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Exchanging US Dollars to CHINESE YUAN (Renminbi) + Using your BPI International ATM in China

Be careful when exchanging US Dollars to CHINESE YUAN (Renminbi) in CHINA. There are many fake notes going around and strangers will easily approach you (especially if you are non-Chinese looking) and offer you local currency in exchange for your dollars.

The yuan (元/圆) is the basic unit of the renminbi (RMB), but is also used to refer to the Chinese currency generally, especially in international contexts.>>>source

1 Chinese Yuan =7.01 Philippine Peso

Exchanging US Dollars to CHINESE YUAN (Renminbi)

If you are BPI bank client like me, you can exchange Chinese Yuan notes in their branch in Ayala Avenue Makati, that is if you don't want to go through the hassle of exchanging your dollars when you get to China. Otherwise, the best way is to bring dollars with you and an International ATM will also be very helpful.

Take Note: A transaction fee of 50 RMB is collected every time you exchange your dollars. That's 350 pesos per transaction so I would suggest you gather all your money and exchange it all at once.

Exchanging $$$ at the airport: Exchanging currency at airports is something I don't suggest to my readers. Unless you have no other choice of course. In most countries I visit, I only exchange enough to cover our transportation expenses to the city and the deposit needed at the hotel, the rest I pay the next day after finding a currency exchange in the city.

INTERNATIONAL ATM: Because of the service charge, we deemed withdrawing a small amount (500 RMB) to cover for our taxi ride and hostel deposit. It was effortless. There are many atm terminals at the airport. My bank charged me 200 pesos for the transaction which is still more practical than the 350 service charge for exchanging my dollar notes and the big difference in the exchange rate at airport forex.

Take Note: If you have an existing International ATM account with BPI or are planning to open one, make sure you have it activated with your bank before you fly out of the country. Yeah, it requires activation by either going to your bank or calling the hotline before you can use it abroad.

(The best option is to go to a bank and exchange your $$$$ there).

Not only the service charge, acquiring fake Chinese notes is something you cannot afford to happen. It could ruin everything The best option therefore is to go to a local bank in CHINA and exchange your $$$$ there. We were lucky to find a bank next to our hostel in Shanghai. Banks usually open 8:30am. Bring your passport. It only takes a few minutes and you have your Renminbi.

Easy and safe!

PS: Thanks to Bojo of and Ate Caroline, our friend who lives in Jilin China for the tips!


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  1. Hi. I will be traveling to Beijing next month for 4 days, 3 nights. May I kindly ask which of these options is the best with regard to exchanging money:

    1. exchange my Peso money to Yuan before I travel;
    2. exchange my Peso money to US Dollars, then, exchange my US Dollars to Yuan before I travel;
    3. exchange my Peso money to US Dollars, then, exchange my US Dollars to Yuan in Beijing; or
    3. bring my BPI International ATM and withdraw money upon arrival in Beijing.

    The thing is, I want to avoid the hassle of going to ATMs or local banks when I'm in Beijing. Do you think 1 or 2 is the best? Also, can you give me an estimate as to how much pocket money should I bring for food, pasalubong/a little bit of shopping, and entrance fees, if there's any, given the fact that my hotel accommodation and transpo are already taken care of. Thanks so much in advance! =)

  2. #3. yan ang ginawa namin. Better parin na me dala kang $$$$. Basta sabay sabay kanalang papalit. And do it at the bank kasi maraming fake yuan notes na nagkalat and me service charge every transaction. Withdraw kanalang sa airport ng small amout using your BPI atm enough to cover your transpo from the airport to city center. mura lang naman ang tren. 25RM lang ata yung 1-way if I can remember correctly. 9 days kami sa China and we spent di namin naubos yung $1000 na dala namin. 2 na kami ni wifey nun ha. And Shanghai-Nanjing-Beijing na yun. Enjoy!

    1. Thanks so much for the tips. Your blog is very helpful!

  3. Pahabol - you said na may service charge ang withdrawal at papalit ng money sa airport, right? Kapag ba sa local bank kami nagpapalit ng Dollars to Yuan may charge din? If so, how much?

  4. Industry standard, meaning same charges everywhere. diko na matandaan how much exactly though. Pero at least, isahan lang ang charge kasi per transaction kasi ang charge at di amount. and one more thing, sure ka na di peke yung mga perng pinalit sa dollars mo ^^


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