Whenever we are out traveling to a foreign country, we ask how we will conduct financial transactions.
You will need money when you are traveling for different needs. But it may be tricky carrying your hard cash, which is why you ought to use an ATM.
Besides, you will need the local Chinese Yuan or Renminbi for transactions within the country. If you’re going to use the Chinese Yuan, then the ATM is the best place to get the money.
Nevertheless, there’re a few things to know when you intend to use Chinese ATMs.
Notice that it’s not every place you visit in the country that will accept credit and debit cards. Of course, you need some pocket change.
The easiest way to move around and make payments is to have the cash, and that’s where platforms like WeChat come in.
Don’t forget that WeChat has become one of the most popular modes of payment in China today. Remember, though, that you need a bank account for the same.
This means that you may not have the WeChat pay since a foreigner may not have a Chinese account. This makes it hard because if you are a traveler, why do you need a Chinese bank account?
Bottom line, though, if you only carry your foreign currency, you will have to figure out how to change the Chinese Yuan’s cash.
You will should understand the following though
Notice that you may notice a lot of ATMs just set close to each other as a traveler. Although it can confuse you, notice that some ATMs are only for a deposit while others only allow withdrawals.
Of course, it’s even more challenging for you if you can’t read and understand the language. This means you aren’t even sure if the bank ATM will serve the purpose.
Since you are in China, you don’t expect the signs to be in English as much as they may be in Chinese.
So if you must use it, you should check those that show some English signs on the screen. That’s an indicator that the ATM will allow the English language.
When you are going to use it
When you have found the ATM to use, check the keypad to make sure it’s visible.
Sometimes the number may not be as visible because of the dim light, and they may have the guard over them that makes them invisible.
Also, don’t expect that every ATM has the numbers running from zero to nine; some have nine to zero numbers. So you should know what you are keying in.
We give you a heads up just because we don’t want you to deal with a swallowed card. If you tap the keypad wrongly three-time, then the card will be swallowed.
Can I reclaim my swallowed card?
Of course, you can, but isn’t it hard to cater to some of these mishaps when you are in a foreign country? It would help if you avoided it but if it happens, do the following.
You should only use machines with an open bank connection just in case you have the ATM swallowed. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to get your card back when you are out there.
You will need your passport, a copy of the ATM, which often no one has, and a letter from your bank. There will be other laws to make sure you abide by.
So, of course, you will get it eventually, but there may be a lot you need to put in order.
When I reach the withdrawal limits
Chinese ATMs have withdrawal limits, and it will often be at around a 3-star setting. If, however, the ATM lacks this control, most people won’t trust it as such.
While the idea is restrictive, it will somehow offer you some time if you lost the card, and they can figure out the pin.
So then that means that if you expect to use a lot of money, you can withdraw the funds across different days.
Withdrawing over the weekend
Okay, it would help if you were psychologically prepped that most ATMs lack money over the weekends but especially during festivals. This will then mean that you have to wait for Monday morning when they restock.
Is it safe for me to use the ATMs?
I think this is a question that cuts across. No one wants to withdraw their money if they feel it’s unsafe.
The rule of the thumb here is that you should never withdraw if you see someone loitering around your vicinity.
Therefore, when you are going to withdraw, you should protect your personal space and your PIN too.
Remember, just like any other country, the thieves may be miles away, having set the ATM to steal your data.
Follow your instinct, and if you feel like you don’t trust them, then maybe you shouldn’t. Although sometimes the queues can be unruly, only go there if you trust them.
The charges involved
Of course, there will be fees involved when you need to change your foreign currency to the Chinese currency.
Take time to familiarize yourself with the exchange rate as its often so high.
This is why you ought to make large transactions all at once as opposed to many transactions.
Remember to visit the bank and find out if they have extra charges before you go on to exchange the money.
Be on the know of the regulatory chaos.
Although it can be frustrating, not all difficulties you face when using the ATMs are bank related. The movement’s financial regulations are strict yet mostly heavily regulated too.
Unfortunately, the rules and regulations come and go, so it something beyond the bank’s control.
Which Chinese ATM is foreigner-friendly?
I like that when you are walking across most streets in China, you will come across ATMs at every turn and corner. But you can’t just go into any ATM. You will need to ask the following.
Which Chinese bank is best?
