Payment - don't screw this up

figjamm

Member
Sep 20, 2019
37
15
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.
 
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Pakune

Member
Nov 6, 2019
145
47
Thanks to share your experience
I also had many troubles in Korea with my credit card but bizarrely it was a visa
Some shops were not able to use it and some yes
I was also scared about surgery so I bring two credit card
But I’m glad you are talking about it
May I ask which clinic you got those troubles ? In case it’s the same as mine
 

figjamm

Member
Sep 20, 2019
37
15
May I ask which clinic you got those troubles ? In case it’s the same as mine
My clinic is JW plastic surgery, but I don't think that this was their fault. ..I'm sharing this because I think it can happen anywhere to anyone. Maybe someone here knows where the weak point was. How can you prevent this? Maybe if the clinic had multiple credit card processing companies? Would not normally seem necessary

If charging, bring 2-3 payment options. I called both cards before leaving the country to let them know to expect such charges. That didn't help because that wasn't the issue. The one that is getting declined here and there ( B of A) gets declined on very small and very large attempts. The clinic was actually very professional throughout the incident, even though this was high stress for everyone involved. I'm thankful that they trusted me enough to let the surgeries go on as scheduled, but I would have understood if they said to wait until full payment. Only thing I can think of to have done was mail my card weeks before and have them swipe a small amount, to make sure it goes through.
 

figjamm

Member
Sep 20, 2019
37
15
I'll add that the credit cards that worked smoothly:

1) Citibank/Costco Visa (points) - works great everywhere this far
2) Chase Sapphire Reserve Visa (points) - heard good things about this one

the Dud:
Bank of America/Mastercard - Consultant said they had problems with that in the past, too.
usage has been iffy. Customer service when it wasn't working was pretty good, but they were really getting no sign of the charge.
 
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Pakune

Member
Nov 6, 2019
145
47
Thanks for all those infos
This MasterCard also failed for little amount ? Did you try this card in Korea even before surgery ?
 

Limejuixe

Member
Jun 29, 2017
54
2
i had a similar issue years ago in 2016 with JW PS as well, cant remember what issue though. Do you recommend bringing cash just in case?
 
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Pakune

Member
Nov 6, 2019
145
47
i had a similar issue years ago in 2016 with JW PS as well, cant remember what issue though. Do you recommend bringing cash just in case?
It was a MasterCard too ? I have a MasterCard too so wondering if I should take it or not lol
 

gmcnm19

Member
Sep 7, 2019
185
75
I'll add that the credit cards that worked smoothly:

1) Citibank/Costco Visa (points) - works great everywhere this far
2) Chase Sapphire Reserve Visa (points) - heard good things about this one

the Dud:
Bank of America/Mastercard - Consultant said they had problems with that in the past, too.
usage has been iffy. Customer service when it wasn't working was pretty good, but they were really getting no sign of the charge.
I have problems with BOA a lot of time when I was a student in the US and went shopping in foreign countries/home country too. Back to Asia now, cash cash cash all the way. LOL
 

cassiemathis

Member
Sep 12, 2019
9
1
Hi, thanks for sharing your credit card payment fiasco, glad it worked out fine for you! ^_^ Wondering if anyone had any problems with American Express credit card? Please share if you do. Thank you.
 

figjamm

Member
Sep 20, 2019
37
15
It definitely has to do with the card processing step. The BofA card didn't even work at Hyundai Dept Store, but it works at small restaurants, coffee shops, and convenience stores. I have not been in Korea for 10+ years, but come back these past 2 weeks. Btw I'm almost done here and am very pleased with the whole experience thus far. will try to write something up soon

I think Citibank is a safe bet, as I see they even have offices here.
I would bring some combo of this:
1) 3 cards, all with enough room, I suppose this can be a debit card too
2) $1-2k in cash ? ( I don't like walking around with that much cash, but if you could use it if you did have any problems, at least to hold the situation over for a bit). I am at a pretty good hotel with a safe in each room (this was one of the best things about the hotel room thing). Was picked up by by my clinic's driving service/international taxi and then just walked to my appointments. Cash would have been doable, but still. that's a lot of money.
3) Traveler's checks? ( do these things still exist? I thought I saw a note about that at my hotel)

I would not mail the card over and have them swipe. There are just too many staff around and the envelope would have to change hands too many times before it gets physically back to you in your home country
 

Pakune

Member
Nov 6, 2019
145
47
I bring cash and two credit cards I hope it’s enough
I also can use bank transfers in case of needing
I think I’m rdy
 

figjamm

Member
Sep 20, 2019
37
15
I bring cash and two credit cards I hope it’s enough
I also can use bank transfers in case of needing
I think I’m rdy
Good luck!
yes, cash-bank transfer would work and you might even be able to do that right from your computer at the clinic. but it would still cause a delay. omg, what I nightmare to remember I was sitting there with the markings on my face, super hungry and thirsty, trying to sort this out. very thankful to hubs who bailed me out of this!
 
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