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Foreign Exchange Guide to China

Read this currency guide to China with money transfer and travel tips.   [USD/CNY=6.9132]

China
Country Code:
CN
Domestic Currency:
Chinese Yuan
Symbol - Code:
¥ CNY
Telephone Prefix:
+86

This is a foreign exchange guide to China, the Chinese Yuan currency plus CNY transfers and travel tips.


In this China currency guide we take a look at :

  1. Chinese Yuan info - general info about the Chinese Yuan
  2. Chinese Yuan in the markets - recent CNY moves and predictions from the FX markets
  3. Travelling in China - currency & money saving tips
  4. Buying Chinese Yuan cash online - travel money for China
  5. Sending money to China - save on Chinese Yuan bank transfers to China
  6. Chinese Yuan exchange rates - latest & historic exchange rates.

Chinese Yuan (CNY) general currency information


What is the Chinese Yuan currency code and symbol?

The three letter currency code for the Chinese Yuan is CNY and the symbol is ¥.


Which countries use the Chinese Yuan?

It is the domestic currency in China.

The Chinese currency is actually called renminbi, but you will more frequently hear it called by the name of its primary unit, the yuan. The renminbi-yuan relationship is similar to that of Britain’s sterling-pound (sterling being the name of the currency and a pound being one unit of that currency). The ISO for renminbi, or the yuan, is CNY. An ISO of CHN denotes yuan traded in offshore markets, such as Hong Kong.

According to the Bank for International Settlements’ 2016 survey of the foreign exchange market, the yuan is now the world’s eighth most traded currency and has overtaken the Mexican peso to become the world’s most traded emerging market currency. However, disappointingly, 95% of all yuan trading remains against just one other currency, the US dollar.

The yuan reached its all-time low against the dollar in January 1994 when the exchange rate for USD/CNY reached 8.73. It's all-time high occurred in January 1981 when USD/CNY hit 1.53.

A high point for Chinese officials in recent years came when the yuan was added to the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights basket of currencies in October 2016 and, with its inclusion, joined the dollar, euro, yen and the pound as an official world reserve currency.

Importantly, China’s currency is not freely floating, which is to say that it is not determined wholly by market forces or purely by demand and supply. While market forces do play a part in China’s ‘managed float’ system, daily changes to the value of the yuan are restricted by the country’s central bank to moves of 2% above or below a midpoint, or reference rate, against the US dollar. This special rate is set each day by the central bank after consideration of the values of currencies from China’s main trading partners.


Chinese Yuan (CNY) in the markets

4-December-18: A number of important economic developments in 2018 have worked to reduce demand for the yuan. Throughout October and November, China’s currency traded at or near to long-term lows at exchange rates near 6.95 to the dollar.

Chief among negative developments was Washington’s agenda of trade protectionism. Massive tariffs imposed on Chinese goods in 2018 make such goods more expensive to American buyers, which lessens their appeal and necessitates a weaker yuan.

Fortunately, at December’s G20 summit in Argentina, US and Chinese leaders agreed to a 3-month suspension on planned increases to tariffs. In the days that followed this trade truce, the yuan climbed to an 11-week high of 6.831.

A tumbling Chinese stock market hasn’t helped the yuan either. While US stocks were slightly higher year-to-date at the time of this report, the Shanghai Composite index was down 20 percent! Investors, therefore, no longer want to buy into Chinese companies and have one less reason to exchange local currency into yuan.

A Mizuho analyst told Bloomberg in early December that he did not see much room for yuan strength given uncertainties over future trade negotiations. Therefore, the yuan may still weaken to the symbolic 7.0 level.

The interactive chart below shows the USD to CNY exchange rate for the previous 3 months with rate alerts for days when the exchange rate moved up or down significantly or for 30 day highs and lows.


USD-CNY 3 Month chart
USD-CNY 3 Month chart
USDCNY currency converter

Travel, Currency and Money saving tips for China

 

China's international visitors have rocketed to an impressive 26 million in 2015. It is said that in less than 10 years, the country will become the first tourist destination with the world's largest number of visitors.

Can I use a Credit Card in China?

Credit cards are still not accepted in many places so it will be convenient to carry a travel card or cash with you. If you're thinking of only visiting the larger cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin or Chengdu, you'll find no real problems in using a credit card in China. If you plan on travelling outside of the big cities, however, you'll have trouble finding ATMs and businesses that accept credit cards. As general rule the Chinese do not like the idea of debt and so tend to avoid using or accepting credit cards. Even in the big cities it can still be unreliable to depend on using credit cards depending on which area you are in.

