Payment - don't screw this up

figjamm

Member
Sep 20, 2019
38
16
So visas work fine here just not MasterCard?
I don't know enough about the way these cards work to say if that is true or not.
Anyone have smooth experiences with MC? I will try to call company later this week and see what they say. It has to do with relationships/channels between card processing companies and the card issuer in the US, I think.

My impression is that Citi is a good way to go if they have offices all over the world. BofA does not...but don't MasterCard? I can try to call the cards that worked and ask why...
 

highbutterfly

Member
Sep 16, 2020
24
2
With so much to think about before getting to Seoul, I did not give sufficient thought about this detail..how to pay. I just made sure that my 2 credit cards had sufficient room to charge for my procedures ( I wanted points and credit history build up). Asked about the fees, etc. Thought I was good to go.

Not the case.

On procedure day, this payment part was extremely stressful and almost comical. DISASTER.

Doctor did his face drawing. Had final consult. Fasted for 4+ hours. Was ready to go.
We swiped my Bank of America MC.

It did not work!!! Tried many many times. Tried calling them from consultant's phone. Tried calling the processing company here in Korea. Nothing could be done. The credit card company in the US said that they were NOT EVEN RECEIVING THE CHARGE, but if it came in, they'd process it.

It never worked. I maxed out a different card (my VISA), with a lower limit, but that didn't cover everything. Probably 2 hours go by. I'm starving. The waiting area is busy with people. Trying to transfer cash online or transfer from the card to the clinic bank, etc. etc.

Meanwhile, lady next to me with fancy purse, pulls out bundles of dollars. I guess she brought this with her on the flight? ( In looking back, I see that this can be safely done, if you are being picked up in Seoul by a trusted driver or taking fairly direct transportation?) The clinic runs the dough through a counting machine. DONE. She is on her way to la-la-la land....

Me, I'm racking my brain about what to do. SH#@$@##, I came this far, got this far and now I won't be able to do this???? This will throw off the surgery schedules?!! I texted my husband ( yes, resorted to this). Thankfully I had taken a picture with the doctor, so I could prove that it was me, and not someone who found my phone in this foreign country...Asked husband to wire money. He decides he wants the credit card points and we end up sending the card via DHL. Since I had paid a significant portion already, the clinic was ok to proceed (but do not count on this! They could have waited, for sure) and we continued with surgery plans. Held my wedding ring as collateral ( my passport was at my hotel, but at one point, we discussed me walking back with the face markings to go get it. we were running out of time, so decided against that).

The card arrived today via DHL. Paid with no issue -- this was VISA. Phew.
The credit card that declined, continues to randomly do so here in Seoul. I have a Citi Visa card that has worked smoothly for everything. Guess which card I am going to stop using in the near future???

Don't let this happen to you. It was extremely stressful. I'm going to see if I can open a bank account or see if the old one I had from almost a decade ago is still open.
Thanks for your post, I know its been awhile since anyone has replied. I am actually struggling to figure out how I can pay for my procedures. I am estimating they will cost me $15-30K USD and I live in Canada.

Do most people way with credit cards? I literally only own ONE credit card (mastercard) which a very low limit of like $3000 CAD/month or something.

It seems like majority of the people who use this forum suggest using cash or credit card. But do most Americans/Non-canadian residents have high credit card limits?? Even my debit card has a $1000/day limit.

I REALLY REALLY REALLY dont know how to go about this. Wiretransfering prior to the consultation seems like a terrible idea too... I have the funding but its really hard for me to actually access my money. If you have any advise I would really appreciate it.
 

figjamm

Member
Sep 20, 2019
38
16
1) get another credit card with a high limit. It is possible?/common ( in the US) to have limits of 25k, 25k, etc). My Citibank visa had a low limit for me - even today, so I can't use it that much. The MC is $20K +. Get another card with a high limit and do as much as you can to find out its usability in Seoul. In hindsight, I think if you are careful, your cash would be safe. Stay at a place that has a safe in your room. Don't go out and about much until you offload your cash. I'd probably do that if it was $10K or less procedure.

Maybe figure out a way to wire your cash to the clinic AFTER you've had your consultation. I didn't have enough cash to cover it, so that wasn't something I considered. I think with a reputable place, you'd be ok. They will do the surgery - that's not to worry about. Will you like the outcome? that's everyone's problem. ( and trust me, how you feel about will change over time)

In hindsight of my whole process, I got all the documentation ( papers I signed, copies of that), receipts, etc. Today, I feel like I could trust them again and be ok. Considering a trip for my mom - so we recently discussed this. She'd transfer money to a friend with Korean bank account.
 

highbutterfly

Member
Sep 16, 2020
24
2
1) get another credit card with a high limit. It is possible?/common ( in the US) to have limits of 25k, 25k, etc). My Citibank visa had a low limit for me - even today, so I can't use it that much. The MC is $20K +. Get another card with a high limit and do as much as you can to find out its usability in Seoul. In hindsight, I think if you are careful, your cash would be safe. Stay at a place that has a safe in your room. Don't go out and about much until you offload your cash. I'd probably do that if it was $10K or less procedure.

Maybe figure out a way to wire your cash to the clinic AFTER you've had your consultation. I didn't have enough cash to cover it, so that wasn't something I considered. I think with a reputable place, you'd be ok. They will do the surgery - that's not to worry about. Will you like the outcome? that's everyone's problem. ( and trust me, how you feel about will change over time)

In hindsight of my whole process, I got all the documentation ( papers I signed, copies of that), receipts, etc. Today, I feel like I could trust them again and be ok. Considering a trip for my mom - so we recently discussed this. She'd transfer money to a friend with Korean bank account.
I see, thanks so much!!!! I have gotten so much out of these threads :smile: