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Chinese Currency

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Money is sure the first thing you should know when planning a China tour. The legal tender of People's Republic of China, money issued by the People's Bank of China, is the RMB (Ren Min Bin), or CNY (China Yuan). First issued in 1948, altogether there are five editions of RMB. The current one is the fifth edition issued in 1999 and 2005. The fourth edition (last issued 1987) is still in circulation, while the others are withdrawn from the market.

The basic unit of RMB is Yuan, symbolized by '¥'. It is further broken into loose change: Jiao and Fen. Each Yuan equals 10 Jiao or 100 Fen. The fourth edition issues ¥100, ¥50, ¥10, ¥5, ¥2, ¥1, 5 Jiao, 2 Jiao, 1 Jiao in paper denominations and ¥1, 5 Jiao and 1 Jiao coinage. The fifth edition deducts¥2 from, but adds¥20 to its paper ranks.

 Pictures of Chinese paper money and coins. You can click to check the original size.

  • CNY 0.1
    CNY 0.1 (1 Jiao)

  • CNY 0.5
    CNY 0.5 (5 Jiao)

  • CNY 1
    CNY 1 (1 Yuan)

  • CNY 5
    CNY 5 (5 Yuan)

  • CNY 10
    CNY 10 (10 Yuan)

  • CNY 20
    CNY 20 (20 Yuan)

  • CNY 50
    CNY 50 (50 Yuan)

  • CNY 100
    CNY 100 (100 Yuan)

  • CNY 0.1 Coin
    CNY 0.1 (1 Jiao)

  • CNY 0.5 Coin
    CNY 0.5 (5 Jiao)

  • CNY 1 Coin
    CNY 1 (1 Yuan)

 Identifying Authentic Paper Money

 Hand Touch: many places of the authentic RMB feel uneven, such as the portrait, the Braille and '中国人民银行'. Besides, the paper is of proper thickness and firmness.

 Close Hearing: when being shivered or pulled, the authentic RMB will make a ringing sound.

 Using Apparatus: the authentic RMB can also be cleared with some examination apparatuses. You can resort to banks, postal offices, some shopping malls and shops. There are usually apparatuses to examine the fake money in such spots.

 Eye Examining:
1. Watermark: all paper money of the fifth edition RMB has watermark on the left of the front side, which can be clearly seen against the light. The watermarks of ¥100 and ¥50 show a portrait of Mao Zedong, and those of ¥20, ¥10 and ¥5 show a floral design.
2. Security line: the entire fifth edition RMB (except ¥1) has a security line near the front midpoint, which can be seen against the light.
3. Denomination ID (bottom-left of the front side) color change hologram effect: seen from different angles, the denomination ID of ¥100 changes from green to blue, and that of ¥50 changes from golden to green.
4. Ancient Coinage semicircular pattern: both the bottom-left of the front and the bottom-right of the back of the fifth edition¥100, ¥50, ¥10 are printed with a semicircular pattern, which can compose a complete ancient coin pattern by looking against the light.

 Foreign Currency Exchange

Foreign currency must be converted into Chinese currency before moving around within China. This service points are at airports, in Bank of China branches and many other banks, as well as superior hotels, restaurants and some shops that are involved in foreign business in China. The foreign currency that can be exchanged includes foreign credit cards, travelers cheques, and cash, including US dollars, pounds Sterling, Euros, Japanese Yen and dollars from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong Macau & Taiwan among others.

Generally speaking, banks that have an electronic foreign exchange rate board in the hall usually offer foreign currency exchange services and the kinds of currency that they manage can also be learnt from the board. The given exchange rate is in accordance with that of the Bank of China which is a main and more reliable bank in China. When exchanging currency, foreigners are required to present their passports at the counter. Some self-service machines are also available in some banks, such as Bank of China and China Minsheng Bank, shopping malls and others. Whatever, the voucher paper should be retained safely in order to redeem the surplus Chinese currency when leaving China.

Questions & Answers
  • Where are ATMs which accept USA ATM cards? Airports? Train stations? Bus Stations? Banks?

    Asked By Jerry (USAA) | May. 10, 2012 15:30
    1 AnswerAnswer Question
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