Travelling to China


#1

I am travelling overseas for the first time ever, and going to China. Can someone please tell me how to access money whilst I’m there.  Of course, I’ll take some cash, but don’t want to take loads. Does a normal VISA card work over there? Are there places to get money out using a NZ Credit card?  I’ve checked out the Cash Passport, but it doesn’t include China Currency - is this right?


#2

Hi
I haven’t been to China but on the back of our credit cards there is the “PLUS” logo. When you use money machines in China look for the machines that have the “PLUS” symbol. You should be able to use that machine to get cash. A bank told me that a few years ago when I went to London. I’m assuming the same applies today.
I’m sure BNZ can answer your question in more detail.
If you do take cash, wear a money belt. Also have a backup emergency supply of access to money either in credit or debit, In case you lose your credit card or it gets stolen. Even if you have travel insurance it gives you some piece of mind if you know you can access other funds.  Sorry I don’t know about Cash Passport.


#3

Hi Leanne, ’s right about the PLUS logo - if you have a card with the PLUS logo on the back you should be able to use it at an ATM with the same logo.
When I travelled to China I found that it was very much a cash culture - it was easier to withdraw a few hundred NZ dollars at a time (which was quite a lot of yuan at the time - I think the exchange rate was $1 NZ dollar to $5 Chinese yuan) and use that to get around as you get charged per transaction so makes sense to do one big one rather than a bunch of smaller ones (you’ll still get the foreign currency service fee though). Especially smaller purchases like paying for meals or taxis or topping up my subway card etc. Means you’ll save on the overseas transaction fees.
Also, if you have a Flexi Visa debit card I’d recommend using that over a ‘proper’ credit card because withdrawing money from a credit card at an ATM means you’ll get stung with the cash advance fee every time. Also, I try to take a couple of different forms of payment whenever I travel in case your card is swallowed by an ATM or lost. My partner and I both take our Visa debit cards, plus he has a OneSmart card that we take as it’s also a credit card and we use that for larger transactions like paying for accommodation.
There’s a couple of good travel threads on here that might interest you, one for general tips here: https://community.bnz.co.nz/t5/Personal-banking/Tips-for-travellers/m-p/146#M14 and one about pros and cons of  Cash Passport vs OneSmart here: https://community.bnz.co.nz/t5/Personal-banking/Cash-passport-or-Onesmart/m-p/1817#M336

And one last tip if you are a BNZ customer: don’t forget to take your NetGuard card!!


#4

Thanks Yvonne & Ford for your replies.  I feel a lot better now knowing about the “Plus” Symbol on the card, my Flexi Debit Visa has one :-)  I think I’ll take some cash, and just use the debit card to withdraw at ATM’s.  Only there for a short time, so don’t think I’ll worry about the OneSmart card.  Might apply for a credit card too, just for emergencies such as loosing the debit card or having it swallowed by the ATM!


#5

Most Chinese merchants don’t accept plastic, it is changing only very slowly, and generally it’s big hotels that are likely to accept cards, but that’s probably not where you want to stay. Best to stick to NZD 30-40/day, 3 star chains like Home Inn, Greentree, Motel 168, as “Chinese” customer hotels don’t have police authority and facilities to book you in.
Be very careful of wallet thieves, it happens to everyone, ask any honest local, but in spite of that the locals carry big wads, coz that’s the only way it works! Drive-by motorbike and even car bag snatchers are notorious in the more tourist oriented centres.
As for ATM cards, I’m posting my recurring experiences. You need backups to backups, thanks very much! They block them faster than they issue them!!!
Seek out the NZ Chinese money changers, last I knew NZD currency was impossible to change in CN. Also, internet transfers NZ to China are difficult, maybe still impossible.
A Chinese bank account has long been easy, contrary to “expert” opinion, and is getting easier. Take CNY cash, deposit in a local bank on arrival, then withdraw as needed to avoid international transaction fees. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China can do English name accounts, Bank of China has used passport numbers for at least a decade, but is coming up to speed.
Card compatibility is not a big deal these days, the CN banks are international, they know how it works better than anyone!
Enjoy all that is China!
:slight_smile: