How to open Bank account in China

Bank account

As a new foreigner in China, one wants to live as conveniently as possible. He or she should be able to buy tickets online, occasionally (or frequently) order online orders, and shop on Taobao. For all these things, one needs a bank account in China.

How to open a bank account? It is not a very difficult process.

Which bank should I choose?

For foreigners, there is not a big difference between any banks, so choose your bank based on convenience. Which branches and ATM do you see most often in your city or near your neighborhood? Also, your account is attached to a specific branch of the bank where you open an account. If you need to change your PIN, report a stolen card, or something of this sort, you will need to go back to that exact branch. It is yet another reason to pick a bank near you.

There are plenty of banks in China, but the five below are the most reputed.

Agricultural Bank of China (ABC)

It has the most significant number of branches and ATMs, especially in rural areas.


Bank of China (BOC)

Bank of China has the most international branches and is the diversified bank in China. It provides a full range of financial services in China’s mainland, Hong Kong, Macau, and other 31 countries. The bank helps you to transfer money overseas and might be your preferred bank.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC)

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is known for having excellent English-speaking services


China Construction Bank

It is a top-rated bank with excellent service.


China Merchants Bank

A smaller bank, known for its excellent service

What do I need to prepare before going?

You would need your passport, residence permit, and a cellphone. The bank will require you to make an initial deposit and maybe pay for the opening of the new account. You may need about 50 RMB.

After finishing this process, you get a debit card for your new account with a 6-digit pin.

You can use your new debit card to withdraw cash at ATMs or pay at stores and most restaurants (Note: Withdrawals from ATMs not owned by your bank will involve charges).

What to do now?

Now you have your account and activated debit card issued by UnionPay. Currently, UnionPay is accepted everywhere in China as well as at banks in over 120 countries overseas. Note that even though UnionPay is famous for daily purchases, at as some places, payment acceptance is through Alipay or WeChat only. After opening your account, you should connect your bank account to Alipay and WeChat.

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