Opening Bank Accounts in China
When you come to China, it will be more convenient for you if you open a Chinese bank account. Opening a Chinese bank account is actually an easy process, not a nightmare for you as you might expect.
The only actual needed document for a basic account is your passport. You need neither proof of address nor proof of income. When you enter the bank, don’t bother the counter. You can head for an information desk and express the desire to open an account. They will give you a bilingual form. But it is better for you to ask the information desk staff to fill it out for you – they are more careful than you and probably have neater handwriting.
Business Hall of the BankOne thing you should pay attention to is the name. Make sure that the name on the form matches the name on your passport exactly. Otherwise there’s a chance the money won’t get through for the computer system will regard the wrong name as another account. If you want internet or mobile banking, you can request these at the same time. When the forms are completed, you can hand over them and your first deposit, 10 yuan for minimum. Some banks will charge 15 yuan for the cost of the bank card, such as The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). Whenever you get the card, you will be asked to set a six digit pin. The password of your internet banking needs to be changed into the pin with numbers and letters on the online bank after you get home. Don’t forget it.
ICBC1. Many foreigners assume that though the Bank of China sounds like the most reliable bank, it doesn’t provide the best customer service. The ICBC and the Merchant’s Bank tend to get better reports.
2. The branch bank near concentrations of foreigners, for example, near a university or central business district, are more likely to provide English services.
3. You’d better not to go too far to find a branch, because there are some services you have to turn up at the branch in which you open your account, such as reset your password of your bank account. So it will be convenient for you to open bank account in the branch nearby.
Can foreigners open an account in China?
Yes. Foreigners can easily open a savings account at most banks in China.
What do foreigners need to open a bank account in China?
At most banks you will only need your passport to open a bank account in China.
Will I get an ATM card?
Yes. When you sign up for a savings account you will be given an ATM card.
Are ATMs readily available in China?
Yes. It is not hard to find an ATM machine in Chinese cities but in mountain villages and other remote areas ATMs are few and far between.
Can I use my ATM card from home to with withdraw money?
Yes. As long as your ATM card has the Cirrus or Plus sign on it and the ATM machine in China also displays the same symbol you should be able to withdraw money from your home account. You will receive funds in RMB of course.
Are ATMs available 24 hours a day?
Yes. Most ATM machines are available 24 hours a day.
Can I get a Chinese credit card?
Most likely not. It is very difficult if not impossible to get a Chinese credit card.
Can I use my credit card in China?
Yes. Most international credit cards are accepted in China. However, credit cards are only accepted at large hotels, department stores, large chain restaurants, etc. The most readily accepted credit cards in China are Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diner’s Club, and the JCB card of Japan.
Can I bring Chinese currency, RMB, into China?
Yes. You may bring up to 20,000 RMB without declaration at customs. Any amount higher than 20,000 RMB will have to be declared at customs.
Where can I exchange currencies, US dollars to Chinese Yuan (RMB)?
You have several options to exchange money into RMB. The first one is at the bank. You will most likely get a better exchange rate at a Chinese bank compared to a bank in your home country. However, you will get less RMB at the bank than through other money exchange channels in China. The second place you can exchange money is on the street. Here you will get better rates and receive more RMB for you currency, especially US dollars. If you plan on exchanging money on the street make sure you know the current exchange rates at the bank and exactly how much RMB you will receive for your money. Guesthouses or hostels are good places to find someone to help you setup a money exchange. Just be careful. Most importantly this is ILLEGAL and some people will try and cheat you with high rates or even counterfeit notes so make sure you know what you are doing. The third is wire transfers. You will get the most RMB for your money this way and you won’t have to worry about being cheated with high exchange rates or counterfeit notes.
Can I send or wire money overseas?
Yes. You can wire money to your home country through a bank. But there is a limit. You are not permitted to send more than your salary home each month. This may be lower than you think. Check your actual salary amount with your employer. Your employer may only report a portion of your pay as salary and report the remaining portion as housing allowance. You save money on taxes this way but if you need to send certain amounts of money home each month it is best to make these “reports” clear at the time of contract negotiations.
What are the bank note denominations in mainland China?
Chinese Bank Notes: 100 yuan, 50 yuan, 20 yuan, 1 yuan, 5 yuan, 2 yuan, 1 yuan, 5 jiao, 2 jiao and 1 jiao. Chinese Coins: 1 yuan, 5 jiao, 1 jiao NOTE: Yuan may also be called kuai. Jiao may also be called mao.
- Select a bank. Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China and ICBC are three of the best. Each of these banks has a variation of the same requirements. Opening an account with US Dollars will require between $100 and $500. You can also start an account with a low amount of RenMinBi (RMB-Chinese currency).
Bring a valid passport and, if available, a residence permit. Other forms of identification should not be necessary. A Chinese employer, such as a university, can set up a bank account for their foreign employees to make direct deposit payments. Having a native speaker along helps.
Start with the Agricultural Bank of China. The bank requires a minimum of $100 and a valid passport. Just 1 RMB is required to open an RMB account. The Agricultural Bank of China is also the official bank for Western Union in China.
Try the Bank of China. The Bank of China requires a passport and $500 to open an account. After completing the application form, the customer is issued a debit card for use in Bank of China ATMs all over Beijing. The Bank of China has several account types for foreigners.
Open an account with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) with a passport, residence permit and a notarized translation into Chinese of the account holder’s name. The Chinese name is required to open the account; notaries can be found by visiting the Beijing Notary Public Office at 206 Jixiangli, Chaowai Street.
Foreigners can easily open bank accounts in China. If you intend to open a bank account in the country, select a bank, bring your passport, evidence of residence in China (optional) and make a first deposit varying from $ 100 to $ 500 depending on the banks. The residence permit and (or) your visa with an official translation in Chinese might also be requested. Bear in mind that Chinese staff do not usually speak English. Try to find a Chinese speaker able to help and assist you with your administrative matters.
A debit card is generally delivered without much difficulty in China. Upon opening your bank account, you should also receive a bank book. Debit cards in China allow you to withdraw cash from ATM’s and are accepted in most Chinese shops. If you have a debit card from your domestic bank account abroad, you can withdraw money in China in ATM’S bearing the “Plus” or “Cirrus” logos. Make sure your debit card is compatible!
Given the high number of credit cards in circulation in China, and fraud arising from them, it is very difficult, if not impossible for foreigners to get one. However, international credit cards are usually accepted in department stores, restaurant chains, international hotels and airports.
If you opt for the Bank of China, you will be in a position to easily proceed to electronic money transfers from your domestic bank account abroad to your bank account in China (via IBAN and SWIFT money transfers). However, money transfers from your local bank account in China to your domestic bank account abroad are strictly controlled. In order to proceed with a money transfer from china to another country, an authorization from the Chinese authorities is requested. You have to give evidence that the money transfer amount is inferior to your monthly salary.
Before opening a bank account in China, check with your domestic bank to get information about partnerships that could exist between your bank and Chinese banks.
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