Using a Chinese Bank Account

Find out about the products and services available from banks in China, plus bank opening times...

Cheques, credit and bank cards

Cheques are not commonly used in the country, so cheque books tend not to be supplied. Chinese banks will, however, accept cheque deposits from overseas banks.

Credit cards are becoming more common in China, and it is possible, although not common, for foreigners to apply for a credit card through a Chinese bank. To obtain one, a residence permit and proof of employment and regular salary are usually required. It may also be possible to apply for one through an employer's bank. Using an overseas credit card is more common than applying for a local one, and is particularly useful for making online purchases.

Bank cards are usually issued when the account is opened. A 6-digit pin number is then allocated. Bank cards bare the China Union Pay (CUP) logo and can be used as a debit card and to withdraw money from cash machines. Up to 20,000 RMB can be drawn from a cash machine each day. 24 hour notice is required to make a withdrawal above the daily limit.

Other services

Other standard services available with a current account include:

  • linked savings accounts and schemes
  • currency exchange
  • telephone banking
  • online banking
  • transfers

Fees are often charged for services such as making transfers, issuing cards and sometimes for making withdrawals using cash machines or paying for goods or services with a debit card.

While it is relatively easy to transfer money from overseas accounts to Chinese accounts, transferring money out of the country is restricted, and the bank must clear this type of transfer with the authorities.

Legally, there is also a limit on the amount of local currency a foreigner can exchange in a day (currently US$500), although again the application of this rule can vary from bank to bank.

Opening Hours

In general, banks are open Monday to Friday 09:00-17:00, and Saturday mornings, but hours can vary from branch to branch.