Updated：2008-04-27 16:56 | Source：
The legal tender of the People's Republic of China, issued by the People's Bank of China, is the Renminbi (Abbreviated to RMB, Ren Min Bi in Chinese), literally people's currency. The short official name that accords with ISO 4217 is CNY (ChiNa Yuan) with its symbol Latinized ￥.
The monetary unit of Renminbi in China is Yuan, together with the Jiao and Fen as the units of fractional currency. 1 Yuan is divided into 10 Jiao, and1 jiao is divided into 10 Fen. Colloquially in Chinese, the Yuan is called Kuai, and the Jiao is called Mao. At present, the currency in circulation has 12 kinds of par value, including 1, 2, 5 Fen; 1, 2, 5 Jiao; 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 Yuan. However, the Fen notes have been withdrawn from circulation and are now seldom accepted.
The currency used in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan is different - Hong Kong Dollar is used in Hong Kong, Pataca for Macau, while New Taiwan Dollar is circulated in Taiwan. None are linked with the Renminbi.
Foreigners can open bank accounts in China and the process is fairly straight forward. Initially, it is essential that the bank account be opened with the Bank of China, and in most of the larger city branches, there will be an English-speaking member of staff who can assist. A passport is required together with a small deposit. A bank book will be issued with a bank card.
Deposits can be made in several currencies such as RMB, US Dollars and UK Pounds, while withdrawals must be in the same currency as the deposit.
Credit Card and ATM
Although cash is more popular, credit cards have become more and more acceptable in China. Now there are seven main foreign credit cards available in China, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club, JCB, Federal and Million.
Credit cards can be used for withdrawing money, shopping and other transactions in most major Chinese cities, but are generally not accepted in rural, out-of-the-way areas. If the symbols and logos of your credit card are shown on the ATMs, then it can be used to withdraw money. It should be noted that different banks have different limits on the sum that can be withdrawn each time from the ATM, with most permitting a withdrawal of 20,000 Yuan in one day. Since the exchange rate will be converted automatically within the ATM working system, a certain amount of handling charge will be added to the cost.
Please note that cash is more popular in China than in many Western countries, so it is important to carry enough cash and change at all times for your petty expenditure.
The traveler's cheque, which is issued by international commercial banks or authorized travel agencies, offers much more security and convenience while traveling. Similar to cash, the traveler's cheque also has different kinds of par values, and is issued in various currencies. At present, American Express, Visa, Thomas Cook and others issue cheques are recognized worldwide and are available in most large-scale emporiums, star-rated hotels or can be exchanged in more than 800 banks all around the World, without any limitation on the period of validity.
When you purchase a traveler's cheque, your signature is required and there will be a certain amount of handling charge. However, when you cash them, the service center of your traveler's cheque all over the world will provide you with the exchanging service for free, except some non-signatory banks. Do remember that your signature is also required when cashing the traveler's cheque. Make sure the return receipt is kept safe and separate from your traveler's cheque because it will be required if the cheques are lost or stolen. A refund or replacement can be easily obtained in any of the appointed banks of the World.
Foreign currency and traveler's cheque exchange is available in most of China's cities. Banks, hotels, aiports, even the shopping malls will provide such service. In some of the places, the self-service facilities are also equipped to cope with overseas tourists.
All the state banks in China, like Bank of China, Agriculture Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Construction bank, offer money exchange service. At present, 14 foreign currencies can be exchanged at any outlets of Bank of China, including Euro, British Pound, US Dollar, Swiss Franc, Singapore Dollar, Swedish Krona, Danish Krone, Norwegian Krone, Japanese Yen, Canadian Dollar, Australian Dollar, Philippine Peso, Thailand Baht and South Korean Won (only available in particular Chinese cities) as well as the HK Dollar, New Taiwan Dollar and Macau Pataca. Please note that branches of other banks may only accept certain kinds of foreign currencies, and sometimes they will not offer such a service if they are not the provincial-branches.
When exchanging foreign currency, a valid passport is required. The receipt must be retained to show when the RMB is changed back to your original currency before leaving China.
Each tourist is allowed to bring any quantity of traveler's cheques and credit cards, but only USD5, 000 cash (or other foreign currency cash of equivalent value) or CNY20,000 cash is permitted at a time. Any excess sum should be declared to Chinese Customs while going through the red channel.
Editor : 李受恩