How To Exchange Money In China

how to exchange money in china

Exchanging Money in China: A Comprehensive Guide


In China, financial matters can be somewhat perplexing, but a smooth trip awaits the well-prepared traveler. The pivotal step is in understanding how to exchange your money. This article will take you through a comprehensive exploration of options that guarantees an economical and efficient value transfer experience.

Understand the Currency Exchange Basics

Before stepping into the vast realm of money exchange, it’s crucial to comprehend the basics. In China, the primary currency is the Renminbi (RMB), whose unit is the Yuan (¥). The exchange rate of RMB to other currencies continuously fluctuates, predicated on international and internal economic trends. Such volatility calls for wise timing in seeking prime exchange rates.

Using Banks for Currency Exchange

Banks stand as the traditional option for exchanging foreign currency. In China, more established banks like The Bank of China, ICBC, and China Construction Bank have branches ubiquitously and offer reasonable exchange rates. However, it is essential to note that service charges may apply, and hours might limit availability.


Modern travellers often find convenience in using ATMs, which provide round-the-clock accessibility to cash. Most ATMs across China accept international cards like Visa, MasterCard, and UnionPay. Nevertheless, transactions can incur bank fees and financial risk in case of card skimming or theft.

Exchange Bureaus

Exchange bureaus serve as a intermediaries for foreign currency transactions, and they exist in large quantities in Chinese international airports, major hotels, and shopping areas. Rates can be competitive, but it’s prudent to compare different providers.

Online Platforms

In the current digital age, exchanging currency online bears substantial advantages, offering competitive rates, minimal fees, convenience, and often home delivery service. You can treat services like Travelex and Forex as perfect examples of this.

Mobile Payment Apps

China has leaped into the digital realm with the proliferation of mobile payment apps. Alipay and WeChat Pay have revolutionized payment methods, offering an easy, quick, and secure platform for transactions that require just a smartphone.

Traveler’s Cheques

In China, you can exchange traveler's cheques at appointed outlets like The Bank of China. While traveler’s cheques provide security, they may also entail exchange fees and are gradually being eclipsed by digital payment systems.

Money Transfer Services

Reliable money transfer services like Western Union and MoneyGram resonate well with travellers seeking an emergency cash infusion or those funding lengthy stays. Here, charges apply, and rates may not necessarily compete with banks.


When venturing into China's money exchange realm, it’s essential to weigh the benefits and potential drawbacks of each option before deciding. Check and compare currency rates, understand potential fees, factor in convenience, and always maintain a safety-first mindset. With careful planning, it's possible to have a fantastic, worry-free exploration of this fascinating country.