Bank of China (BOC) has announced that starting from 25 July 2021 it will reduce fees for use of its debit cards with the ATM’s of other lenders in other locations.

The central bank said that it will cancel all fees for the use of its Great Wall Debit Card at ATM’s in other locations, as well as reduce fees for their use with the ATM’s of other banks in other locations to a maximum of 3.5 yuan per transaction (approx. £0.40).

The move comes in response to a recent initiative launched by the peak bodies for the Chinese banking and payment sectors to reduce fees for interbank debit card usage.

On 25 June the China Banking Association and the Payments and Clearing Association of China jointly issued the “Proposal on Reducing Cross-bank Withdrawal Processing Fees for Automatic Teller Machines”

Credit card acceptance in China

While China is major destination for business-people and tourists alike, credit cards aren’t as widely accepted as you’d expect. Sure, your plastic will normally be welcomed in high-end hotels and restaurants. But cash is very much king almost everywhere else.

As luck would have it, ATMs are plentiful and easy to use, at least in major airports and large cities.

China is very ATM-friendly. ATMs are a common sight in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. You should also find ATMs in more rural areas, but it’s best to make withdrawals beforehand just in case.

China’s ATMs are operated by Union Pay, which has a convenient online ATM locator. Unfortunately, because most ATMs are located in bank lobbies and shopping centres, they aren’t accessible 24 hours a day. Many ATMs also tend to run out of cash at the weekend, so it’s best to think ahead and get cash during the week.