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Updated : 2018-12-10

Updated: 2012-12-08

A guide for services at Chinese banks in Beijing.

This guide is written based on services at the Bank of China. Other banks may be different (but are likely to be generally similar).

Regarding all of your bank dealings:

You will usually have to get a ticket by selecting "Personal Banking" – and then wait in line for your number to be called. (It will also usually appear on a screen.)

Your passport will be required for many different types of bank services.

You can sign forms in English.

ATM Card and Passbook Account with Telephone Banking and E-Banking

About this Account

This account is good for daily use of RMB and allows you to get information about your account online and over the phone.

You will receive an ATM card that you can use to withdraw cash and pay for things in many stores. This account has a 10-yuan annual fee, and opening the account requires a 5-yuan card fee. The opening deposit must be larger than 1 yuan. It is also possible to make deposits in foreign currency.

You will also receive an electronic key to use online and will be able to get information on your account by phone. You can set passwords individually for each access point for your account - one password for online, one for your ATM card, etc. – or you can also set all passwords to be the same.

You can go to any branch to receive money from another party, withdraw, deposit, use an ATM, or close your account.

How to Open a New Account – key points:

1. You will be asked to create a six digit password (PIN) for your passbook, and to enter the number twice.

2. You will be given an envelope-shaped paper containing a pre-printed password for your card. You will be asked to type in this password to activate your card.

3. You will be required to sign two documents to confirm that you are opening an account. One covers the rules of the account, and the other is to confirm the opening of the account.

The following key steps concern registration for telephone banking service:

1. The teller will ask you to enter the password for your card (this refers to the pre-printed password on the envelope-shaped paper in step 2).

2. The teller will ask you to enter the password for your passbook (this is the password you created in step 1).

3. You will then have to type in the card password (from step 2) twice.

4. Create a new password for telephone banking, entering it twice.

5. Sign two documents to confirm that you are registering for the telephone banking service.

The following steps concern registration for e-banking:

1. The teller will ask you to type in the password for your card (this is the pre-printed password on the envelope-shaped paper from step 2).

2. Create a new password for e-banking, entering it twice.

3. Sign two documents - the first to confirm that you are registering for e-banking, and the other document states that you agree to follow the e-banking protocols outlined by the bank.

4. The bank teller will give you an electronic key that includes your password. You need to log in with this password.

5. The bank teller will then tell you the website address

6. Try using your card at the nearest ATM. Insert your card, select English. Enter the pre-printed password on the envelope-shaped paper. Select "Change Password". Change the pre-printed password to one that you select.

ATM Withdrawal

International Cards

The money is converted to the local currency at the time of withdrawal, according to current exchange rates. Your home bank may charge for this (this fee may be expensive - or the service may even be free).

The financial networks that are widely available in Beijing are: Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus and JCB.

Where to Use Your International Card

You can use your international card in most tourist and business areas. In some shopping areas (Wangfujing, Zhongguancun, Dongzhimen) there are special ATMs for foreign cards. Local cards do not work in these ATMs.

If you are not in a tourist or business area, you will probably be able to use your international card at Bank of Communications ATMs, and you may also be able to make withdrawals at a Bank of China ATM.

Withdrawing Cash

After we confirm the current maximum…I can then rewrite the paragraph…] ] [Is the information in this paragraph still correct…? If yes – I will rewrite this sentence] Every time you withdraw from an ATM that is not owned by your bank, you will be charged a fee of 2 yuan. If you use a local card at your own bank's ATM, the withdrawal is free.

If you find that you are unable to withdraw from an account - for no obvious reason - try another account category. For example, you may have to select "Credit" to access a savings account at an ATM.


Exchanging Currency

Regarding the form - you may only need to fill in your personal information and the amount that you wish to exchange.

Keep the receipt so that you can convert back to the original currency when you leave the country.

Receiving Money From Abroad

Funds Transfer / Wire Transfer

Process for transferring funds to a Beijing account from outside China

The SWIFT network is used and the sender will require the following information from the recipient:

Name of the account holder/recipient

Account number

Bank branch name

Bank address


Phone number of the bank branch

Phone number of the account holder/recipient

If the bank that is sending the funds is not directly connected to the SWIFT network, the bank may ask for another bank to send the money. The second bank may charge a fee. Each bank that is involved in the process may charge a fee – usually from $20 to $30 for a transfer from the US to Beijing .

The recipient can obtain the banking information from the branch office.

The transfer may take 3-7 workdays.

The recipient cannot check by ATM to find out if money has been deposited or sent - unless it is received in RMB. Most transfers from abroad will be in foreign currency, and will arrive in your account in foreign currency, and will not appear on an ATM - but will probably show up in e-banking and telephone banking statements.

Lost Card or Passbook

If your card is lost or stolen, you should report the theft/loss to your bank.

How to Close Your Account

You must go to the bank branch and sign a form. The bank teller will give you – in cash - the amount that remains in your account and a receipt indicating the closure of your account. If you have more than $10,000 or the equivalent in the account that you are closing, you may need to make an appointment.


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