The highest denomination (100 yuan) does not carry a huge amount of value so if you intend to make large purchases you may be carrying a conspicuous wad of cash around with you. In only recent years, more and more banks around China have made this possible to the extent it is becoming standard. 

Beware of people on the street side who offer services of money exchange. There has lately been a growing rate of ATM scam, where certain characters set up fake ATMs to scam credit card details. Just try to avoid any ATM that looks suspicious, or use the ATMs at major banks. There is also counterfeit money circulating in China, these are almost always smaller notes so try not to break up your larger notes all the time. Also be sure to notify your bank that you will be using your card in China so that they do not block your card suspecting fraud.

How do I get around in China?

China’s domestic air market is growing rapidly, with more than 180 commercial airports. At least nine new airlines, a few of them focus on low-cost routes, have been approved for operation since the government lifted restrictions on privately invested airlines in 2013. Together with the more established domestic carriers such as Shanghai Airlines, Tianjin Airlines (part of China Eastern), Xiamen Airlines and Dragonair, these new startups provide a vast network of flight services to smaller domestic destinations that previously could be reached only by train or bus.

Flying in China is very much smog/weather dependent. Delays and cancellations are commonplace due to serious air pollution that affects pilots’ visibility during take-off and landing. Traveling by high-speed rail (HSR) is a much more reliable alternative.

The train network in China is one of the most extensive in the world, as it combines older, slower trains that stop at smaller towns with the D-class trains that run up to 124 mph, and also the ultra-modern, high-speed G-class trains (HSR, or gao tie in Chinese) that connect bigger cities at speeds up to nearly 200 mph. Advance bookings are recommended, especially for sleeper classes. Travel by HSR in China is fast, punctual, comfortable and clean.

If you have plenty of time and a limited travel budget, long-distance buses are a good option. They are cheaper than flights and high-speed trains, and tickets are easier to secure however they can take two to three times as long as the high speed trains. Bus service networks also cover many smaller towns and villages that cannot be reached by train.

If travelling to China be sure to check when the local holidays are as everyone in China tends to holidays at once. So 590 million people take to public transport during peak local holidays known as Golden Weeks, which fall over Chinese New Year and National Day in early October. This makes it almost impossible to casually get a train or hotel room, or to see the sights.

 

Travel money for China

 

Save money and time by Ordering your Chinese Yuan online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the CNY cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.

Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.

For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in Chinese Yuan otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.

 

Compare USD to CNY Travel Money Exchange Rates vs the Banks

ProvidersAmount CNYExchange RateFee USDTotal CostReviewsDeal Links
Wells Fargo Bank logoWells Fargo Bank
¥6453.99 CNY
Top Provider
6.5857$206.38%
U.S. Bank logoU.S. Bank
¥6452.70 CNY
¥CNY1.29 less
6.452706.39%
Banks - Average Rate
U.S. Bank logo Wells Fargo Bank logo
¥6453.34 CNY
¥CNY0.65 less
6.5192$106.39%
Travelex Online US logoTravelex Online US
¥6068.20 CNY
¥CNY386 less
6.06820^11.97%
 
Wells Fargo Bank: Travel Money USD→CNY
USD amount:$1,000 USD
Fee:$20 USD (Minimum fee)
Exchange Rate:6.5857 (4.47% from mid-rate)
CNY amount:¥6453.99 CNY
Total Cost:6.38%
Time:6:08 Local
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
U.S. Bank: Travel Money USD→CNY
USD amount:$1,000 USD
Fee:0
Exchange Rate:6.4527 (6.39% from mid-rate)
CNY amount:¥6452.70 CNY
Total Cost:6.39%
Time:6:08 Local
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
 

Banks - Average Rate
U.S. Bank logo Wells Fargo Bank logo

Travel Money USD→CNY
USD amount:$1,000 USD
Fee:$10 USD (1%)
Exchange Rate:6.0318 (12.5% from mid-rate)
CNY amount:¥6453.34 CNY
Total Cost:6.39%
Travelex Online US: Travel Money USD→CNY
USD amount:$1,000 USD
Fee:$0 - No fees for Debit & Credit Cards
Exchange Rate:6.0682 (11.97% from mid-rate)
CNY amount:¥6068.20 CNY
Total Cost:11.97%
Time:
Rate Fetched: Mon Dec 10 2018 04:00:05 GMT+0000 (UTC)
Rating:
 
: 4.3/5.0
Reviews:
 
Sending a LARGER foreign transfer? Shop-around with multiple providers Get Quotes
Total Cost = provider fees + exchange rate margin vs USD/CNY mid-rate: 6.8935
Rates @ 12/10/2018
 

China Trip Checklist    

 
  1. Compare CNY travel cash rates - probably why you are here!
  2. Search Hotel deals - Save on your accomodation in China
  3. Lonely Planet - world's best travel guide (coupon and deals)

Sending money to China

When searching around for information on how to get a good exchange rate when sending money to China you need to start with finding out the latest Chinese Yuan foreign-transfer exchange rate.

