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Bank cards in China, using Visa and MasterCard bank cards in China 2020

When coming to China you might get a bit of a shock that Visa and Master Cards won’t be accepted everywhere. You still can use them in major shopping malls, big food chains, hotels and airports but forget about using it in local shops or paying with it in a small cafe.

Local Chinese and expats use WeChat Pay (Tencent Group) и Alipay (Alibaba Group) and rarely some cash.

For foreigners coming to China to travel or for short-term business trips the most popular choice to pay in smaller places or for a taxi ride is cash.

In which banks can I withdraw cash from my Visa and MasterCard?

Currently, there are few banks that work with international bank systems such as Visa and MasterCard:

  • Bank of China (中国银行)
  • ICBC (中国工商银行)
  • ABC (中国农业银行)
  • China Construction Bank (中国建设银行)

Try not to waste your time and find a bank from our list. Show these names to Chinese people or copy paste it into the map app and find your route.

How much can I cash in one go from Visa and MasterCard in China?

On the moment of writing this article the one-time withdrawal limit was 3000 CNY. The daily limit depends on the card issuing bank. Remember you can always increase the daily limit just by applying for it in your bank.

Should I get UnionPay for business trip to China?

If you’re going to cash out a lot of money (more than 10 000 USD or more), it’s definitely worth getting UnionPay bank card. In this case you’re looking into saving up to $50 USD per transaction. If you need it just for getting around the city, don’t bother.

UnionPay Pros

  • Favorable exchange rate
  • Accepted by most of the sales and service centres in China

UnionPay Cons

  • Not every country has ATMs accepting UnionPay cards
  • Very few ATM outside China with deposit function for UnionPay cards

Is it possible to withdraw USD from an ATM of a Chinese bank?

Even though you can easily withdraw USD from ATMs in many countries, China is an exception. In PRC the entire banking sector is strictly regulated and ATMs only cash RMB.

However, if you are traveling through Hong Kong or Macau, then you can first withdraw cash dollars there, and then bring them to China. In this case, print wathraw receipt (you might need it as a proof of money origin) and if you have more than 5000 USD in cash (in any currency) don’t forget to declare money when crossing the border with mainland China.

Can I to pay for goods and services in China in USD cash?

People are used to paying in USD in countries with well developed tourism sector. In China no store will accept foreign cash, furniture showrooms might be one of the places where dollars and euros are accepted without any problems.

Where to exchange money (dollars, euros) in China?

There are no problems with the exchange of dollars and euros to yuan. All banks exchange rate is about the same, so don’t worry about which bank to go to just don’t forget your passport.

Avoid local money changers, they’ll cheat you big time!

More information about customs regulations and limits on incoming currency in China in our article.