I'm going to travel to Thailand, Cambodia and Laos in April and was wondering if I could use my China Construction Bank card in those countries (ATM's mainly)? Does anyone have any experience with this?
My bank gave me two answers - the first was 'no, you have to have a Bank of China Card for that'. I then went to another branch and they said 'yes, but only at Union Pay machines'. Therefore I'm a little confused.
Any advice would be very much appreciated.
If you have a dual currency credit card with a visa or mastercard logo as well as a unionpay logo then you can use it anywhere. If its just a debit card then it only works on Unionpay so will only work where there is an ATM that supports Unionpay.
Outside mainland China, pretty much every ATM in Hong Kong and Macau will take Unionpay but further a field than that you are lucky to find one. I'm not saying there aren't any but I would definitely not rely on it. And you may find RMB cash isn't good enough either. You probably need to buy some US Dollars before travelling, then you can change these to local currency once you arrive.
I'm pretty sure there is a Thai bank that has all of their ATMs enabled for Union Pay... forget which one, though.
in cambodia, the canadia bank has an 'extensive' network of atm that accept UnionPay cards. i have a 'normal' CCB unionpay card but i have never used it to withdraw local currency in cambodia. i think CCB charge heaps of administration fee for transactions outside china. an Amex or a handful of Benjamin Franklin might be a much better choice.
in thaidland, Kasikornbank (the farmers bank) atm takes unionpay card and a lot of large chinese merchants takes rmb as well.
dont know about laos. again, the usd still talks. :-)
I have a Bank of China bank card (Union Pay) and have used it successfully in ATMs in Hong Kong. It didn't however work in Laos when I tried it at an ATM that displayed the Union Pay logo. I'd be very nervous of travelling to Laos with just a CCB bank card and RMB. I had a lot of trouble on one trip to Laos changing RMB and spent a fair amount of time wandering around looking for ATMs and banks that might accept my card or change my money. It's certainly possible to find them/change money but it's a real pain especially outside Vientiane. I'd agree with Greg on taking some US.
It's also helpful to know that in Cambodia the US dollar is accepted as a second currency and in Laos you can use both US and Thai Baht. My Laotian friends use baht for 95% of things and only have small amounts of Kip for minor expenses.
I just got back from Thailand yesterday. I used my China Construction Bank card all over the place, no problems. I've also used it in Hong Kong. Just look for ATMs with a "unionpay" icon.
Thanks for the advice guys,
I think I'll get some Baht and Dollars for the trip, and take my card as back up.
I tried using my BOC card in Hong Kong at a BOC terminal with the Union Pay logo. I got a message back about the network not found. The same machine immediately accepted my Canadian bank card.
Could this be a random problem or is my card truly not going to work outside of mainland China? It does say "China only" on the card. I would like to be able to use my card in Thailand when I go there.
This is not a plug "plug" for HSBC - now in Kunming. Open an HSBC account (assuming they've done away with that ridiculous USD 100k or something minimum deposit requirement). I believe if your balance is less than either USD 100k or CNY 100k ( or somewhere in between) they charge a monthly maintenance fee.
Bank of China ATM cards are not valid outside China. It's stated explicitly on the cards.
As for the Bank of Construction ATM card, it can be used at any bank that accepts Union Pay. And I believe you can actually get a list of the banks that accept Union Pay all over the world on the internet. Try doing a search "Unionpay" and the country name.