Then compare your bank's exchange rates to several licensed FX providers exchange rate and fees to see how much you can save (we make that calculation easy here).

Buying property in Shanghai

Have Shanghai property prices peaked?

Shanghai property prices have risen roughly sevenfold over the past decade but being a global city with broad-based demand from occupants and investors, an outright crash is unlikely. Still, today's buyers have probably missed the golden age of price appreciation.

Can foreigners buy property in Shanghai?

Foreigners who have lived and worked legally in Shanghai for one year are allowed to buy for self-occupancy. They are not officially permitted to rent out their flats. Mortgages from local banks are available to foreign buyers, typically with a downpayment of 30 per cent.

What is the most popular property in Shanghai?

European-style alleyway (longtang) homes in the former French concession (French: Concession française de Changhaï; Chinese: 上海法租界; pinyin: Shànghǎi Fǎ Zūjiè; Shanghainese: Zaonhe Fah Tsuka) are charming but heating, plumbing and electricity infrastructure is often dilapidated.

A longtang (弄堂 lòngtáng, Shanghainese: longdang) is a lane in Shanghai and, by extension, a community centred on a lane or several interconnected lanes.

Shanghai "longtang" alleyway


Get a better deal for foreign transfers to China

When sending money to China it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 4 simple steps :

  1. Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
  2. You specify the local or Chinese Yuan amount you want to transfer
  3. Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
  4. Once your funds are received by the provider the converted CNY amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in China.

Use our Send to CNY calculator to compare the exchange rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more Chinese Yuan deposited into the recipient bank account and less margins and fees kept by the banks!

 

Compare USD to CNY Foreign Transfers vs the Banks

ProvidersAmount CNYExchange RateFee USDTotal CostTransfer SpeedTransfer ServicesReviewsDeal Links
WorldFirst logoWorldFirst
¥68,659 CNY
Top Provider
6.865900.4%1-2 daysOnline, Bank Account to Bank Account
 
OFX logoOFX
¥66,745 CNY
¥CNY1,914 less
6.67450^3.18%1-2 daysOnline, Bank Account to Bank Account
 
Wells Fargo Bank logoWells Fargo Bank
¥65,358 CNY
¥CNY3,301 less
6.5476185.19%2-3 daysOnline, Branch, Bank Account to Bank Account
HSBC logoHSBC
¥65,311 CNY
¥CNY3,348 less
6.5409$155.26%2-3 daysOnline, Branch, Bank Account to Bank Account
Banks - Average Rate
Bank of America logo U.S. Bank logo Wells Fargo Bank logo HSBC logo
¥64,912.75 CNY
¥CNY3,746 less
6.5292155.83%2-3 daysOnline, Branch, Bank Account to Bank Account
Bank of America logoBank of America
¥64,491 CNY
¥CNY4,168 less
6.5142$1006.45%2-3 daysOnline, Branch, Bank Account to Bank Account
U.S. Bank logoU.S. Bank
¥64,491 CNY
¥CNY4,168 less
6.5142$1006.45%2-3 daysOnline, Branch, Bank Account to Bank Account
WorldFirst: Foreign Transfer USD→CNY
USD amount:$10,000 USD
Fee:
Exchange Rate:6.8659 (0.4% from mid-rate)
CNY amount:¥68,659 CNY
Total Cost:0.4%
Time:6:08 Local
Transfer Speed:1-2 days
Services:Online, Bank Account to Bank Account
Rating:
 
: 4.6/5.0
Reviews:
 
OFX: Foreign Transfer USD→CNY
USD amount:$10,000 USD
Fee:0^ - No fees for BestExchangeRates users (normally $12 for smaller transfers)
Exchange Rate:6.6745 (3.18% from mid-rate)
CNY amount:¥66,745 CNY
Total Cost:3.18%
Difference:
¥CNY1,914 CNY less than using WorldFirst
Time:
Rate Fetched: Mon Dec 10 2018 04:01:56 GMT+0000 (UTC)
Transfer Speed:1-2 days
Services:Online, Bank Account to Bank Account
Rating:
 
