Korea Exchange Bank’s 100-strong airport team provides Incheon Airport Currency Exchange 24 hours a day powered by teamwork, training, and a love of travel.
Incheon Airport’s Preferred Currency Exchange
If there’s one place in Korea that almost every expat has visited and knows well, it must be Incheon International Airport. A handful of old-timers may remember Gimpo airfield, but since 2001, this gleaming airport sprawling across Yeongjeong Island has been nearly everyone’s first – and last – stop in Korea. Serving 40 million passengers a year flying on 89 different airlines, and with the 9th-largest number of international travelers in the world, Incheon is a busy place. And since its start, Korea Exchange Bank has played a vital role at the airport, as a lead bank handling travelers’ currency exchange and other banking needs.
24-hour Currency Exchange
Like immigration officers and customs inspectors, airline agents, luggage handlers, and countless others, KEB’s team of 100 bankers, tellers, and support staff must stay on their toes at all times. But instead of inspecting passports or watching the clock to ensure on-time takeoffs, they keep their eyes on banknotes. The team handles 44 currencies at 9 airport money-exchange booths in the Departures and Arrivals Halls, as well \ in the Concourse zone reached by the airport shuttle train. In addition, a full-service branch operates on Level B1.
After opening at 4 a.m. to greet travelers entering the Arrivals Hall well before dawn, KEB keeps the lights on till 11 p.m. in the Departures Hall to serve those boarding red-eye flights.
“They work very hard. Within each team [booth] there’s very strong unity and teamwork since they work together in close quarters for over six months,” explains Kim Kyung-suk, an Incheon Airport Branch manager. “We have apartments nearby, and some of our people stay there. Others drive from home, and we also have a shuttle service,” he adds.
Converting Dollars, Yen, Euros, and Much More at Incheon Airport
The global currencies like U.S. dollars, Japanese yen, and euros may dominate everyday business, but the F/X booths here also handle a fair amount of Philippine pesos, Thai baht, and Vietnamese dong, reflecting Koreans’ (and expats’) leisure travel hot spots. Demand for currencies from colder-weather regions, like Mongolian tugrik and Russian rubles, tends to be more seasonal.
KEB’s airport crew receives special training on accurately identifying the banknotes of the 44 currencies they handle under trying conditions, and on operating the F/X system, making the work “totally different” from that at city branches, says Kim. Airport-wide, the team handles an average of 5,000 transactions per day. Mirroring the airport’s passenger ebbs and flows, Sundays tend to be the busiest and Tuesdays and Wednesdays the quietest.
“It’s physically demanding work, but it’s worth it,” says Kim. “Every day, you can feel that this is a unique place.”
As travelers pull their luggage off a conveyor belt after a long international flight and trudge past the Customs desk, they’re probably a bit tired, and maybe hungry, too. Perhaps the sight of the “Korea Exchange Bank” name and its wings shining brightly at its money booths offers a comfortable reminder that you’re back home, safe and sound.
KEB operates 9 money exchange booths at Incheon Airport: 4 in the Departures Hall, 3rd floor (at check-in areas F, J, K and serving Gates 12-25), 4 in the Arrivals Hall, 1st floor (at Gates B, C, D & E), and 1 in the Concourse area. In addition, it operates a full-service branch on level B1, accessed from 1st and 3rd floors via elevator/escalator by Gate 6. Incheon Airport Branch phone: (032) 743-2220.