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Money Tips

 

ATM/Bank Cards
Automatic teller machines are available in China. In some cases, they will work with foreign-issued bank debit cards (especially those on the Cirrus or Plus networks) and usually will only be able to access a checking account for funds. Leave some checking account deposit slips for your parents in case they need to add money to your account. Please be sure to have some sources of funds other than ATM available as well.

Local Bank Accounts
You can open a local foreign currency/RMB account at China Construction Bank or the Bank of China, or ICBC and can withdraw funds using a passbook and/or an ATM card for the account issued in Hangzhou. When traveling, use the ATM card to withdraw funds. You should always carry (safely!) sufficient money in cash to cover emergencies.

Changing Money
You will find several establishments in China where money-changing services are offered. Banks are the best places, offering the official rate and charging a reasonable commission. A passport is required to change money. Bring a pocket calculator to check the accuracy of your receipt when changing money. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the current exchange rates before you go abroad.

Be sure to save your receipts for all foreign currencies exchanged into RMB. Government regulations allow only 50% of the original amount to be changed back into foreign currencies and require proof of the initial exchange.

(For example, if you change $100 to RMB you can only change back half of the RMB to dollars, $50 worth, and must provide the original exchange receipt). The RMB to dollar exchange must be made at the main branch of the Bank of China in the city.

Do not change money outside of the official exchange services. Unofficial exchanges usually result in travelers losing their money. The practice is illegal and you could also face charges of breaking foreign exchange laws.

Safety with Money
Observe safety precautions with money. Do not keep large sums of cash in your dorm room. Buy a travelers’ money belt or neck wallet and beware of pickpockets in crowds and on public transportation.