Travel, Teach, Live in China

China Bank Made Easy
By:Kane Holding

One thing that you will find when you come to China is that the banking system can be a complete nightmare. Many of you will be used to online banking and easy electronic transactions; things which are not always possible here. You may also have the added headache of swapping money or receiving money from abroad.

If you have limited Chinese then all of these tasks can be daunting, but of course your Global Language advisors will be there to guide you through the process and help you to conduct any important banking you need completed. However, it is important to think about how banking works here so that you can complete your necessary business quickly and without too much hassle. Here are our top tips on how to make banking in China as easy as possible:

- Allow time. Queues in Chinese banks are legendary, and most transactions can only be completed at a counter. You generally have to take a number and then wait for your number to appear, much like in a doctor's surgery in some Western countries. Make sure you have all your particulars with you including your passport for some transactions, and leave at least an hour to complete most bank operations during busy times. Avoid lunchtimes as these are the busiest periods.

- Ask for help. If you are in the bank and find yourself struggling to communicate, you can always ask for help. Most large bank branches in major cities will have an employee who speaks pretty decent English, and so you should be able to get the help you need. You can always get one of the Global Language team to help, or if you have friends who can speak Chinese then take one along with you if possible.

- Pick a large bank. When opening your account, it is important to pick the right bank. Rather than worrying about the best deals, for your needs it is likely you will only have a current account. Therefore, you need to think about picking a bank with many branches. Choose Bank of China, ICBC or China Merchant's Bank for the best access to bank branches throughout the country.

- Bring a spare card. Whilst you will probably use a Chinese account whilst here, it also pays to have a card with you from back home. This way your family can easily send you money, and most ATM's and many shops and vendors will accept Visa and MasterCard. This way you always have access to money and don't have to worry about trying to transfer money from abroad directly into a Chinese bank account, which can be tricky.

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