Discussion » Travel » Buying foreign currency

  • Minger
    Minger wrote:

    Could anyone advise me on the options and limits for getting RMB converted back into foreign currency and out of this country?

    I heard foreigners can only convert RMB to USD if there is some nonsensical proof of taxes being paid on the currency. Since it's all money that I brought here in the first place and converted to RMB over the last few years (thinking that somehow RMB would be useful for something), there are no taxes to pay on it and this isn't an option.

    Western Union only accepts USD. They might be cheaper than wire transfers, but of course foreigners can't buy USD here, right?

    Well, presuming I have one or two trusted locals at my disposal, how much currency can they convert per day? per year? What are the limits if I want to have someone here wire the money to a foreign account?

  • pommie
    pommie wrote:

    Stuff like this changes all the time so I can't be bothered to provide links or whatever.  It's roughly like this:

    As a foreigner you can buy 500 USD worth of currency a day.

    So you could go to the Bank of China tomorrow and get 500 USD. Then go back the next day and get another 500 USD. It's worth asking them to make sure they will have the money ready however as they run out of foreign currency sometimes.

    There's supposed to be a yearly limit but it's fairly high - something like 50,000 USD?

    A local can convert any amount in a day but not over their yearly limit - which is also quite high.

    There's supposed to be a "grey market" money changing business somewhere near a university in Haidian, which is reliable. I've heard of several people going there to buy large amounts of foreign currency without a problem.

    >> What are the limits if I want to have someone here wire the money to a foreign account?

    I don't quite understand the question. If you are wiring foreign currency then I don't think there will be a limit. A transfer of more than 5,000 USD may attract attention from anti money-laundering authorities however.

     

  • Minger
    Minger wrote:

    Thanks Pomegranate, maybe I can just have a local send me a wire then. I'm a little wary of gray market involving large sums of cash and strangers. I'm assuming there's a fee each time I convert $500, which adds up to a substantial percentage even if I have the time to go do it every day.

    Aloneinbj, does this not involve a 3% conversion charge plus a transaction fee? I really don't want to lose 3% of my money.

    I think the cost of a wire transfer is like 300 RMB, it's just I heard it was limited to 20,000 each time, which puts the cost at 1.5%. If there's no limits though than that's a good option.

  • pommie
    pommie wrote:

    - - - I'm assuming there's a fee each time I convert $500, which adds up to a substantial percentage even if I have the time to go do it every day.

    It's not too bad. I think they give you something like 2  percent less than the daily rate you see on xe.com. I exchanged some RMB to pounds sterling at my bank in England and their commission was even higher!

    I think the only people who offer commission-free currency exchange are travel agents - if you are already spending money with them. I could be wrong, however.

  • Joakim Berg Solum

    Or... you can give me your RMB and I'll give you my USD when I get back in Beijing. Then neither one of us has to pay any fees. Assuming you're still around.

  • 叮噹叔叔 (令狐叮噹)

    ...

    Ming ... it sounds like a huge amount? heehee ...

    Based on the idea of what "Alone" had said ... if you have a local credit card that can be used back home, wherever home might be, then perhaps you can use that, but being that you dont get paid interest on it, if it is a lot of money, it might not be a good idea ...

    Or with whoever that you are still working for, for the next few days anyway, maybe you can ask if the HR or Finance dept can make the arrangement for you, we do a regular (monthly) transfer to our Oz back account, it is not a lot, but it is definitely more than USD$500 ...

     

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