Table of Contents
It provided for information only. The Exchange Rates of CNY against the US Dollar and other currencies are fluctuating frequently due to the changing world financial situation. All exchange rates are subject to our final confirmation.
- Chinese Currency Notation
- The Strength of the Yuan
- Withdrawing Yuan in China
- Exchanging Foreign Currency for Yuan
- Paying by Credit/Debit Card
- The History of Chinese Money
- Denominations of Chinese Money
- How to Recognize Fake Money and Other Tips
- Photos of Current Chinese Bank Notes
- Photos of Current Chinese Coins
- Photos of Old Chinese Bank Notes
The official currency in China is the Renminbi (RMB or CNY) or in Chinese “Ren-min-bi”. The basic unit is the yuan (also known as “kuai”), which equals 10 jiao (or “mao”), which is then divided into 10 fen. Paper currency comes in 1.2,5,10,50 and 100 yuan notes. Paper jiao come in denominations of 1, 2, and 5. There are also 1 and 2 fen notes, but these are rarely used as they have no purchasing power. 1 yuan, 1 and 5 jiao, and 1, 2, and 5 fen coins are even common used in larger cities.
Obtaining Yuan in China from Foreign Currency
It is possible to exchange traveler’s checks or cash at most banks, and large hotels usually have a money exchange counter. Hotels will usually only allow you to change money if you are guest at the hotel. You are required to present your passport to change money/travelers checks etc.
The Bank of China has an ATM network that will allow cash advances from major credit / debit cards and ATM cards. Check you credit card provider for this information before leaving your home country.
If an ATM withdrawal is not sufficient (e.g. due to your daily withdrawal limit) cash advances are available on most common credit/debit cards e.g. American Express/Visa/MasterCard, but this facility is available only from the main branch of the Bank of China in most Chinese cities. A fee of 3%-4% will apply.
Changing Yuan Back to Your Currency
The RMB is not easily convertible on the international market so it is only usable in China. (RMB is now readily convertible in Hong Kong.) It is therefore advisable to change only the money that you need for your trip, as it may be difficult or costly to change it back to your preferred currency.
You can convert unused RMB to another currency in China by producing the receipts for your original purchase of RMB in China. This exchange can be done at the airport as you leave China. There is a foreign exchange black market, but it is illegal.
Exchanging traveler’s checks may not available in small cities, counties and towns. Travelers are expected to use cash or bank cards when traveling in small cities, counties and towns.
Major credit cards such as Master Card, Visa, JCB and American Express are accepted in major hotels and department stores. Check on the acceptance of your credit card before you purchase. Credit cards cannot be used in most restaurants or small convenience stores. Air Travel could be purchased with credit cards. Credit cards can be used to get a cash advance in the main offices of the Bank of China.
Wire Transfer using a service called Money Transfer is available and is a joint venture between the China Courier Service Corporation and Western Union. This service allows instant money wiring to and from 100 countries.
Although the Government is trying to eradicate this practice there are still some problems with the use of counterfeit money, although the problem is decreasing. It is very common practice for those who are receiving money to check its authenticity. Do not be offended by this practice. It is not a reflection on your character.
China Highlights Travel currently quotes tour prices in US Dollars. We are currently reviewing our policy in this matter.
- Should a revaluation of the Chinese Renminbi occur, China Highlights Travel will honor all quotations for tours that have been fully paid at the time of the revaluation.
- Customers who have not paid for their tour in full at the time of any revaluation will be required to pay the difference between the old and new price calculated in Renminbi.
Other Things You Should Know About Chinese Currency
China Highlights has several articles to further assist you in your dealings with currency exchange and money more generally in China.
- Our general guide will assist you with further information about currency exchange, using bank cards, travelers checks etc.
- ATMs may present unexpected challenges in China, so please see our guide before using them.
- Finally, for those interested in the RMB in its own right in terms of its culture, traditions, and use, see our guide to China’s money.