Chinese Phrases For Dummies
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Traveling can be expensive, so it's crucial to have a good understanding of Chinese phrases for money and banking. While in a Chinese-speaking country, the best way to ensure that you get the most for your money is to be familiar with these common financial terms.

qián (chyan) (front; money)
qŭ qián (chyew chyan) (to withdraw money)
yínháng (een hahng) (bank)
duìhuànchù (dway hwahn choo) (exchange bureaus)
duìhuànlǜ (dway hwahn lyew) (exchange rate)
xiànjīn (shyan jeen) (cash)
ōuyuán (oh ywan) (Euro)
yínhángzhànghù (een hahng hoo toe) (bank account)
zìdòng tíkuănjī (dzuh doong tee kwan jee) (ATM)
zhīpiào (jir pyaow) check (money)
xìnyòng kă (sheen yoong kah) (credit card)
huòbì (hwaw bee) (currency)
wàibì (wye bee) (foreign currency)
mĕiyuán (may ywan) (U.S. dollar)
zhīpiào bù (jir pyaow boo) (checkbook)
zìdòng tíkuăn kă (dzuh doong tee kwan kah) (ATM card)
jiéyú (jyeh yew) (account balance)
lǚxíng zhīpiào (lyew sheeng jir pyaow) (traveler’s checks)

Each country has its own monetary system. Economically, it is almost always best to exchange your American dollars for the local currency. In fact, exchanging money is the most common banking need for travelers. You need to be aware of is that not all banks in China are authorized to exchange money. However, most large hotels can change up to $200 per day.

And of course, avoid anyone who wants to change money outside your hotel or bank. You can get in a lot of trouble if you get caught!

In the following conversation, a traveler exchanges her American money for Euros.

Patricia: jīntiān duìhuànlǜ shì duōshăo? (What is the exchange rate today?)

Banker: jīntiān duìhuànlǜ shì yī bĭ bā. (Today’s exchange rate is 1 to 8.)

Patricia: wŏ xiăng huàn yì qiān kuài mĕiyuán. (I would like to exchange $1,000.)

Don't forget to compare the exchange rates because rates are different for cash, traveler’s checks, and credit card cash advances.

The following phrases will give you a guideline to follow when forming your own questions about other banking needs while in a Chinese-speaking country.

  • wŏ kĕyĭ huàn duōshăo? (How much can I change?)

  • wŏ xiăng măi lǚxíng zhīpiào. (I would like to buy traveler’s checks)

  • qǚkuănjī zài năr? (Where is the ATM?)

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