Most of the money which students plan to spend should be brought IN CASH (or in a cash-accessible form, such as an ATM card) as cash is easier to exchange and will trade at a relatively more advantageous rate. Participants should consider bringing a small amount of cash to China to act as EMERGENCY FUNDS.

American Councils strongly encourages all students to take some form of credit card to China. Even if you do not use the card for purchases, it will serve as an emergency back-up if you do run out of money and can be used to pay medical fees in advance. Please make sure that your credit and debit cards will not expire during your capstone year, as it is easier to renew a card while you are still state-side. Please also be sure to notify your credit card companies that you will be out of the country to avoid issues with using your card later. Some credit cards also charge fees for purchases made abroad, so please be sure to verify all terms with your credit card company before leaving home. For major credit cards, there are nearby ATM machines, and there may be a withdrawal maximum of 2000 RMB.

Credit cards such as American Express, Master Card, and Visa are acceptable for payment at hotels or tourist stores. However, most places will not accept credit card so you will need to bring RMB. Even if the store/restaurant indicates they do accept credit cards, they might tell you it doesn’t work when you go to pay the bill.