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China-What's best-atm, credit card or traveler's checks?

China-What's best-atm, credit card or traveler's checks?

Feb 1st, 2005, 06:02 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 531
China-What's best-atm, credit card or traveler's checks?

My 13 yr. old son is going to China this summer as a student ambassador with the People to People International Program. What would be the best form for his spending money? ATM card, credit card or travelers checks or a combination of all three. If he used an atm card, would the one from our Wells Fargo bank work everywhere or should I get a VISA TravelMoneyCard. My thoughts with giving him a credit card would be as a back-up for cash advances in emergencies. Also does he need a 4 number pin like Europe. (we had 5 numered pins on our cards which we switched to 4 number for our trip to Europe). I have researched my question, including prior posts from about 9 months ago on this board. It seems that every one had a different answer and China's ATM system seems to have updates which change this answer. So for that reason I am asking all of you who have provided great help to me on previous trips. My son will be visiting Beijing, Xian, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Thanks, itsv
itsv is offline  
Feb 1st, 2005, 06:49 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,602

ATM cards-yes-most Bank of China ATMs will have the Cirrus, Plus, Maestro logos that will permit use of your local bank's ATM card. I had NO problem using my local ATM card in Beijing, Xian, or Shanghai-ATMs that accept foreign ATM cards are everywhere-not all of them will take your card, but enough will so that it will be no problem.

Credit cards-yes-you always need those for back-up, and also, to purchase items in shops, pay some hotel charges, etc.

Travelers checks-big no. Your son will have a dickens of a time finding a bank, much less a shop and even hotels, to take them. They're unnecessary now with the advent of ATMs.

In sum, if your son takes his Wells Fargo ATM and credit cards, he'll have no problem whatsoever.
Spygirl is offline  
Feb 1st, 2005, 07:41 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,343
i second spygirl's advice.

i used my standard UK issued bank card (no diff from an american one - at least for these purposes). for my 2 w/d in shanghai, i used HSBC machines (as i was familiar with them). there was one at the airport as you exit the bag pickup.

Be sure your son retains the receipt from the machine as you need enough receipts to cover any amount of RMB that he wishes to sell back as he leaves china (and you can only sell it back in china as far as i know).

he is one lucky boy.
walkinaround is offline  
Feb 1st, 2005, 08:46 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14
My daughter is going on the same Peope To People trip. I'm glad you asked this question. We are, likewise, trying to find the best solution for her spending money on the trip.
BetoBob is offline  
Feb 1st, 2005, 09:08 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,501

I prefer to travel just with an ATM credit card...when my wife and I went to China a couple of years back we only brought credit cards and we didn't have that many problems getting a hold of cash in Beijing, Xi'an and Hong Kong. I have posted a trip report with more information and pictures on my homepage http://gardkarlsen.com. Maybe you can find some useful information there

Stavanger, Norway
gard is offline  
Feb 4th, 2005, 02:11 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,109
Will ATM's be readily available in the following cities:


Since these are not the regular tourist spots I wonder what options I have for ATM or should I plan on travelers checks.

Also, do ATM's give instruction in English as well as Chinese? If not, how would one use them?

Thanks, Lynnie

LynnieD is offline  
Feb 4th, 2005, 02:33 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,602
Exactly. How WOULD one use them? Yes, those ATMs in China that accept the Visa/Plus/Electron/Cirrus logos will have a screen which will prompt you as to which language you want to use-English often being the only other one besides Chinese. I don't know about all the cities you mentioned, but ATMs are in many more remote places than you might initially think.

This is the useful website to find out which ATMs in Chinese cities (and all around the world) accept the Visa/Electron logo:


I just did a quick search of your first 4 cities: each has loads of ATMs that accept the Visa logo.
Spygirl is offline  
Feb 4th, 2005, 04:14 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,109
Thank you so much SpyGirl.
LynnieD is offline  

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