The Chinese currency is the RenMinBi (RMB), generally pronounced Yuan in written form, but spoken as Kuai. Paper money available in RMB1, RMB5, RMB10, RMB20, RMB50 and RMB100.
Today, China is suffering from numerous counterfeit notes. Fake notes are sometimes easily recognisable since the paper feels different and the Chinese will check several time when they receive a RMB50 or RMB100 to make sure it is not a fake. Old and tattered notes can be difficult to exchange so try not to accumulate them.
Most of the time, vendors and taxi drivers ask for a small note when you pass them a RMB100 note, sometime they cannot change it and sometimes are not willing to. So it is a good idea to stack up on RMB10 bills. If you have any problems with a note, exchange it for a new one or small change at a bank. A counterfake note will be confiscated.
Travellers cheques are the best way to carry money around in China, the exchange rate is fixed and it can be replaced if lost or stolen. Cheques can be cashed at the major branches of the Bank of China. Credit cards like Visa, Mastercard and American Express are useful in major tourist cities too.
They can be used in most mid range to top range hotels, and some big department stores. You can get cash advances in the head branches of the Bank of China, however, a high commission will be charged (four percent).
Foreign currency can be changed in most banks and hotels. Exchange rates do not vary that much, so hotels are often the most straightforward place to exchange. Keep the exchange receipt with you in case you want to exchange any remaining RMB you have left over when you leave.
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