Shanghai preview

China

There are many banks in Shanghai and opening a bank account is not very complicated. China has several large national banks, such as the Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China, as well as many regional banks. You also have foreign banks that now can deal in foreign currency accounts, such as Citibank or HSBC. Account holders are also given an ATM card with their account and ATMs are everywhere. You MAY be charged 50 RMB for a bankcard.

Interest rates for real estate or automobile loans are about 1.5% below prevailing Western rates. Bank accounts in China can only be in one person’s name – no joint accounts. It is possible to open foreign currency accounts, such as the Euro, US dollar, or the Swiss Franc. Accounts can be opened with 100 RMB at the Chinese banks. Individual accounts in the Western banks usually take the equivalent of US$10,000.

One piece of advice: If you want to access your money from accounts back home in China, the obvious choices are either transferring money to your Chinese account or using a credit card/ATM card to withdraw cash at ATMs. Both ways imply high fees. There is an alternative. Citibank has many ATMs in Shanghai and there is no fee for using them at home or internationally, they will only give you a slightly worse exchange rate than the official one. So, if you think you will need to take money from your home bank account, open a Citibank account at home before coming to China.

Opening an Account

Select a bank. The larger national banks have more experience dealing with foreigners and can make the process easier. Three of the biggest ba…