Running Errands: Banks
Post by Eva


Whenever I need to have dealings with a bank in China, I take these necessary measures: empty my bladder, prepare a snack, a decent page-turner, warm socks (in the winter); and just generally brace myself for a long wait. The best time to go there is between 10-11 am; going earlier you’ll risk bumping into the morning crowd that is trying to take care of their business before work; going later, don’t, everyone knows that between 11-2 pm it’s a dead zone with usually just a fraction of employees working while the others are merrily slurping away their noodles somewhere. If you fail to arrive between the golden hour of 10 to 11, then go between 3-5 pm instead. That way, you’ll avoid unnecessarily long queues.

In a Chinese Bank

Always, always, no matter how mundane it might seem, bring your passport. As a foreigner, you’ll be required to show your passport for about anything, for example: registering a phone number, checking-in a hostel/hotel, using a computer in the Internet cafe WǎngBa (网吧,  lit. Net Bar); and making any kind of inquiry, change or transaction in your bank.

Yes, I know, it’s safer like that, but sometimes they do exaggerate: just the other day I had to go to China Unicom (a telecom service provider), and they refused to clip my sim card (I just purchased an iPhone which uses a mini/nano card) without the passport, even though I’ve been there just a couple of days before, telling them that I will come back. Yes, before you ask, I did know better, I didn’t bring by passport – I couldn’t since it was in the Entry-Exit Bureau, but they did give me a paper there that was supposed to be just as valid as a passport, and could thus be used in such daily matters as I thought clipping a card was – nay, I was deceived, denied and disappointed. It happens.

Bellow are the names of major Chinese banks and telecom service providers with their pinyin and translation for your convenience:

建设银行 JiànShè YínHáng Construction Bank
工商银行 GōngShāng YínHáng Industrial & Commercial Bank
中国银行 ZhōngGuó YínHáng Bank of China
农业银行 NóngYè YínHáng Agricultural Bank
交通银行 JiāoTōng YínHáng Bank of Communication
招商银行 ZhāoShāng YínHáng Merchants Bank
中国电信 ZhōngGuó DiànXìn China Telecom
中国联通 ZhōngGuó LiánTōng China Unicom
中国移动 ZhōngGuó YíDoǹg China Mobile



One Comment

  1. Tony james wrote:

    I can assure anyone that if you go to the bank,mine was 中国银行 ZhōngGuó YínHáng Bank of China.Take water,passport,I.D.and remember you password mi2ma3 as you will be asked at least 5 times to enter it and the paper work to sign (qian1zhang1) that the tellers have to fill out and counter sign by the manager and after 2-3hrs all done.Just Ignore the money exchangers as they will hang around trying to buy US$,this is tolerated in banks.

    Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

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