Chinese credit cards

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Chinese credit cards
« on: June 13, 2020, 09:04:14 AM »
How do you get one?

And how easily can they be used and managed from outside of China? I mean, for instance, they're fairly well accepted as credit cards outside of China, but if you're using one a lot and you need to say add some cash to the account, how easily can you from overseas? Do you need PINS or phone message verification or what?

What I'm asking basically is if you had a source of RMB income inside China, and a Chinese credit card outside of China, could you put the two together and sustainably spend spend spend?

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Nolefan

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Re: Chinese credit cards
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2020, 01:27:12 PM »
your mileage might vary but here's what i've experienced:

1- You go to your main bank, preferably Merchant's Bank or CITIC, and get a "secured" credit card.. i.e your credit limit is equivalent to a deposit you make to secure the balance. It's not a bad deal as it earns a minimum of interest and makes life easy. They're especially flexible if you're looking at a "credit limit" between 10 and 20K. That's how i got my first one.

2- Most common one is that your danwei (employer) vouches for you. It's usually quite easy and you get to keep the card even after changing jobs as long as you didn't mess up.

If there's another way, i'm not aware of it.
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Re: Chinese credit cards
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2020, 02:06:56 AM »
I'm just so used to Chinese infrastructure being more a series of frustrating hurdles and unsustainably ad hoc bargains that it blows my mind that managing money this way might work...

Guy I know even says the times he's had to call BOC or ICBC to get a transaction authorised, IT WAS EASY!?!


 eeeeeeeeee

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Re: Chinese credit cards
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2020, 06:52:13 PM »
But so, why CITIC or China Merchant's?

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Nolefan

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Re: Chinese credit cards
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2020, 09:25:29 AM »
But so, why CITIC or China Merchant's?
again, my experience in Beijing.
They both have modern backends and SOP practices. CITIC is arguably bigger than BoC and handles a lot more international business.
CMB is the most modern of the big 5 with great customer service. It's also the most outward looking as it sets to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack. They were the first Chinese bank with an English customer service and website for years before the advent of apps.

As far as ICBC, I don't know anyone that opened or uses an account there by choice. They're very much tied to corporations (salary payments, corporate accounts etc..) and they excel at it, but when it comes to personal accounts, they've got the monopoly on "meiyou" and "buxin"


Now of course, like with anything in the big silly, your mileage might vary. It also depends on whatever 16 year old is sitting behind the counter, if they had a bad day etc etc etc... you get my drift.
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El Macho

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Re: Chinese credit cards
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2020, 07:48:12 PM »
I got one in Beijing (a long time ago) at Merchant's Bank with a letter from my employer stating where I worked and what I earned per month. Courier delivered the CC a few days later.

Like Noles says, had great phone customer service in English. My wife had a card, too, and I could always get to a rep faster on the English line than she could on the Chinese line.

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AMonk

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Re: Chinese credit cards
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2020, 11:18:28 PM »
My wife had a card, too, and I could always get to a rep faster on the English line than she could on the Chinese line.

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Re: Chinese credit cards
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2020, 04:49:02 PM »
I never had any major issues with ICBC.  They're slow, but the only time they ever really let me down was by not being bright enough to be able to handle a US Treasury Department check.  I've personally used ICBC ATM cards in the US.  Not all US ATMs take them, but some do.

My wife has accounts with a number of banks.  The credit card she's happiest with is from ICBC.  That's also where she set up a credit card for our daughter when she went to the US as an exchange student.

I suspect the different experience Noles had is based on how things are run at the provincial (or equivalent) level.  With HK hosting so many foreign banks so close by, I think the increased competition pressured ICBC to provide better service.
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