Money & costs
Foreign currency and travellers cheques can be changed at large branches of the Bank of China, CITIC Industrial Bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, HSBC, the airport and hotel moneychanging counters, and at several department stores (including the Friendship Store), as long as you have your passport. Hotels give the official rate, but some will add a small commission. Useful branches of the Bank of China with foreign-exchange counters include a branch next to Oriental Plaza on Wangfujing Dajie, in the Lufthansa Center Youyi Shopping City, and in the China World Trade Center. For international money transfer, branches of Western Union can be found in the International Post Office and at the post office at No 3 Gongrentiyuchang Beilu (6416 7686).
If you have an Amex card, you can also cash personal cheques at CITIC Industrial Bank and large branches of the Bank of China.
ATMs that take international cards can now be found in abundance. The best places to look are in and around the main shopping areas (such as Wangfujing Dajie) and international hotels and their associated shopping arcades; some large department stores also have useful ATMs. There's a Bank of China ATM in the Capital Airport arrivals hall. Other useful ATMs are:
Bank of China ATM Lufthansa Center Youyi Shopping City (1st fl, Lufthansa Center Youyi Shopping City); Novotel Peace Hotel (foyer, Novotel Peace Hotel, 3 Jinyu Hutong); Oriental Plaza (Oriental Plaza, cnr Wangfujing Dajie & Dongchang'an Jie); Peninsula Beijing (2nd basement level, Peninsula Beijing, 8 Jinyu Hutong); Sundongan Plaza (next to main entrance of Sundongan Plaza on Wangfujing Dajie); Swissôtel (2nd fl, Swissôtel, 2 Chaoyangmen Beidajie)
Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC; 6526 0668, 800-820 8878; www.hsbc.com.cn) Jianguomen Dajie (Ground fl, Block A, COFCO Plaza, 8 Jianguomennei Dajie); China World Hotel (Suite L129, Ground fl, 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie); Lufthansa Center (Ground fl) All have 24-hour ATMs.
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China ATM (Gōngshāng Yínháng; Wangfujing Dajie) Opposite Bank of China ATM at entrance to Sundongan Plaza.