This tutorial is written based on our Bank of China experiences. Other banks may be different (but generally similar).
How international cards work
The process of withdrawing money with your international card is simple for the account holder. Your bank at home makes available momey to the local ATM where you can withdraw it. The money is converted to local currency at the time of withdrawal according to current excange rates. Your home bank may charge for this (this fee may be expensive or nothing)
The financial networks that are widely available in Beijing are VISA, MasterCard, Cirrus, and JCB.
Where to use your international card
You can use your international card in most tourist and business areas without a problem. In some shopping areas (Wang FuJing, Zhong Guan Cun, DongZhiMen) there are special ATMs for foreign cards (HSBC is one as of 2011), local cards will not work in these ATMs.
If you are not in a tourist or business area, you will probably be able to use your international card at Bank of Communications (Jiaotong Yin Hang ) ATMs. You might possibly also be able to make withdrawals at a Bank of China ATM.
The maximum amount that you can withdraw per day is 20,000 RMB (as of 2011). The maximum amount that you can withdraw per transaction is 2500 RMB (or less), but this varies with the ATM that you are using.
At local China state owned banks, every time you withdraw from an ATM that is not owned by your bank, you will be charged a fee of 2 RMB. If you use a local card at your own bank's ATM, the withdrawal is free
ATM Withdrawal Process
First, insert your card
Type in your PIN password
Select your account
If you find that you are unable to withdraw from an account which you are sure has money, try another account category. If for example, you are trying to access your home savings account, you may have to select "Credit" to access it from the ATM.
Type in the amount that you wish to withdraw
Wait for the machine
Collect your cash, perhaps count it
Print a receipt
Eject your card. Dont forget to take out your card!
Store your card, cash, and receipt