money exchange in China

Old Mar 21st, 2007, 12:09 PM
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money exchange in China

A couple of months ago we visited Thailand and saw there that the exchange rate is better with dollar bills of 50 or 100 than with smaller bills.

Is the situation similar in China? Is it better to bring big bills instead of small ones?
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 02:13 PM
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The exchange rate is the same everywhere no matter the denomination of your cash. The exchange rate is actually better for Travelers Checks, which I used to rely on, but during my last trip there, nobody would take VISA TC's, which I can get free from AAA. They only wanted AmEx TC's and this happened both times that I tried it.

I don't use ATM's in China because they're sometimes not convenient or out of money, especially late on weekends.

So I generally take $100 bills and keep them literally close to my body. You might want to take some smaller denominations for when you get near the end of your trip and only want $20 or $50 of local currency. Once you change into yuan, you can't change back at hotels. I also find flights out of China often depart before the Bank of China opens at the airport.

K.
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Old Mar 21st, 2007, 08:19 PM
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Thanks Kudzu.

From your reply, I understand that I can buy back dollars at the airport (if the bank is open). Did I understand correctly?

We have a flight at 10 PM, so I would assume that the bank (only the Bank of China?) should be open when we get there.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 06:38 AM
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I'm not certain how late it stays open, but I wouldn't count on it being open after 5 or 6 pm. Yes, only the Bank of China. Talk about "bankers' hours!"

Are you then going to Hong Kong by any chance? You can spend yuan there and also change to dollars. With Chinese traveling so much now to nearby countries you might be able to convert yuan elsewhere now too, but my experience doesn't extend to that.

Best thing would be to spend down nearly to the end and then use anything left over to buy souvenirs or food/drink at the airport while you're waiting! By the way, brand-new bills are nice as souvenirs and when laminated, make great gift bookmarks.

K.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 08:00 PM
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When we were in Beijing a few years ago - you could only "exchange back" currency for US dollars (or Euros) IF you had a receipt from the original exchange. So, keep those receipts!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 09:57 PM
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I found in China that for a 100 yuan they really inspect it at grocery stores, etc. I think it's best to bring small bills since they are much easier to use. Think about it, for a pop it's only 3 yuan there. Using a 100 yuan is like using a 100 dollars here. It's easier with small bills. trust me.

Good Luck

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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 02:31 AM
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100RMB is less than US$13 so it's more like a US$10 bill. It's the largest denomination China has and it can be fake. That's why people either put it under a black light or hold it up to see the embossing. I've received fake 20's too. The only bill you'll get from an ATM is 100.

I live in Shanghai and ONLY use ATMs in China - or any other country for that matter. I haven't seen a TC for years and would consider it a hassle to deal with. I have to go get them and then pay for that privilege?!?
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 07:02 AM
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From Hong Kong, we'll be flying into China for 2 weeks. I assume I can buy Yuan with Hong Kong dollars inside China proper.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 07:48 AM
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Are the ATMs located in or outside of banks, as in the US and Europe? I am guessing that they would be "multli-lingual". I hadn't actually thought about money changing yet (we leave mid-May)
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 08:01 AM
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sssteve - If you'll be in Hong Kong first, then you can get some RMB there first. Exchange rate is basically the same as you'll get inside China. No need to worry about finding a ATM or bank initially.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 08:16 AM
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Thanks RK.

I assume that RMB = YUAN.

Sounds like a good idea to buy some RMB in Hong Kong, but I assume it's best to use Hong Kong dollars in Hong Kong. Am I right?

Where's the best place to change money? Airport? Hotel? Bank? Money changer?
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 08:21 AM
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Yes, RMB = Yuan = CNY. All the same thing.

Only currency one should use in Hong Kong is HKD. A few merchants that cater to mainland Chinese shoppers will take RMB, but there's absolutely no reason for you to do so.

Most banks will change HKD to RMB for you. But if you're changing from USD, then you'll be paying for commissions for USD-HKD, and then HKD-RMB. So, only do it if you want to have a little of money in your pocket. You should get the rest directly in China, either from a ATM or exchange with USD.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2007, 11:15 AM
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On my trips to China, I use ATM's for all my money. I have had very few problems finding one.

Be very careful accepting 100rmb bills from any source other then banks. Always check 20 & 100's for watermarks (looking at the side with Mao on your right there will be a white space on the left and you will see a watermark of Mao there when held up to light).

As someone else pointed out, when you leave China you need receipts (ATM or Bank) to exchange RMB back to $. You can only exchange back 1/2 the amount of RMB receipts you have.

Take a few $1us bills with you. For some reason Chinese like them. I've had people ask me for them in part payment of purchases.
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