Banking in China is quite easy. Most foreign bank cards are accepted at ATMs. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted at places frequented by foreigners, though most transactions in smaller stores are cash only. Checking accounts are seldom used.
◆ Opening a Bank Account
For those staying in China for an extended amount of time, setting up a Chinese bank account is a very simple process that takes about 15 minutes. Head for the bank of your choice (e.g. Bank of China) with a passport and 20RMB; 10RMB will pay for your new debit card and 10RMB will go into your new account. After filling out some paperwork and choosing a password, you will leave the bank with an ATM card and a bank book. HANG ON TO BOTH! WE ALL KNOW THE ANXIETY AND NUISANCE THAT COMES WITH LOSS OF THESE ITEMS. The ATM card can be used to withdraw money at any Chinese ATM. Your specific bank will not levy an ATM fee, while other banks usually charge 2RMB for a withdrawal. The card can also be used at most Chinese establishments as a visa/debit card, but cannot be used outside of China. The bank book is essential in all transactions that you will make at the bank. Take it with you when making deposits or wiring transfers.
Agricultural Bank of China
Fudan Brunch Handan Road 220(邯鄲路220号複旦大學正門東)65645291
Wuchuan Road 95(武川路95号武東路口)
Guoquan Brunch Guoshun Road 241(國順路241号近四平路)
Xiangying Brunch Xiangying Road 1128(翔殷路1128号)
Bank of China
Guoding Brunch Guoding Road 286(國定路286号)
Guobin Road 30(國賓路30号)
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
Guoding Brunch No. 19 Guoding Road 600(國定路600弄19号)
China Construction Bank
Guoding Brunch Guoding Road 369( 國定路369号)
1F Marine Tower, 1 Pudong Avenue
浦東大道 1 号船舶大廈1樓
26/F China Merchants Tower, 161 Lujiazui Dong Rd.
Bank of America
17/F, AZIA Center, 1233 Lujiazui Ring Rd.
1000 Lujiazui Ring Rd.
◆ International cash-by wire available in China
An international money transfer service will be operated through Western Union Financial Services of the United States and its China agent, China Courier Service Corp.
The money transfer information is sent through the company’s international computer system network. At the destination, the recipient can collect the funds within minutes or hours at the designated time.
The cash can be collected at any location where the service is available, or it can be delivered by courier to the recipient at the address provided by the sender.
At present, only US dollars or Chinese RMB can be transferred through this service.
No. 1 Sichuan Rd. (N.), Shanghai
● Do it through ATM or Bank of China.
● It’s pretty convenient to get money exchanged here---but always go to the Bank of China.
● Really easy. Don’t even worry about it.
● Having an ATM card is easiest, but travelers’ checks are good too.
● I usually used an ATM machine to obtain money from US bank account in RMB. The fees are somewhat high, but not unreasonable. For the start-up, I used traveler’s checks and changed about $ 400 at the airport upon arrival.
● Difficult because bank is far away, often had to withdraw from ATM.
● There is a Citibank by the Bund. Go to the bank to exchange $.
● I bought traveler’s checks that were easy to use, but sometimes ATM cards were more convenient. They work at a lot of places.
● Go to the Bank of China. Save your receipts in case you can’t spend it all and want to exchange it back to dollars. But I doubt it.
Transportation within Shanghai is fairly inexpensive and certainly varied. Those adhering to tighter budgets, or those who simply enjoy traveling with the locals, can make use of the buses and subway. They are relatively painless ways to save a few RMB that could be better spent elsewhere. However, if claustrophobia is a concern (be wary of the subway and buses around commuter times… yikes), then taxis are a great and still relatively inexpensive option.
◆ Transportation Card
You could always prepare small money for the bus, or get a transportation card from 24 hour convenience shops such as Alldays好德, Kedi可的 or Buddies良友金伴, and from some of the main metro stations and bus terminations. Face value ranges from RMB100, 200 to 500, within which, 20 is the cost of the card.
With the transportation card, you could slide it easily whenever you get on a bus or a taxi.
More money could be put into the card at metro stations and convenience shops.
◆ Bus Routes Near Fudan
Bus and trolley bus (to be mentioned as just bus below) may be not the best transport for foreigners, but having some knowledge about it will give you an option when you come across a traffic problem, especially when you cannot find a taxi on a rainy day or have no idea where the Metro station is.
Shanghai buses can be extremely crowded in rush hours and some of them are not totally clean. But buses on busy shopping streets or connecting major attractions are in excellent condition and during off-peak hours it is a pleasure to ride in them. Plus, the bigger windows of a bus will give you a better view of the city than taking taxis or subways.
Taxi is a good choice for transportation in the city, especially off-peak hours. It is affordable (¥11 for the first 3km) and saves you a lot of time, but try to get your destination in Chinese characters as communication can be an issue. As Shanghai is a huge city, try to get the nearest intersection to your destination as well since even addresses in Chinese are often useless. Drivers, while generally honest, are sometimes genuinely clueless and occasionally out to take you for a ride. Always insist on using the meter and, if your fare seems out of line, demand a printed receipt before paying. If you feel you have been cheated or mistreated by the driver, you (or a Chinese-speaking friend) can use the information on the printed receipt to raise a complaint to the taxi company about that particular driver. The printed receipt is also useful to contact the driver in case you have forgotten something in the taxi and need to get it back.
Taxi colors in Shanghai are strictly controlled and indicate the company the taxi belongs to. Turquoise taxis operated by “Dazhong” (大衆), the largest group, are often judged the best of the bunch. Another good taxi company, Qiangsheng (強生), uses gold-colored taxis. Watch out for dark red/maroon taxis, since this is the ’default’ color of small taxi companies and includes more than its fair share of bad apples. Also private owned taxis (You can recognize them easily as they have an ’x’ in their number plate) are among them. The dark red/maroon taxis will also go off the meter at times and charge rates 4x-5x the normal rate - especially around the tourist areas of the Yuyuan Gardens. Bright red taxis, on the other hand, are unionized and quite OK, furthermore there are more 3-star and above taxi drivers working for this company. The dark-green taxis are limited to the district they are called in, so take note.
ALWAYS ask for taxi receipt.
ALWAYS choose taxi in big companies like Dazhong, Qiangsheng, Bashi and Jinjiang.
◆ Subways and Light-rails
The fast-growing Shanghai Metro network now has 8 lines with another 4 under construction. The trains are fast, cheap and fairly user-friendly with most signs also in English, but the trains can get very packed at rush hour. Fares range from ¥3 to ¥9 depending on distance. Automatic ticket vending machines take ¥1 or ¥0.5 coins and notes. Most stations on lines 1-3 will also have staff selling tickets, but on the newly-completed lines ticket purchasing is all done by machine with staff there only to assist if something goes wrong.
You can now transfer between lines freely with a single ticket (except at Shanghai Railway Station where only line 3/4 transfer is free and at Yishan Rd where only line 3/9 transfer is free, but the latter case is because the Line 4 station for Yishan Rd is a separate location). The metro can also use Shanghai’s public transportation card (non-contact). But be careful, certain stations exist on both lines with the same name but are located in different places (Yishan Rd- Line 3/9 and line 4 are separate stations- go to Hongqiao Rd. for line 3/4 transfer or back to Yishan Rd on line 3 to be able to transfer to line 9; Pudian Rd- line 4 and line 6- go to either Century Ave. or Lancun Rd. to transfer between these lines)