: 4.8/5.0
Reviews:
Wells Fargo Bank: Foreign Transfer USD→CNY
USD amount:$10,000 USD
Fee:18
Exchange Rate:6.5476 (5.02% from mid-rate)
CNY amount:¥65,358 CNY
Total Cost:5.19%
Difference:
¥CNY3,301 CNY less than using WorldFirst
Time:6:08 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Account to Bank Account
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
HSBC: Foreign Transfer USD→CNY
USD amount:$10,000 USD
Fee:$15 USD (.15%)
Exchange Rate:6.5409 (5.11% from mid-rate)
CNY amount:¥65,311 CNY
Total Cost:5.26%
Difference:
¥CNY3,348 CNY less than using WorldFirst
Time:6:08 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Account to Bank Account
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
 

Banks - Average Rate
Bank of America logo U.S. Bank logo Wells Fargo Bank logo HSBC logo

Foreign Transfer USD→CNY
USD amount:$10,000 USD
Fee:15
Exchange Rate:6.5008 (5.7% from mid-rate)
CNY amount:¥64,912.75 CNY
Total Cost:5.83%
Difference:
¥CNY3,746 CNY less than using WorldFirst
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Account to Bank Account
Bank of America: Foreign Transfer USD→CNY
USD amount:$10,000 USD
Fee:$100 USD (1%)
Exchange Rate:6.5142 (5.5% from mid-rate)
CNY amount:¥64,491 CNY
Total Cost:6.45%
Difference:
¥CNY4,168 CNY less than using WorldFirst
Time:6:08 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Account to Bank Account
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
U.S. Bank: Foreign Transfer USD→CNY
USD amount:$10,000 USD
Fee:$100 USD (1%)
Exchange Rate:6.5142 (5.5% from mid-rate)
CNY amount:¥64,491 CNY
Total Cost:6.45%
Difference:
¥CNY4,168 CNY less than using WorldFirst
Time:6:08 Local
Transfer Speed:2-3 days
Services:Online, Branch, Bank Account to Bank Account
Rating:
: /5.0
Reviews:
 
Sending a LARGER foreign transfer? Shop-around with multiple providers Get Quotes
Total Cost = provider fees + exchange rate margin vs USD/CNY mid-rate: 6.8935
Rates @ 12/10/2018
 

Popular CNY cross rates


CNY/USD - Chinese Yuan to United States Dollar - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriod
02 Dec 20180.14371 Week
09 Nov 20180.14371 Month
12 Jun 20180.15626 Months
09 Dec 20170.15111 Year
09 Dec 20160.14492 Years
10 Dec 20130.16455 Years
11 Dec 20080.145910 Years

CNY/EUR - Chinese Yuan to Euro - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriod
02 Dec 20180.12671 Week
09 Nov 20180.12681 Month
12 Jun 20180.13296 Months
09 Dec 20170.12841 Year
09 Dec 20160.13722 Years
10 Dec 20130.11955 Years
11 Dec 20080.109810 Years

CNY/GBP - Chinese Yuan to British Pound Sterling - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriod
02 Dec 20180.11271 Week
09 Nov 20180.11081 Month
12 Jun 20180.11686 Months
09 Dec 20170.11291 Year
09 Dec 20160.11522 Years
10 Dec 20130.10005 Years
11 Dec 20080.097610 Years

CNY/JPY - Chinese Yuan to Japanese Yen - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriod
02 Dec 201816.34891 Week
09 Nov 201816.36191 Month
12 Jun 201817.24946 Months
09 Dec 201717.14891 Year
09 Dec 201616.66522 Years
10 Dec 201316.92495 Years
11 Dec 200813.373210 Years

CNY/AUD - Chinese Yuan to Australian Dollar - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriod
02 Dec 20180.19491 Week
09 Nov 20180.19881 Month
12 Jun 20180.20626 Months
09 Dec 20170.20131 Year
09 Dec 20160.19452 Years
10 Dec 20130.17995 Years
11 Dec 20080.217610 Years

CNY/CAD - Chinese Yuan to Canadian Dollar - 10 Year History

DateExchange RatePeriod
02 Dec 20180.19051 Week
09 Nov 20180.18991 Month
12 Jun 20180.20336 Months
09 Dec 20170.19421 Year
09 Dec 20160.19112 Years
10 Dec 20130.17465 Years
11 Dec 20080.179910 Years

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