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Money & Costs

Bank Accounts


Foreigners can indeed open bank accounts in China, Both RMB and US dollar accounts (the latter only at special foreign exchange banks). You do not need to have resident status, a tourist visa is sufficient.


 

Carrying Money


A money belt or pocket sewn inside your clothes is the safest way to carry money. Velcro tabs sewn to seal your pockets shut will also help thwart roving hands. Keeping all your eggs in one basket is not advised - guard against possible loss by leaving a small stash of money (say US$100) in your hotel room or buried in your backpack, with record of the travellers cheque serial numbers and your passport numbers.


 

Cash


Stock up some RMB 10 bills in case of the vendors and taxi drivers cannot make change for big note. Counterfeit bills are a problem in China. Very few Chinese will accept a RMB 50 or RMB 100 bill without first checking to see whether it is a fake or not. Notes that are old and tattered are also sometimes hard to spend. If you are having problems with a note, exchange it for a new one or small change at the Bank of China -counterfeits, however, will be confiscated.


 

Chinese currency


The Chinese currency is called renminbi (people's currency) and is often abbreviated to RMB. The basic unit is Yuan. Ten Jiao make one Yuan; ten Fen make one Jiao. Thus 100 Fen make one Yuan.Hongkong's currency is the Hongkong dollar and Macau's is the Pataca.

 

Credit Cards


Credit cards are gaining more acceptance in China for use by foreign visitors in major tourist cities. Useful cards include Visa, Maaster Card, American Express, JCB and Diners Club. They can be used in most mid-range to top-end hotels (three star and up), Friendship Stores and some department stores. Note that it is still impossible to use credit cards to finance your transportation costs; even flights have to be paid for in cash.Credit card cash advances have become fairly routine at head branches of the Bank of China, even in places as remote as Lhasa. Bear in mind, however a 4% commission is generally deducted.


 

Money


As in the rest of China, Renminbi (RMB) is the legal currency in Tibet. Only the Bank of China offers currency exchange services and facilities in Tibet and certain up market hotels (Lhasa Hotel, the former Holiday Inn, and Tibet Hotel). The Bank of China has a main office (0891-6835078) and several sub-branches in Lhasa, which all cash travelers' checks while only the main office offers cash advances on major credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, Diners Club and Amex). Its main office is located on Lingkhor Bei Lu 28, north of the Yak Statue and its hours of operation are 9:30 am -1pm and 3:30 - 6:00pm, Monday to Friday. Another convenient sub-branch lies on Beijing Dong Lu, between the Kirey Hotel and the Banak Shol Hotel. Its hours of operation are 9:30am-6:00pm, Monday to Friday, and 11am-3pm, Saturday and Sunday. The Bank of China Shigatse office, near the Shigatse Hotel, can provide travelers' checks exchange services also. Cash advances on credit cards are not available here. Zhangmu has two sub-branches also. Due to a lack of conversion outlets, visitors may have to change their extra RMB on the black market before their exit.

 

Travellers Cheques


Besides the advantage of safety, travellers cheques are useful to carry in China because the exchange rate is actually more favourable than what you get for cash. Cheques from most of the world's leading banks and issuing agencies are now acceptable in China - stick to the major companies such as Thomas Cook, American Express and Citibank and you'll be OK. However it is only acceptable in the bank instead of shopping centers.

 

Remark:

the "RMB"(yuan) is the only market cash used in Tibet .

 

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