American Dollars in China

Oct 20th, 2008, 02:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24,356
lollylo - you also need to call your credit card companies. Fraud alerts will block both CC and ATM cards for foreign transactions if you haven't told the companies where you're going.
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 20th, 2008, 05:06 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 875
Yesterday I had a lesson in foreign currency transactions in Beijing.
I have brought cash as well as ATM cards. Breaking my own habits, since as a rule I never carry cash when I travel but on this trip I have.

It was a very painful 30 minutes with a lot of back and forth. One of the $100 bills was rejected because it was not brand new, despite watermarks etc.

From now on it is only ATM's for this China traveler, saving the cash for Cambodia where dollar is supposedly king or at least currency used.
Nywoman is offline  
Oct 20th, 2008, 08:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 326

I was aware of calling my credit card company before I traveled, but not the ATM cards, don't know why I didn't figure that one out.

I was stuck for 2 days in Israel with no money (due to a very long story and Traveler's Checks) I don't want that to happen ever again!
lollylo25 is offline  
Oct 21st, 2008, 09:47 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
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I recently returned from China and had no problems at all at any ATM machines - I used them in Beijing, Chongqing and Shanghai. I know there were very few problems other people had at other cities (Xian and others). In addition, I brought $50 in ones and about $200 in 5s, 10s and 20s. I found I could have used more singles and less 20s.
I always notify my bank ahead of time that I will be using the ATM card. I do the same with my credit card companies. A short phonecall beforehand saves lots of time in hassles should there ever be a problem.
Enjoy your trip - it's a fascinating country.
Lolo12 is offline  
Oct 21st, 2008, 10:01 AM
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What on earth were you using the singles for?
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 21st, 2008, 10:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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For the stuff that is '2 fa dolla'.
Jed is offline  
Oct 21st, 2008, 11:11 AM
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>For the stuff that is '2 fa dolla'...

...and that would only cost ¥1 each (or nearly seven for a dollar) if paid for in local money. Someone once said on this site (I believe) that US$1 bills were 'so useful for buying Cokes' at tourist sights. The cost of a 'Coke' is ¥2.5 or so; less than one third of the US dollar value at the time, and still less than US$0.50 now.

People who wander round China brandishing foreign currency in the belief that it is in some way superior to the legal currency of that country perhaps deserve all the rip-offs they encounter. And if any vendor is eager to accept US$ you can be quite certain you are being ripped off.

The purpose of taking a few large bills in a major foreign currency (euros, dollars, or sterling usually best) is only for emergency cash exchanges where ATMs fail.

Peter N-H
PeterN_H is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2008, 08:25 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 729
Thank you for all the tips. I appreciate it.

Barb65 - our itinerary is:
Leave Sacramento 10-31-08
Leave Los Angeles 11-1-08
Shanghai 11-2 to 11-4
Beijing 11-4 to 11-7
Xian 11-7 to 11-9
Yangtze 11-9 to 11-13
Guilin 11-13 to 11-15
Hong Kong 11-15 to 11-17
Back to Sacramento 11-18

A typical first timers tour to China and we am going to have a blast!
BabsB is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2008, 10:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Indeed, Peter, I always found that it is best to pay in local currency. At the time we went, the $1 was about 8 yuan which we got at the ATM in the airport, and replenished as needed.
Jed is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2008, 10:44 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
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What a small world. I think we are on the same tour-China and the Yangtze River leaving on 10/31. We are flying out of JFK, so we won't meet until we arrive in Shanghai. If you see someone with an orange Fodor's bag, a souvenir of the recent Boston GTG, it is probably me, although it could be some else as I know the bag is being used by others. Safe travels and if we are on the same tour, looking forward to meeting you.
shelleyk is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2008, 12:36 PM
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Posts: 729

Sure sounds like it. Our tour is with Smartours and the guide is Joy Zhou. I am traveling with my girlfriend and my cousin. How about you? Barb
BabsB is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2008, 12:55 PM
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I am travelling with my husband. See you in Shanghai.
shelleyk is offline  
Oct 26th, 2008, 06:44 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 187
Babs and Shelley that is so great you are on same tour! Small world for sure. You leave this week - have a wonderful trip.

Sorry we are going some of the same places but different days. here is our schedule if any one else out there will be in the same places same days - love to have dinner or whatever.

Nov. 6-8 Nanning
Nov. 8-10 Guillin
Nov. 10-11 Yangshuo
Nov. 11-13 Xi'an
Nov. 13-18 Beijing

Barb65 is offline  
Oct 27th, 2008, 06:50 AM
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Barb65-Thanks for your good wishes. I hope you have a safe and memorable trip.
shelleyk is offline  

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