GoKunming Forums


proselabeto (4 posts) • 0

I'm moving to Kunming from the states, and I'm trying to find American banks that won't charge me to use an ATM in Kunming. Anybody have suggestions?

geteven (15 posts) • 0

I have a suggestion -- give up. It is impossible to find a bank with no international withdrawal charges. On the other hand, of major national banks, there is a range of how much you get charged. Here's what to look for:

ATM withdrawal fees: Your bank will charge you something for international withdrawal. This can range from 1-3% of every withdrawal (you take out 100 RMB, they keep 1-3RMB as a fee). Some banks have fixed rates - maybe US $3-5 per withdrawal - this is really crappy, because then even if you only withdraw 10 bucks, they will still charge you 5 for the service.

Currency conversion fees: Some banks charge 1-2% or give you a really bad $US to RMB conversion rate. This is a sneaky way of them charging you even more on top of the ATM withdrawal fees.

Credit cards often have some of these fees too -- check international use charges on the credit card and also see if they raise the rate for cash advances (good in an emergency) if you do it internationally.

Wells Fargo is undoubtedly the worst. I currently bank with them -- and between 0 interest on checking and the outrageous ATM fees, they get an F-.

I have heard good things about Citibank. Anyone have a banking success story?

Ahmet (98 posts) • 0

After two years of living and traveling in China, my recommendation is that you open an account with the Bank of China and wire funds directly to that account from your American Bank. The process is not lengthy but somewhat complicated.

I used the Dongfeng Lu branch because they are quite used to handling this transaction. They will provide you with a form that give you the information your sending bank will need:

Banking Information for Inward Remittance:


Address of Bank: NO. 16 DONGFENG WEST ROAD


Account Name: Your name EXACTLY as it appears on you passport!
Account No.: Initially this will be a general account number for the Bank, after the first transfer, you may do transfers directly into your account no.

Payee's Telephone No.: (your Chinese phone no.)

Your American bank will need to the following information:

As a reminder the, The Bank of China New York Branch's ABA number is 026003269. There contact information is as follows:

New York Branch

410 Madison Avenue (on 48th Street)
New York, NY 10017
Tel: 212-935-3101
Fax: 212-593-1831

Business hours

Mon - Fri: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

The cost of a wire transfer is quite low and in China you will receive the best possible rate of exchange with wired funds. Once you have the funds in your account you can keep the money in US$ and or RMB. You are allowed to exchange no more than $9,900 dollars per day and no more the $50,000 per year.

Having a Bank of China Unipay ATM card will allow you to use Bank of China ATM's without any fees. You can also do point of sale purchases without fees.

Good luck.

kirmish (16 posts) • 0

Geteven said:
>"It is impossible to find a bank with no international withdrawal charges."
>"Anyone have a banking success story?"

Actually, yes! In Australia, we have a company called Wizard which offers a credit card (called Clear Advantage MasterCard) which has no fees for withdrawing from an international ATM. We can use this card at ICBC ATM's to w/draw cash, and also at Carrefour, Metro, etc with the MasterCard. Not having to pay the ATM fees, and foreign currency conversion fees has saved us a LOT of money.

Not sure about American banks for the OP (original poster), but in Australia we have this, so something similar might exist in the US. Wizard is a subsidiary of GE Finance, so have a look at what GE (General Electric) offers in the US.

Hope this helps,

YllwBucki (9 posts) • 0

What sort of credentials does a foreigner need to have in order to open an account in China? Will a simple passport do?

jaccy (4 posts) • 0

Yes. Just bring along your passport and of course some cash to deposit in your account. If you are planning to wire funds from your account in America, the branch in dongfeng lu is the only one that offer this service according to the bank of china's staff.

jackhendler (6 posts) • 0

There is indeed a bank in the US that will credit the ATM fees back into your account. I have used this bank for years, and it is by far the best bank in the US for a number of other reasons as well. Check out USAA federal Savings Bank.

aandt (32 posts) • 0

I have just started using a Bank of America ATM card here, since I learned that they now own a percentage of China Construction bank here. I can withdraw funds from the CCB atm and get charged no fees, and pretty close to the market rate.

bethinkunming (6 posts) • 0

I will be arriving in Kunming in September and am planning a stay of 4-10 months. Can any one provide me with a 2011 update on bringing/accessing funds from the U.S. in Kunming? I have a Bank of America account in the U.S., along with a capital one credit card. Any suggestions for ease of access of funds and lowest transaction fees? What are the experiences with Western Union in Kunming?

Login to post