A new travel service in Xiamen, licensed money changers

Updated: 16 May 2013
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Good news for travelers, as since last month private money changers in China have been able to get licensed, making more concrete the new channels through which foreign currencies can be converted into Renminbi (RMB) in a safe, fast and (now) legal manner.

Money changers used to be unlicensed and illegal in China. The risks involved in dealing with unlicensed money changers can be very high, including getting fake RMB notes and unfavorable rates, and there has previously been no legal protection for customers.  
Licensed money changers can now be found at various ports of entry in Xiamen. Some are located in convenient areas, such as Apple Travel in the Binbei Marco Polo area, one company which has already started to provide money changing services.

Traditionally, changing foreign currency notes has been limited to the Bank of China, and foreign money only able to be exchanged in China through currency conversion at banks, hotels and big department stores. And for the most part the rates of exchange were not competitive.

However, a foreigner can now bring cash and change it at licensed money changers in China at very competitive rates, thanks to China’s new financial regulations which permit the non-banking sector to convert foreign currency notes more readily.

Money changers are useful because of the many inconveniences associated with traditional cash Currency Conversion Money exchange facilities in China. Though the facilities are available at major airports, hotels and department stores, along with uncompetitive rates, changing foreign currencies at state banks can be very time consuming, involve queuing, and unavoidably involve complicated procedures which delay the process. Hotels, meanwhile, have only been able to exchange money for their guests.

At licensed money changers, the procedures are fast, there is usually no queue and the services are direct. The major currencies which are readily convertible at these private licensed money changers are:

• The US dollar
• British pound
• Euro
• Japanese yen
• Australian dollar
• Canadian dollar
• Hong Kong dollar
• Swiss franc
• Singapore dollar
• Malaysian ringgit
• Taiwan dollar
• Thai baht 
Exchange rates fluctuate in line with international financial market conditions and are published daily by the State Exchange Control Administration. Keep your currency exchange receipts, because you will need to show them when you change RMB back to your own currency at the end of your visit to China. In China, cash is essential in remote areas, and you should ensure that you carry sufficient RMB to cover your requirements.

In China, credit cards are not always accepted for the purchase of rail or long distant bus tickets. ATMs that accept foreign cards are few and far between. Do not rely on them as a way of obtaining cash in Mainland China.

There is no limit on the amount of foreign currency and foreign exchange bills that can be brought into China by tourists, but the amount must be declared to customs. 
The Chinese currency is called Renminbi (people's money), often abbreviated as RMB. Issued by the People's Bank of China it is the sole legal tender for both Chinese nationals and foreign tourists. The units of Renminbi are the yuan, jiao and fen. The conversion among the three is: 1 yuan = 10 jiao =100 fen. Chinese people normally refer to Yuan as Kuai and Jiao as Mao. RMB is issued both in notes and coins. The denominations of paper notes include 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 yuan; 5, 2 and 1 jiao; and 5, 2 and 1 fen. The denominations of coins are 1 yuan; 5, 2 and 1 jiao; and 5, 2 and 1 fen.

Be very careful when you change your money outside banks and licensed money changers, as there are a lot of fake RMB notes in circulation, especially in RMB100, RMB50, RMB20, and even RMB10 denominations. 

1 yuan note

5 yuan note (old edition)
5 yuan note (new edition)

10 yuan note (old edition)
10 yuan note (new edition)
20 yuan note

50 yuan note (old edition)
50 yuan note (new edition)
100 yuan note
Note: They are all legal tender, either new notes or old notes in circulation
How to get to Apple Travel

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Shop20, Guanren Road,
Xiamen, China. Postcode:361006
Phone: 400 885 8807 / +86-592-5053122
Fax: 86-592-5052948 

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Comments Area ( Total Comments: 2 )
WOXTeam Commented on 21 May 2013
Dear Ozgal.
WOX has placed the old notes and the new notes for references.
Thank you.
ozgal Commented on 16 May 2013
The 5, 10 and 50 yuan notes don't look right in the images - WOXteam, where did you find this info??