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Home Jiangnan Travel Tips Chinese Money and Currency Converter

Chinese Money and Currency Converter


chinese currency
The Symbol of Chinese Yuan
Chinese Currency Converter
chinese currency coins
Coins of Chinese Currency
the samples of Renminbi paper currency
RMB Paper Money Samples

China’s Currency in Brief -

Renminbi(人民币), RMB/CNY as the abbreviation, is an important currency in the world. As the economic development and the commercial bloom, Chinese money plays a more and more important role in world’s economy, and currently, it is partially considered as a type of hard currency, similar to USD in the world. People who do business with China know the importance of Chinese Renminbi to the world and the global economic development. Today’s currency of China is different from that before 1949, so for a pragmatic help, we will give a specific demonstration on current currency, as well as its history.

The flat money of PRC is Renminbi, whose sign is “¥”, and the competent authority–in-charge is People’s Bank of China, including the design, printing and issuing. Over the past 60 years, Renminbi has been updated and upgraded for five times. The basic monetary unit of RMB is Yuan(元, but more called Kuai, 块), and then Jiao(角) and Fen(分). Apart from the paper currency, there is also the coin generally comprised of 1 Yuan, 5 Jiao and 1 Jiao. And Fen actually becomes a historical currency unit in China, and today it is hardly seen and used. So, the smallest unit we today use is Jiao.

The paper money currently consists of 100 Yuan, the largest monetary unit, 50 Yuan, 20 Yuan, 10 Yuan, 5 Yuan and 1 Yuan. The conversion between Yuan and Jiao is 1 Yuan equates 10 Jiao.

Changing money -

It is possible to exchange traveler's checks or cash at most banks, and hotels always have a money exchange counter. Cash advances are available on most common credit/debit cards e.g. American Express/Visa/MasterCard, but this facility is available only from the main branch of the Bank of China in most Chinese cities. A fee of 3%-4% will apply. The Bank of China has an ATM network that will allow cash advances from major credit / debit cards and ATM cards. Check your credit card provider for this information before leaving your home country. You are required to present your passport to change money/travelers checks etc. Hotels usually only allow you to change money if you are guest at the hotel.

The RMB is not easily convertible on the international market so it is only usable in China. It is advisable to change only the money that you need for you trip as it may be difficult to change back to you preferred currency. RMB is now readily convertible in Hong Kong.

You can convert unused RMB to another currency in China by producing the receipts for your original purchase of RMB in China. This exchange is done at the airport as you leave China. There is a foreign exchange black market but it is illegal.

Credit cards -

Major credit cards such as Master Card, Visa, JCB and American Express are accepted in major hotels and department stores. Check on the acceptance of your credit card before you purchase. Credit cards cannot be used in most restaurants or small convenience stores. Air Travel could be purchased with credit cards. Credit cards can be used to get a cash advance in the main offices of the Bank of China.

Money Wire Transfer -

Wire Transfer using a service called Money Transfer is available and is a joint venture between the China Courier Service Corporation and Western Union. This service allows instant money wiring to and from 100 countries. Check the Western Union website ( for further information.

Counterfeit Money -

Although the government makes efforts to eradicate this practice, there are still some problems with the use of counterfeit money, although the problem is decreasing. There is a habit of many Chinese people that they always check the authenticity of the money when receiving it. So, please do not be offended by such an act, It is not a reflection on your character. Anyway, as the enhancement of technology and the individual’s ability to discriminate the counterfeit money, today, it is hardly to suffer such a case. But there are some ways to check or identify it:

Paper quality
Take the bill the long way up and kind of ruffle it in your hands. The sound should be clear and distinct. If fake, the sound is muffled and the paper seems crisp.

Water Mark
There are two things to see in the light. If you hold the bill up you will see on the left side in the white space, there is a clear picture of Chairman Mao's face. On the fake bills, the outline of his face is blurred. Below the 100-number in the center of the note, there is a red and blue symbol inside a red circle with the red and blue sections on either side of the note. In the real bills, the red and blue boundaries in the symbol are very distinct. They are perfectly aligned, or else they overlap just very very slightly. In the fake bills the symbol is distorted. The red and blue sections are not aligned, one is usually a little higher than the other and often there is either a white space between their boundaries or they overlap unevenly. This is the easiest identifying mark of these bills.

Color Change
Below the white space, there is a green 100 (or 50 on the 50 bill, 20 on the 20 bill etc.) sign in the left corner. When looking flat at this sign, it is green. When the bill is tilted upwards, and you are looking at the sign from the bottom up the 100 turns brown. This is a real bill. But if when you tilt the bill upwards the symbol is only dark green, then this is a fake bill. This difference is slight and is easily seen if you have a real bill next to the fake bill.

The texture of the picture of Chairman Mao
Hold the bill in your hand and rub your thumb gently against the collar on the big picture of Chairman Mao. You will notice a difference in texture on his collar. You will only feel it if you rub gently. If the paper is completely smooth, without any texture, you are holding a counterfeit! (Editor's note: another thing you can do here is rub Mao's face on a piece of white paper and if real, it will leave behind a slight red mark)

The difference of "100"
On the top right hand corner, there is a 100 sign. Just overlapping a little below the 100, there is an oval design. If you turn this design up, so you are looking up from the bottom, then place it so that light shines on it, you will see a very faint "100" on the oval. It is just slightly raised, this is a real bill. In the fakes, the 100 is either not there, or is very difficult to see.

the way to identify the counterfeit money
The Five Ways to Identify The Renminbi Paper Money 100 Yuan Is The Authentic or Not

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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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