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Pengyou

Update on Unionpay

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Pengyou

I did a search on this and found nothing newer than 2 years ago.  I will be returning to the US for the month of August and want to know if the Citibank ATM's will still allow me to withdraw money from my Chinese bank account (in $US).  I am sorry if this is redundant but the issue is pretty important.  Also, I have read that there is a limit per withdrawal and possibly per day.  Is that still true?

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mungouk

Sounds like a question for Citibank, really.  

 

Not sure where the UnionPay connection comes in, but I did have to search online today to see where I could use my DBS (Singapore) card to withdraw money from ATMs in PRC.

 

Their website said that those with the UnionPay logo would work, and I found one that did (here in Hangzhou) — in this case China Construction Bank I think?

 

 

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DavyJonesLocker

Wouldn't it be better to give the bank a call rather than ask on here 😉

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roddy

My understanding (and I'm in the UK, where the banking system seems to be somewhat more joined up in the US) is that if your China account allows overseas withdrawals, then any ATM with the Unionpay logo should work fine. That was the case for me a few years back when I was taking out money I'd left in an ICBC account - I just used any ATM with the logo, which was most of them. 

 

I'd be looking at the T&C's of my Chinese bank account and maybe popping into a branch to check any necessary activations were in place.

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ChTTay

Maybe in the past it was more common to see Chinese accounts not allowing overseas withdrawals. These days I’m fairly sure they all do. We had countless people using ICBC and Merchant’s cards abroad no problem. The cards work abroad without having to do anything. If it’s with a major bank then it should work but, of course, it’s worth checking. 

 

As above, in the USA it’ll work in any bank ATM with the union pay logo. I always used Wells Fargo when I was in the U.S over the last few years. This was simply because I used it once and it worked so I kept using their ATM’s. If Citibank also works then that’s at least two banks.

 

Max daily withdrawals from the Chinese side depends on your own bank account. Many are set at 20k (RMB) per day by default. Limit per withdrawal will be the local ATM/Bank limit. 

 

The good thing about union pay is they seem to not have any fees on a lot of overseas transactions. Just the local ATM fee.

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NinjaTurtle

I am able to withdraw money in America from my UnionPay card at Chase Bank. There is a fee. I am not sure if there is a daily limit, but I always kept it below 200 dollars a day.

 

Here is what I usually do: carry cash on the plane. I feel this is the best way. I use a backpack as my carry-on and I keep the cash in the backpack. There is a limit of bringing $10,000 to America. One time I brought that much cash to America. I was worried, so I kept the money in my backpack and I went through airport security with it in my backpack. After, security, I went into a bathroom and put the cash into a 'belly pack' under my shirt. I kept the money in my belly pack while I was on the plane in case someone went through my backpack while I was in the bathroom.

 

I find I get a better rate when I change RMB to $$$ in China than in America. You can change $500 a day at a bank in China. The banks do not communicate with each other so you can change $500 a day at the Bank of China and $500 the same day at another bank. If you use two banks on a Saturday and Sunday, you can change $2000 in one weekend. By the way, Bank of China does NOT require you to have an account with them if you want to exchange money at their bank. ICBC does require you have an account with them in order to exchange money.

 

If you have Chinese students, they are limited to $5000 day, so take a student with you and they can change it for you if you want to exchange that much money quickly. However, I have heard that some banks (ICBC) are starting to refuse to do this if a foreigner is standing right there and it is obvious what is going on.

 

~~~

 

Oops, I missed the part about Citibank ATM's. No, you cannot. I tried the very same thing. I tried to open an account at a Citibank in China and then withdraw from a Citibank in the US. No dice. China has very specific laws against this and Citibank follows these laws to the letter. At Citibank you must go through the proper channels. (You must do an international bank transfer.)

 

I thought I'd share why China makes it so difficult to take money out of the country. There are 'a lot of rich people in China' who want to take large amounts of RMB out of the country. The Chinese authorities are trying to slow this down as much as possible, because they are afraid of letting large amounts of RMB leave the country. The authorities are afraid that allowing large amounts of RMB to leave the country will have a destabilizing effect on the Chinese economy. (By the way, even my teaching contract has limitations written into it about what percent of my total salary I am allowed to take with me when I leave the country.)

 

 

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abcdefg
On 7/25/2018 at 12:28 AM, NinjaTurtle said:

There is a limit of bringing $10,000 to America.

 

You can take more cash, but you need to declare it at customs (in China when you leave, and in the US when you arrive.) And you will usually be asked "Where did you get it?" 

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ChTTay
On 7/25/2018 at 12:28 AM, NinjaTurtle said:

By the way, even my teaching contract has limitations written into it about what percent of my total salary I am allowed to take with me when I leave the countr

 

Wow, not heard of that before. Definitely unenforceable. You can legally transfer all of your wages out of China via bank transfer. To do this you just need to prove you’ve paid tax on them. This is a form from the tax office. Apart from that you need a letter as proof of employment and your contract. This is really commonplace and most of the major banks here in Beijing can do it but some quicker/easier than others. 

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NinjaTurtle
On 7/25/2018 at 9:17 PM, ChTTay said:

Definitely unenforceable.

 

I have never seen anyone try to enforce it. Not even a mention. Although if I tried to wire a lot of money to America perhaps it would come up.

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roddy

I do remember clauses about conversion of salaries, though not overseas transfer. There's one here - think it used to be standard in the SAFEA contracts. 

Quote

No more than 70% of the salary can be changed into foreign currencies monthly. 

 

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imron

Yep, I remember that clause back when I taught English.

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roddy

I'd guess it's either just folk haven't updated their contracts since the Roddy and Imron years (to be fair a lot of folk do find it hard to let go) or possibly it's an 'official' position for, say, state-funded jobs, that at least X per cent of your salary has to stay in China. What's the actual wording, NinjaTurtle?

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NinjaTurtle

Sorry, Roddy, I don't have my contract right now. I do think it is a printed contract-paper issued by the government and schools are required to use it. (I have taught at two colleges in China and the contract pages seemed identical.) I have had changes made in my contracts in previous years, and those were written in by my school, so I don't think the schools print their own contract-pages.. Does anyone have their college/university contract copy nearby?

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ChTTay

Yeah, I’ve not had that in any of my contracts. Maybe it’s an “old fashioned” thing OR maybe it is a rule but pretty much no one wants to transfer over 70% of their earnings (what would they live on?!) so it’s just dropped out of contracts/life. 

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