To be on the safe side, you need to choose the bank of China, ICBC, or merchants bank. These are the three reliable banks that are further friendly to foreign cards. They also have locked spaces to get you your money.
Nonetheless, most of the other banks you know of also accept foreign cards. The trick, though, is to make sure the ATM indicates you use master cards or visa cards.
Confirm the kind of cards they accept
Before you go into the bank, make sure you know the kind of cards the bank accepts. Remember, not all banks will accept your ATM card. Luckily the ATM will let you know whether they accept your card.
Check the sign that indicates whether they accept visa, MasterCard, or any other. The two happen to be the most common across the globe. You may not have ATMs that take American express. This is, therefore, to say you need to go in with a different card.
Is it okay to use a debit or credit card?
Like most banks globally, Chinese banks will allow you to use either your credit or debit cards. However, I would advise that you use the debit card to save yourself the high charges and costs you may incur.
Your credit card has a pin, and thus, you must know it before you go out to take some cash out.
How much can I take out?
Of course, like any other country, there’s a cap to the amount you can take out per day. Pliz indicate how much is the limit to withdraw per day.
Your bank will let you know how much you can take out through the bank ATM. Notice that the Chinese bank also has a limited amount you can take out per day.
If you need more cash, then you will have to go into the bank. If you, however, have more cards, use different ones at a time.
Understand the currency
It’s one thing to visit a country but another to make sure you understand the currency. The Chinese currency is also referred to as the Renminbi(RBM).
They will often refer to the Chinese money as Yuan or kuai. China, like most countries today, deals mostly with paper currency but not coin currency. Expect 100, 50, 20, 10, and 1 paper bills.
In the past, they used to be counterfeit money, which means you wouldn’t tell if you have the real currency.
The good thing though, is that the government employed very harsh punishment making it safe. If you use fake money, you are subject to the death penalty.
As you would expect, the dollar exchange rate keeps fluctuating, but China’s government has maintained it at 6.77yuan-1 dollar. When you know this rate, then you can juggle to know how much you want to take from the bank.
The pin length
Notice that most banks in china use six digits long pins, which means the ATM may reject the pin you have but don’t worry; we have a few others that will accept even four-digit pin.
If they want to make the six digits, you can add two zeros to the pin. That will always work for you and anyone else. If you also want to use this trick, contact your bank to accept the additional pin digits.
What exact fees do I expect to be charged?
Of course, we shouldn’t just go blindly; we ought to know ATM charges. I can’t give you the exact fee because it varies from bank to bank.
In most cases, it will be 20-30 CNY per transaction but keep in mind that your bank will also charge you a fee. Now, if they charge the fee, then it will be added to the Chinese charge.
So you will have a withdrawal fee and a foreign charge. You will have the money converted to Chinese currency using the mid-rate, giving you the fairest rate.
Remember, you shouldn’t ask to be charged according to your currency, as it will be much higher.
Can I avoid paying the extra ATM fees?
I know you may say the Chinese ATMs charge highly but don’t be discouraged. You can choose other methods that make sure you don’t pay as much.
- Choose the fee-free network.
Lucky for you, most of the international banks have their branches in China. I’ve seen Citibank, Scotiabank, and HSBC.
There are very many banks, so you can choose the international one. This will work for you if you are a customer of one of these banks.
If you are, then you won’t need to pay the extra charges. This is most effective if you are one of those with the global alliance ATMs.
- Choose a fee-free card.
Suppose you have a bank that doesn’t charge a foreign fee, the better as such banks. A bank like Metro Bank and Charles Schwab has no foreign fees charge.
If you travel a lot, then this is the best idea to use such cards. Debit cards will offer you the cheapest rates than if you choose to use credit cards.
- Transfer wise
The other solution is to use the transfer wise. If you travel to China a lot, you need a Chinese bank, and when you do have such a bank, you can have a transfer wise.
You can, therefore, use it to make the transfer sooner. You will get the best transfer rates as it uses the mid rates.
The best thing, though, is that you won’t have foreign charges. So go on to try whether to use it or not.
In a nutshell, when using the ATM.
Bottom line, you can understand that it’s not hard to find an ATM. The one thing you must be careful about is when using it.
You could easily have the card swallowed, and that’s a whole process to have it back. Just let your bank know you are traveling and will be using the card too to be safe.
I know anyone who likes to travel asks this question. You can use them but if you still have more questions, go to the comment section below.