This guide is written based on services at the Bank of China. Other banks may be different (but are likely to be generally similar).
Regarding all of your bank dealings:
You will usually have to get a ticket by selecting "Personal Banking" – and then wait in line for your number to be called. (It will also usually appear on a screen.)
Your passport will be required for many different types of bank services.
You can sign forms in English.
ATM Card and Passbook Account with Telephone Banking and E-Banking
About this Account
This account is good for daily use of RMB and allows you to get information about your account online and over the phone.
You will receive an ATM card that you can use to withdraw cash and pay for things in many stores. This account has a 10-yuan annual fee, and opening the account requires a 5-yuan card fee. The opening deposit must be larger than 1 yuan. It is also possible to make deposits in foreign currency.
You will also receive an electronic key to use online and will be able to get information on your account by phone. You can set passwords individually for each access point for your account - one password for online, one for your ATM card, etc. – or you can also set all passwords to be the same.
You can go to any branch to receive money from another party, withdraw, deposit, use an ATM, or close your account.
How to Open a New Account – key points:
1. You will be asked to create a six digit password (PIN) for your passbook, and to enter the number twice.
2. You will be given an envelope-shaped paper containing a pre-printed password for your card. You will be asked to type in this password to activate your card.
3. You will be required to sign two documents to confirm that you are opening an account. One covers the rules of the account, and the other is to confirm the opening of the account.
The following key steps concern registration for telephone banking service:
1. The teller will ask you to enter the password for your card (this refers to the pre-printed password on the envelope-shaped paper in step 2).
2. The teller will ask you to enter the password for your passbook (this is the password you created in step 1).
3. You will then have to type in the card password (from step 2) twice.
4. Create a new password for telephone banking, entering it twice.
5. Sign two documents to confirm that you are registering for the telephone banking service.
The following steps concern registration for e-banking:
1. The teller will ask you to type in the password for your card (this is the pre-printed password on the envelope-shaped paper from step 2).
2. Create a new password for e-banking, entering it twice.
3. Sign two documents - the first to confirm that you are registering for e-banking, and the other document states that you agree to follow the e-banking protocols outlined by the bank.
4. The bank teller will give you an electronic key that includes your password. You need to log in with this password.
5. The bank teller will then tell you the website address
6. Try using your card at the nearest ATM. Insert your card, select English. Enter the pre-printed password on the envelope-shaped paper. Select "Change Password". Change the pre-printed password to one that you select.
The money is converted to the local currency at the time of withdrawal, according to current exchange rates. Your home bank may charge for this (this fee may be expensive - or the service may even be free).
The financial networks that are widely available in Beijing are: Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus and JCB.