Subscribe to SmallPlanet

We Need Your Help

Five stars on Amazon! Don't miss Talesmag's first book of essays, on cross-cultural food experiences from Mexico to Mongolia (plus recipes!)
Submit a Real Post Report


Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

In larger stores you can use an international credit card but every where else only accepts cash or Wechat. In order to use Wechat you have to open a Chinese bank account with your passport. Once you have that you can use the Wechat wallet feature which makes life much easier here for paying anyone. - Oct 24, 2017
This is China. Counterfeiting and information theft is rampant here. Either use the embassy cashier or find an ATM inside a bank you trust and don't stray from it. Expect your credit card details to get stolen at some point and for your bank to turn off your card constantly. - Dec 3, 2015
It is possible, but this is still a predominantly cash-based economy in most establishments. Cash is the way to go. - Apr 12, 2015
I use cash mainly but many merchants accept Visa and American Express. - Aug 17, 2014
I use both credit cards and ATMs at several locations around time. Many people do not. I think you just need to be cautious and keep a regular eye on your accounts to make sure nothing is amiss. - Jul 18, 2014
Easy to use credit cards and ATMs. - Jun 19, 2013
China is still very much a cash society, with many small-scale shops who do not accept credit cards. Larger stores do. ATMs are generally not safe, with many reports of ATMs loaded with counterfeit bills. We use the embassy cashier, which guarantees the bills. - Aug 27, 2011
ATMs are everywhere! - Apr 7, 2011
This is mostly a cash economy although an increasing number of merchants are taking local credit cards. The credit card system here is called Union Pay, and merchants need a separate machine to take Visa, MasterCard, etc. Most of them won't have this so until you have a local bank account you'll need to be prepared to pay cash. Many ATMs do not take foreign cards. Bank of China, HSBC and Citibank ATMs work with foreign cards reliably. Of the three, I trust HSBC the most. ATMs are sometimes stocked with counterfeit bills, and you have no recourse if you are cheated. For this reason, I always use the same ATM in the lobby of my office; it is always stocked with brand new fresh uncirculated bills. - Jan 18, 2011
You can use a credit card and ATM, although you run the risk of getting counterfeit bills at the ATMs. I personally never use my credit card, but lots of people do. - Apr 29, 2010
An increasing number of ATMs. Debit cards are easily available. - Jan 26, 2010