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mvpl Mar 17th, 2007 12:21 PM

Can you bring RMBs into China?
I'm flying in to Shanghai (Pudong) and I was told by a local that sometimes the ATMs don't work, so I wanted to bring in some RMBs. Unfortunately my Chase Bank said they can't order them for me. So, I was wondering, first of all, if you could bring them in and if there's a limit to the amount, and, does anybody have a bank suggestion in Chicago area.

Also, what kind of ATM card do you have to have to use ATM's in China? I've heard that there are some banks that don't charge a transaction fee on withdrawals. Is anybody aware of this?

Kathie Mar 17th, 2007 12:45 PM

Getting foreign currency before you go somewhere is a terrible way to get local currency. You pay huge permiums to ge the currency. Take some US$ along to exchange in $50 or $100 denominations. You'll get an excellent rate for these at teh airport in CHina (do NOT exchange before you get there). ATMs will generally work and will give you the best exchange rate.

There have been a number of threads about the charges some banks add to the use of credit cards or ATM cards. Take a look at those. Check with your bank. You need to know

1 - what do they charge for the use of a foreign ATM (prices range from nothing to $5 per use).

2 - What to they add to the foreign exchange rate? Many add 3%, some add nothing.

The best deal I've found is HSBC internet savings account - no change per withdrawal, no added per centage to the foreign exchange rate, and they pay slightly over 5% interest.

nagiffag Mar 18th, 2007 01:19 AM

At Shanghai Pudong airport the Citibank ATM is after immigration before escalator to baggage area. Currency exchange is outside baggage area then to the left, if I recall correctly. I only use ATMs so I'm not sure. There are HSBC and Citibank ATMs all over Shanghai and Bank of China ATMs are compatible with Cirrus. Your hotel can tell you where the closest one is.

If an ATM doesn't work then go to a different one. Sometimes they run out of cash just like an ATM anywhere. I live in Shanghai and can't recall the last time this happened to me.

If your account has a daily maximum withdrawal limit remember that it's based on your home bank's day and not the Chinese day. This means you can withdraw your max in morning and then again in the afternoon on the same day in China. Doing it the opposite way (max in afternoon then any amount the next morning in China) will give you an error and no money will be dispensed for that 2nd transaction and you must wait until afteroon to get more cash.

mvpl Mar 18th, 2007 06:46 AM

Thanks for the specific information. The comment about ATMs not always working came from relatives living in Suzhou. Their service may not be as good as Shanghai.

I know the cost differential with getting money in US first, but I've also had to wait and suffer in airports at odd hours with no local cash or with a huge line at the ATM that's working, so I figure the extra money is worth it.

I'll look up HSBC internet banking and Citibank to get their respective rates.

SiobhanP Apr 10th, 2007 07:59 AM

I live in Ireland but bought RMB in my local Thomas cook. I think I bought about 50-75 euro worth just to pay for a taxi etc. I always use my normal ATM card that I use here in Ireland as it works in India and America so I know it will work in china:-) check with your bank just in case and for charges

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