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Currency, Exchange, Credit Cards, ATMs in China

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The official currency of China is the Renminbi Yuan (abbreviation: CNY; symbol: ¥). Yuan is divided into 10 jiao or 100 fen. Yuan is not traded internationally and it's difficult to obtain outside of China, with the exception of neighboring countries in Southeast Asia.

Foreign Currency Exchange

Foreign currency can be changed at banks, larger hotels or international airports. Some large department stores also provide money exchange services. Usually the official exchange rate is used and there isn't much difference from place to place in the cost of exchanging money, with the exception of the airports' changers where the rates can be much less favorable for foreign tourists and they can also charge a commission of even ¥50 per transaction. The easiest to exchange are US dollars, euros, British pounds, Japanese yen, as well as Hong Kong, Australian and Canadian dollars.

Travelers will need to show their passport in order to exchange the money.

Travelers are advised to keep the receipts from exchanging foreign currency in China. The receipts will be required to change remaining Yuan back when leaving China. Note that Yuan is now widely accepted in many countries in Southeast Asia (like Thailand or Vietnam) so it may be possible to use or change it there (often with even better exchange rate than in China).

There are many ¥50 and ¥100 (and even ¥10) counterfeit bills in circulation. Travelers should pay attention to the bills they receive from stores and ask to change them if they look suspicious. It is strongly advised to only exchange money in banks (like Bank of China) or use ATMs to withdraw cash.


ATMs are available in cities and larger towns and they can be used to withdraw money in local currency when using Visa, MasterCard or Amex. Most ATMs will charge about 4% fee for withdrawing money; the exception is Amex card at Bank of China ATMs, where there is no additional fee.

Credit Cards

Major credit cards - Visa, MasterCard, American Express as well as Discover - are accepted in major cities in larger establishments - restaurants, hotels, supermarkets or department stores. Availability is limited in outside of larger cities and even in the larger centers cash is the only option (if you don't have a Chinese bank card).

Traveler's Checks

Traveler's checks can be exchanged for Yuan in banks and larger hotels. Travelers will get the best rates when exchanging traveler's checks in US dollars.

Banking Hours

Banking hours are generally Monday to Friday, 9:00am - 5:00pm. Some branches in bigger cities can have longer hours during the week or can be open on weekends.

Current Chinese Yuan Renminbi Rates

For other currencies or conversion amounts go to Currency Converter

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