Open a Bank Account in China
Opening a bank account in China as a foreigner is not as difficult a process as you might first assume. There are various benefits for an expat should they choose to open a bank account at a Chinese bank. As an expat, having an account at a Chinese bank can allow for cheaper banking as well as the ability to purchase certain goods and services online that cannot be purchased with foreign debit and credit cards. If you decide to open an account as an expat at a Chinese bank I believe that you should make sure to do the proper prep work, bring the proper documentation, and make sure you sign up to receive a Union Pay Card. Also, it is important to be aware of several implications to having a bank account in a country like China.
Proper Preparation before Opening a bank account in China
Opening a bank account in China is primarily beneficial to those that are going to be residing in China for a relatively long period of time.
The language barrier will be the biggest obstacle that a foreigner will face when trying to open an account at a bank in China. The best way to combat this obstacle is to bring a trusted friend that can speak and read Chinese fluently. However, this is not necessarily a possibility for many people. So if you do not have a Chinese speaking friend, you can open a bank account at one of the “Big Four Banks.”
Big Four Banks in China
There are four banks in China that is considerably larger then all of the other banks; they are often referred to as, “The Big Four.” They are Bank of China (BOC), China Construction Bank (CCB), Agricultural Bank of China, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). These large institutions offer the most reliability, convenience, trust-worthiness, and they are the most likely to have an English speaking employee. In addition, all four of the banks have English websites which will help greatly with online banking and when trying to find information regarding your bank. Even though these banks are the most likely to have an English speaking employee, it does not guarantee that there will be one working when you go to open an account. Therefore, it is better to call ahead of time just to make sure that there is someone at the bank working that day that can speak English.
Proper Documentation for Bank Account Opening in China
There is not much needed paperwork wise. The only thing that you will need to bring with you when you open up a bank account is your passport. This is essential and you will not be able to open up a bank account in China without your passport. You should not need any other documents besides your passport nut just bring another form of identification with you just in case. There should be no reason for you to leave your passport or any other identification documentation at the bank for an extended period of time.
Union Pay in China
Anyone that has spent time in China would notice that credit and debit cards are not accepted at most businesses. However, in recent years as the economy has rapidly expanded, bank debit cards are being accepted at more and more places. Most places that do accept cards, only accept Union Pay, not Visa or MasterCard.
Union Pay is a Chinese bank card network company that is run by the state. Union Pay in China is only available through Chinese banks and a few select international banks. It is the only card that is accepted at many business locations and web sites. That is why it is highly advantageous for you to get a Union Pay card.
Inflation in China
The Chinese government’s economic policy entails them controlling the rate at which their currency is traded with other foreign currency. Because of this regulation and control, there is a less likely chance of a significant appreciation/depreciation of the Chinese Renminbi (Yuan) in a short amount of time.In addition, the Chinese Renminbi has shown a trend of appreciating over the past several years and it is very possible that it will gain value over the currency used in your native country in the years to come.
Contact Information of Big Four Banks in China
1. Bank of China
Customer Service Phone Number – (hotline) 95566
2. China Construction Bank
Customer Service Phone Number – 400 120 5568
3. Agricultural Bank of China
Customer Service Phone Number – (hotline) 95599
4. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
Customer Service Phone Number – (hotline) 95588
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