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Frequently Asked Questions by Foreigners about Banking in China

2015-04-20

 

Can foreigners open an account in China?

Yes. Foreigners can easily open a savings account at most banks in China.


 

What do foreigners need to open a bank account in China?

At most banks you will only need your passport to open a bank account in China.

 

Will I get an ATM card?

Yes. When you sign up for a savings account you will be given an ATM card.

 

Are ATMs readily available in China?

Yes. It is not hard to find an ATM machine in Chinese cities but in mountain villages and other remote areas ATMs are few and far between.

 

Can I use my ATM card from home to with withdraw money?

Yes. As long as your ATM card has the Cirrus or Plus sign on it and the ATM machine in China also displays the same symbol you should be able to withdraw money from your home account. You will receive funds in RMB of course.

 

Are ATMs available 24 hours a day?

Yes. Most ATM machines are available 24 hours a day.

 

Can I get a Chinese credit card?

Most likely not. It is very difficult if not impossible to get a Chinese credit card.

 

Can I use my credit card in China?

Yes. Most international credit cards are accepted in China. However, credit cards are only accepted at large hotels, department stores, large chain restaurants, etc. The most readily accepted credit cards in China are Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diner's Club, and the JCB card of Japan.

 

Can I bring Chinese currency, RMB, into China?

Yes. You may bring up to 20,000 RMB without declaration at customs. Any amount higher than 20,000 RMB will have to be declared at customs.

 

Where can I exchange currencies, US dollars to Chinese Yuan (RMB)?

You have several options to exchange money into RMB. The first one is at the bank. You will most likely get a better exchange rate at a Chinese bank compared to a bank in your home country. However, you will get less RMB at the bank than through other money exchange channels in China. The second place you can exchange money is on the street. Here you will get better rates and receive more RMB for you currency, especially US dollars. If you plan on exchanging money on the street make sure you know the current exchange rates at the bank and exactly how much RMB you will receive for your money. Guesthouses or hostels are good places to find someone to help you setup a money exchange. Just be careful. Most importantly this is ILLEGAL and some people will try and cheat you with high rates or even counterfeit notes so make sure you know what you are doing. The third is wire transfers. You will get the most RMB for your money this way and you won't have to worry about being cheated with high exchange rates or counterfeit notes.

Can I send or wire money overseas?

Yes. You can wire money to your home country through a bank. But there is a limit. You are not permitted to send more than your salary home each month. This may be lower than you think. Check your actual salary amount with your employer. Your employer may only report a portion of your pay as salary and report the remaining portion as housing allowance. You save money on taxes this way but if you need to send certain amounts of money home each month it is best to make these "reports" clear at the time of contract negotiations.

What are the bank note denominations in mainland China?

Chinese Bank Notes: 100 yuan, 50 yuan, 20 yuan, 1 yuan, 5 yuan, 1 yuan, 5 jiao and 1 jiao. Chinese Coins: 1 yuan, 5 jiao, 1 jiao NOTE: Yuan may also be called kuai. Jiao may also be called mao.
 

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