Chinese currency

Apr 29th, 2002, 07:04 AM
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Chinese currency

I have read conflicting reports on whether or not you are allowed to bring Chinese Yuan into China from the United States. I have also called the Chinese Consulate in NY, Houston and now Los Angeles and no one seems to know. Some sites say it is strictly prohibited to bring in any and some say 6,000 yuan is the limit. Does anyone know which is true?
Apr 29th, 2002, 07:40 AM
Peter N-H
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I've seen printed documentation quoting the Y6000 figure, and I take modest sums in and out of China all the time. Certainly Yuan RMB can now be bought in reputable foreign exchange shops outside China, too.
Furthermore, the requirement to declare what funds you are carrying when you enter the country was dropped years ago, and you could carry in Y600,000 (although I wouldn't recommend this) and no one would know. In general the Chinese customs service treats foreign visitors with courtesy, problems are rare, and personally I've never been searched in 15 years of regular visits.

Peter N-H
Apr 29th, 2002, 08:46 PM
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How would they possibly know how much money you have on you? They aren't going to search you.

Going through Chinese customs is similar to going through an airport anywhere else in the world.

May 1st, 2002, 02:18 PM
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Would like to hear from someone. My question is what percentage of cash to travelers checks & can you use credit cards or use debit cards or may you use all? I understand we will need some cash as soon as we get there. Can you cash travelers c. most anywhere or just in banks?
May 1st, 2002, 04:57 PM
Peter N-H
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If you are flying into Beijing there are four ATMs in the airport which accept foreign cards--two at arrivals level, and two at departures. There are also four foreign exchange counters which will change any hard currency you every heard of, and many you haven't, either in the form of cash or travellers' cheques.

There are numerous ATMs in the city itself, but only a handful accept foreign cards. Credit and debit cards will both work, as long as they have Cirrus or Plus logos, or are Mastercard, JCB, or Amex.

Only larger branches and more central branches of the Bank of China (there are minor exceptions) will handle foreign exchange otherwise, although in theory you ought to be able to exchange US cash in almost any bank. At these same branches you can draw cash against Amex, Diners, JCB, Mastercard, and Visa. The minimum withdrawal is Y1200, and the commission is 4%, plus whatever you get charged at the home end.

For cash and travellers' cheque exchanges, in Beijing at least, some of the large department stores on Wangfujing and elsewhere, including the Jianguomen Friendship Store (although there's no other good reason to go in there) can be more convenient, since their exchange desks (with exactly the same rates as the Bank of China) are open as long as the store is, often until 9pm, and seven days a week.

You cannot use foreign currency for purchases in China (although some sneaky vendors might take it from you and get a better black market exchange rate than you can). Although Mastercard and Visa signs abound, in most cases the only cards accepted are the local versions. Anywhere that accepts foreign cards takes all the five listed above, and no others, but is usually going to be somewhere which is going vastly to overcharge you.

Also, your hotel will almost certainly have a foreign exchange counter with the same rates as the Bank of China, open very long hours indeed. Only hotel residents may exchange money at these desks, however.

The exchange rates for travellers' cheques are slightly better than those for cash. Commission on transactions is universally %0.75.

It's been a while since I've bothered with travellers' cheques in China. I tend to rely on my ATM card, taking out a few thousand RMB before heading out of major cities, and carrying a little hard currency in case of emergencies. I never leave it until my funds have run out before visiting an ATM, because they aren't as reliable, even when found, as they are in the West. But China is still essentially a cash society, and cash is what you need. Keep the exchange receipts and residual cash can usually be reconverted without difficulty on departure.

Peter N-H
May 1st, 2002, 08:25 PM
Posts: n/a
Thank you. that helps.
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