Banking and Local Currency
hina provides a wide range of banking facilities and money exchange services, which are available in large cities, international airports, major banks, and top-end hotels. Traveler's checks are the safest way to carry sums of money, but always keep some cash to hand for transport, restaurants, and purchases, as traveler's checks are the safest way to carry large sums of money, but always keep some cash to hand for transport, restaurants, and purchases, as traveler's checks and credit cards cannot be used everywhere, especially in still be hard to find outside Hong Kong Macau, and some of the larger cities.
Banks & Banking Hours
The bank of China has the most extensive network in the country. Several other major banks operate nationwide, including the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the China Construction Bank, and China Merchants Bank. Banks are normally open 9am-noon and 2pm-4:30pm or 5pm Monday to Friday, but there are variations between places, and some banks are open on Saturdays. All banks remain closed for the first three days of the Chinese New Year, with reduced hours during other Chinese holidays.
Automated teller Machines (ATMs) that accept foreign cards are common in Hong Kong and Macau, but scarce in mainland China, so it is best not to rely on them. ATMs attached to international networks such as PLUS, CIEEUS, and MAESTRO can be Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, often at airports, major branches of the Bank of China, and five-star hotels. Some ATMs also dispense cash against credit cards. Cash withdrawn from ATMs is subject to the same exchange rate as credit cards, and there may be a limit to how much you withdraw per day.
Chinese currency is non-convertible; it is not widely available internationally and cannot be used outside the country. You will have to exchange your money in China (most major currencies are accepted), and then convert any left-over renmimbi back before you leave. You can exchange currency at banks and international airports and most decent hotels will change money for guests. All exchange operations are linked to the Bank of China so rates do not vary between them. Keep exchange receipts so that you can re-convert any surplus renminbi before leaving China. The Chinese"black market"for exchanging foreign currency offers only marginally better rates than banks. Dealing with the shady character involved is not worth the hassle or risk, and you may end up with counterfeit renminbi.
Hong Kong dollars are convertible outside the country. They are accept in Macau and most southern Special Economic Zones.
Credit cards are widely accepted in up market restaurants and hotels and in large tourist shops, but always check before attempting to make a purchase that your foreign card is accepted. The accepted cards are MasterCard, Visa, Japan Credit Bureau (JCB), Diners Club, and American Express. Air tickets can be bought by credit card from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) offices, but train tickets have to be paid for in cash. Cash advances can be made on credit cards at the Bank of China.
Traveler's checks are safer to carry than cash and offer a better exchange rate, but you will have to pay a commission. All major brands are accepted in China, and American Express and Visa are the most widely used. They can be encased at major branches of the Bank of China, and at larger hotels, but are not accepted at most hotels and restaurants. Keep the proof of purchase slips and a record of the serial numbers in case of loss or theft. Hotel on to encashment slips, so you can convert spare renminbe to another currency before leaving the country.
China's currency is called yuan, also known as renminbi, literally People's Currency. One yuan divides into 10 jiao, which divides into 10 almost worthless fen. In colloquial Chinese, jiao is called mao, and yuan is kuai. The most common coins include 1 yuan, 5 jiao, and 1 jiao, while the bills in circulation are 1, 2, and 100 yuan. There are also some fen coins and notes, but this tiny denomination is rarely accepted. Try not to acquire too many damaged notes, as they may be difficult to get rid of. Counterfeiting is widespread, and shopkeepers regularly scrutinize large denominations. Hong Kong dollars divide into 100 cents, and Macanese patacas into avos.
The more recently minted bills have Mao Zedong on one side and a well-known heritage site on the other. The older bills depict the traditional dress of various ethnic minorities.