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Money & Currency Converter

Chinese Money

The official currency in China is the Renminbi (RMB or CNY)or in Chinese "Ren-min-bi". The basic unit is the yuan (also known as "kuai"),which equals 10 jiao (or "mao"), which is then divided into 10 fen. Paper currency comes in 1.2,5,10,50 and 100 yuan notes. Paper jiao come in denominations of 1,2, and 5. There are also 1 and 2 fen notes, but these are rarely used as their purchasing power is exactly zero. As for coins, there are 1 youan ,1 and 5 jiao,and 1,2, and 5 fen(ahain, the fen are basically useless).

Changing money

You can exchange traveler's cheques or cash at most banks, and hotels always have a money exchange counter. you can also get a cash advance on your American Express card, but for this you need to go to the Bank of China headquarters at Fuchengmen or the one at the Asia-Pacific Building (Ya Tai Da Sha)on Yabao Lu. To change money, you have to have your passport at hand. If you want to change money in a hotel, you usually have to be a guest there. Sometimes if you are not a guest in a hotel but need to change money there, you can just say a random room number, but this doesn't always work.

At present ,the RMB is not exchangeable on the international market, so it is only usable within the country. So when you are changing money, don't change too much, because it is difficult to change back into other currencies. To change RMB back into your home currency, you must retain the exchange slips that are given to you at the bank or money exchange counter. Then when you want to go home, you have to bring the slips with you to prove that you are merely changing back money you haven't spent instead of taking out needed foreign exchange. if you lose the slips, you can change on the black market (locations vary),but the exchange rate is not so good. and of course it is illegal.

Bank cards

Major bank cards such as Master Card , Visa, JCB, Mestro, Visa Electricity, Switch and American Express can be used to purchase goods in large department stores. Credit cards cannot be used in small restaurants or small convenience stores. They are mostly useful for paying for really expensive things. They can be used to pay for hotel rooms and for meals in some of the fancier restaurants. You can also buy plane tickets with them. As mentioned above. AmEx can be used to get a cash advance in the main offices of the Bank of China. It is also possible to cash a check against the AmEx card ,but again , only in the main offices.

Money Wire Transfer

You can wire money , or have it wired to you , using a service called Money Transfer, which is a joint project between the China Courier Service Corporation and Western Union, this service allows instant money wiring to and from 100 countries. You can find the western union branches in most big post offices around the country.

Counterfeit Money

The government is cracking down on it. Still you need to be aware of this. Unless you have been here for this . unless you have been here for a while, it is not easy to spot. The ways to identify phony money are by the color, the watermark, the paper, and the Braille dots. The ways to identify phony money are by the color, the watermark, the paper, and the Braille dots. The color of RMB notes is hard to imitate, and counterfeit bills are usually too fuzzy, that is, the images and colors are not so sharp. The watermark on counterfeit money is also not clear. On real bills the outline of the model worker or the Great Helmsman (on the 100)is fairly distinct. The way to test the paper is to look at it under a black light. Originally, the way to tell real from fake was to see if the words "YIBAI" or "WUSHI"(depending on the denomination) appeared in fluorescent letters under the light. But the pros have found a way to imitate this. Now the true test is to see the color of the paper itself under the black light. If the paper appears bright, then it is fake. If it appears to absorb the black light. Then it is real. The final test is the dots. On each denomination of the yuan notes (nobody bothers mading fake jiao, not to mention fen), there is a corresponding number in Braille in the lower left hand corner of the front side. It is hard to feel, but the dots are slightly raised on the surface of the paper. If they are not, then it is also a fake.