What are the currency and the ATM system in Beijing like?

Banking: China’s banking services and facilities are improving, but they are probably unlike what you are used to. Patience will go o long way to get what you need to accomplish. In some places you’ll need to stand in line; in others you take a number and wait to be called. Expect only limited service in English.

Exchanging Money: Sixteen currencies can be converted into RMB at the exchange rate quoted on the foreign exchange market for that day. Only the Bank of China, several outlets of which can be found at the Capital International Airport, can convert all of them. The highest amount once can cash out per day is USD 5,000. But it’s better to do so in small amounts, so as to avoid having to convert any RMB back to your original currency. When converting foreign currency into RMB at an authorized location, they will give you an exchange slip, which you should keep safe as you’ll have to show it should you change your RMB back to foreign currency. Many large hotels are also approved for currency exchange, but the service is often reserved for guests. Passport identification is compulsory for all currency conversions, so be sure to bring it with you.

Credit Cards: Credit cards are not as universally accepted in China as in the West. Major foreign credit cards likely to be accepted here are MasterCard, Visa, American Express, JCB and Diners. They can be used at most star hotels and some department stores. Paying by foreign credit card may entail a 4% service fee.

ATMs: Beijing is quite an ATM-friendly city. Almost all banks have ATMs and many accept main foreign credit cards and bankcards connected to Cirrus, Plus, Amex, Visa and MasterCard. Check the logos posted at the ATM to see if it will accept your card. The top daily limit on withdrawals ranges RMB 3,000-5,000. Transaction fees will be deducted by your bank according to its exchange rate and policy prevailing at the time of transaction.