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The Low Down on Chinese Currency



Currency code:


Central Bank:

People's Bank of China

Currency symbol:

¥ (Yuan)

Currency sub unit:

角 (Jiao)


Kuài, Mao

Bank notes:

¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥20, ¥50, ¥100


1角, 5角, ¥1

The official currency of mainland China is the renminbi - abbreviated to CNY or RMB. Yuan is a unit of renminbi; however Chinese currency is generally known as the ‘yuan’, particularly in countries outside of China.

The name 'renminbi' literally means 'peoples currency' and was first issued in 1948 when the People's Bank of China was established.

It's easily exchanged in Hong Kong and Macau but is not the official currency in those destinations.

The most commonly used bills for Chinese yuan are the 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 notes.

What to spend your yuan on:

  • *

    Admission to the Great Wall of China

    40 yuan *

  • *

    Tourist t-shirt

    30 yuan *

  • *

    Bottle of water

    3 yuan

  • *

    Postcard and a stamp

    5 yuan *

  • *

    3-mile taxi ride

    12.5 yuan *

How many yuan will I need?**

Please select your budget above.

- +
* * * * * *

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* * * * * *

Total spending money needed:

  • *A budget
  • *for people for
  • * nights


Must-See Places in China

  • Xi'an
  • This beautiful walled-city has plenty to explore. And what's more, just a short ride outside Xi'an lie the thousands of famous terracotta warriors.
  • Dali
  • Dali is nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas in Western China and is frequented by foreign and Chinese tourists alike. This a top spot for fans of mountain climbing.
  • Macau
  • The sister city to Hong Kong, Macau is steeped in a long and interesting history. It's also a gambling mecca for anyone who likes to hit the slots!

Buying Chinese yuan online is easy

Order Chinese yuan online, lock in the rate and collect at your local store or at the airport before you fly!

  • 1. Click the ‘Buy yuan Now’ button below
  • And tell us how much you need for your trip in Cash or Travel Card.

  • 2. Choose where to get it
  • Collect at more than 3,600 pick up locations.

  • 3. Pay online
  • You can pay online using either PayID, BPAY, Visa or MasterCard®

Good to Know - China Money Tips

  • Tipping is not usually customary in China. Tips in China are usually already included as a service charge on restaurant receipts.
  • Most taxis charge cash and e-payment. After midnight, there is an additional charge. In Shanghai, from 11:00 pm until 6:00am, an additional fee of approximately 20% is added.
  • You can’t use Google and some the world’s most popular apps in China. Do not reply on your usual apps or expect them to work in your travel to China.

Payment Options

According to the statistics of the People’s Bank of China in 2017, 76.9% of adults use e-Payment! It’s so convenient to use e-Payment in China.

Because China's e-payment is so convenient, a large number of stores do not use debit/credit card. E-payment companies do not charge merchant commission. Unfortunately e-payment is mainly for Chinese citizens. For tourists coming to China, cash is the most reliable way to pay.

Why foreign cash?

Cash is flexible and can be used anywhere, with no hidden fees.

Things to consider:

Most places in China do not use debit/credit card.

Please get your travel cash from currency exchange stores or from ATMs.

Cash is the most convenient option for tourists in China. Most taxis, the world-famous hawker centres, food outlets all accept cash or e-payment. Carrying larger amounts of cash around with you should not be a risk, however always follow your common sense when doing so, as low crime does not mean no crime!

Why debit or credit card?

You can use debit or credit card withdrawing you travel money from ATMs.

High-end restaurants and hotels do accept debit and credit cards, and you usually can pay hotel deposits.

Things to consider:

Most stores do not accept debit or credit cards.

Ensure you keep photocopies of your cards and have a financial backup in case your card is lost/stolen.

You can easily use your credit or debit card to get your travel money in China, as ATMs are common. Note that you may be charged a commission when using a foreign card. Because of the popularity of e-payment in China, most store do not accept credit and debit cards. However, it is recommended to carry a debit or credit card when you travel to access cash from ATMs.

Why withdraw cash in China?

ATMs can be easily found all around China.

Generally, You can withdraw cash as you need it without carrying a large amount around.

Things to consider:

Most stores do not accept credit or debit cards.

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are located all over the country. They can be easily found in banks, MRT station, shopping centers and on main shopping streets. Most machines allow Visa or Mastercard withdrawals, but watch out for any hidden fees associated with withdrawing cash from a foreign card.


  • FX ATMs make exchanging cash at the airport before leaving Australia easy. There are no forms to fill in, and it’s self-serve. Visit our foreign currency ATM page to find a Travelex FX ATM that dispenses Chinese renminbi/yuan.
  • FX ATMs are 24 hours, meaning you have the flexibility to purchase Chinese renminbi at any time of the day or night.
  • Foreign currency ATMs are extremely fast, giving you your foreign currency within a few minutes.


  • Carrying large amounts of cash around with you on holiday may make you feel uneasy.
  • If your cash gets lost or stolen while you are on holiday, you may have trouble getting it covered by your insurance.
  • Not all FX ATMs will dispense the currency you need.

International SIM Cards

International SIM Cards

Stay connected when travelling overseas. Choose from a range of prepaid International SIMs.


Travelling to China in the Future?

Travelling to China in the Future?

Track Rates and get notified when the yuan renminbi matches your ideal rate so you can decide if it’s a good time to buy!

Track Rates

Travelex Money App

Travelex Money App

Top up your Travelex Money Card and check your balance on the go.

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China Travel Guide

China Travel Guide

Before you head off, check out our China Travel Guide to help you make the most of your trip, from home to get around to not-to-miss food experiences.


*Rates are subject to change throughout the day. In-store rates vary compared to online.

**The figures provided are indicative only and are there to provide an idea of the amount of travel money you may need during your trip.

^^Based on mid-market and Travelex Online AUD to FX exchange rates as of the date of the relevant social media post and/or email communication. Rates are subject to change throughout the day. Any rates and savings are quoted as a guide only.

Travelex Limited (ABN 36 004 179 953, AFSL Number 222444) arranges for and sells Online Foreign Currency via its Online Ordering Facility. You should consider the Online Foreign Currency Product Disclosure Statement and Terms and Conditions before deciding whether to acquire the product.