinhan thinking that I had finally found a bank that understood. I took the necessary steps through an independent representative of KEB, Ms. “Kim,” to sign up for a new checking account and My Signature credit card. A few weeks went by and my expat bank book and debit card arrived. So far so good…
I thought, finally I’ll be able to feel like any regular Korean citizen, making the most of everyday purchases, racking up mileage points and in the case of KEB, Yes-points to be used like cash. Needless to say, weeks turned into months and after several phone calls to Ms. Kim and no answer, she stated that I should NOT call her – that she would (eventually) “call me.” What could have possibly gone wrong? Apparently other foreigners had no trouble. I, with a credit score of above 700, a US issued VISA card with a limit of $16,000, very rarely paying anything late and in my 3rd year living under the F4 Visa status – I was to be denied a credit card?!
This battle was not over. The next step was to look for concrete facts on their website (click on the KEB link titled Credit Card at the top right and Card Issue). Yes, I give props for having comprehensive information in English, but what horse s***. The list of credit cards available for foreigners is nothing but lies. Take for example the KEB Expat Card and Rainbow Check Card, which are clearly promoted towards foreigners. Just this morning I went to the local branch near Seoul National University to apply and was downright denied. Under what grounds? A, I was not a university professor (although it never stated such requirements online) and B, it was not for foreigners?!
Feeling like a donkey being led in circles, I left the branch hot and frustrated. It would’ve been easy to just give up now but I wasn’t about to let that happen. Reminiscing about how much money I and other foreigners spend to stimulate this ungrateful country, most having abandoned their own country during this economic downturn; it makes my blood boil just thinking about it. I wrote a nice letter of complaint on their online message board and in 2 days time, should be getting a reply. Here’s what I wrote:
I am interested in applying for your KEB Expat Credit Card and Rainbow check card. However, when I went to my local KEB branch near Seoul National University, they informed me that neither were available to foreigners. Is this true? If so, why do you advertise them on your website as being expat friendly cards? If not, where can I apply for one and get the truth? Also, I have tried to apply on your website however when I get to the submit/completion page, it shows an error and deletes all my information.
Soon after, I plan on heading to one of their specialized foreign VIP centers in Hannam-dong, Itaewon and Gangnam. It’s just a matter of time before the truth comes out. I don’t understand how to this day, Korea can’t seem to get their head straight and realize that their blowing their own heads off by holding onto such racial, obsolete policies.
If any of you have suggestions or experience (for better or worse), please forward your comments here and here.