The Golden Triangle Bank is the primary bank of the Rason Special Economic Zone. Exchanges rates here are at local market exchange rates of 8,000KPW/US$1 instead of the usual 100KPW/US$1. The exchange rates here are also much better than in Pyongyang.
Because Rason is a ‘Special Economic Zone’, you’ll find Chinese and Russians businessmen making transactions here. The most popular currency is the US dollar, followed by the Euro Dollar, then the Chinese Renminbi. The locals told me the Russian Ruble had a big slide in 2014 so it’s not really popular anymore.
Tourists who are brought here are sometimes told by their foreign tour leaders they can “open a North Korean bank account” and get a Money Card. The fact is that tourists are merely buying an electronic stored-money card. This particular E-money card can only be used within the Rason Special Economic Zone and it will not work elsewhere in North Korea. There are other E-money cards like ‘Koryo Link’ & ‘Jonsung Cards’ that work for the rest of North Korea.
Here’s a closer look at the electronic stored-value card. The English translation at the back of the card is:
Notice for the card users.
1. Do not bend it or place it near electric devices.
2. Report to the bank immediately when lost.
3. Keep away from sharp objects to prevent damages on the card.
4. When the passcode is disclosed, change it immediately.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Golden Triangle Bank