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Going to any new country can be nerve racking, especially when you aren’t sure what to expect in terms of payment systems. In the Western World, we are used swiping our credit or debit cards for anything and everything, but many places in the Eastern world are not the same. Use these useful tips to be prepared for purchasing anything in China!
The official currency of China is the yuan, otherwise known as RMB.
Notes are available for 1RMB, 10RMB, 20RMB, 50RMB, and 100RMB. As of today (March 2017), 1RMB is about $0.15.
Keep in mind, Chinese businesses do not accept other currency, including the Hong Kong dollar.
Cash is preferred
While hotels and massive chains may accept Visa or Mastercard, we recommend planning on paying for everything in cash.
Don’t forget to tell your bank you’re visiting China
The last thing you want to happen is to have your cards cancelled halfway through your trip. It is always recommended to give your bank a “heads up” whenever you travel, but especially to Eastern countries such as China (if you are traveling from the USA or Europe).
Exchange currency at ATMs
International ATMs are available in all major cities and it's usually cheaper to take out money from these ATMs than to exchange your foreign currency. However, keep in mind, less touristy areas will not have this luxury.
Don’t tip in China
The Chinese do not tip, and you aren’t expected to either.
Use your bargaining skills
In the markets and when buying street food, never pay the listed price. Be respectful, but bargain the price down.
China is an incredible country! With these tips you’ll be ready to enjoy all that it has to offer with little hassle worrying about money.