It is approaching that time of year when many foreigners are nearing the end of their year-long contract in China and are looking forward to a well deserved break. Whether you are heading back home or to another country to continue an international adventure, we all know that trying to convert large amounts of money to another currency can be a nightmare! Hopefully we can shed some light on one of the easiest and cheapest ways to do so…
Take a Chinese Bank Card Home
This is one of the easiest ways to spend you RMB when you get home. Simply open up a bank account (you probably have one already) and withdraw the money at an ATM when you get home. We recommend Bank of Chengdu (BoCD)
Bank of Chengdu (成都银行) Gold Card
The Bank of Chengdu offer a ‘Gold Card’ which gives you free cash withdrawals anywhere in the world, this is perfect if the ATM you withdraw from doesn’t charge (almost every ATM in Europe, but very few in America) as you won’t have to pay any fees to withdraw you cash in your home currency. This option is best for Europe, or any country which has free ATM withdrawals. Its is also a good deal for Americans if you find a cheap place to withdraw cash or, get cash-back in a shop instead (not all stores will accept UnionPay though).
It is also worth mentioning that when we say ‘free cash withdrawals anywhere in the world’ this includes China so you will be able to withdraw at any domestic ATM for free as well!
The only drawback is you need to deposit 20,000 RMB into the account when opening in order to qualify for the ‘Gold Card’. However once the account is set up you don’t have to keep 20,000 RMB inside, so if you’re short on cash you can easily borrow some money from a friend and pay them back as soon as the account is set up.
You also may need a non-tourist visa e.g a work visa and a Residence Permit to qualify for an account – but if you don’t have them you may still be able to get it depending on the staff in the branch as this policy is unclear – even to the staff. They may ask for photo ID other than your passport if you don’t have a photo Residence Permit.
Another thing to bear in mind is that BoCD doesn’t allow you to connect your card to WeChat or Alipay without a Chinese ID. But you can always use another bank for this purpose.
We will be sharing more ways to avoid charges when taking money home soon so get in touch and let us know your own ways of doing so.
Post by Cheaper Chengdu Team