Within North America and Europe, finding an ATM is easy. I would never dream of checking in advance where the ATM is in a town. I know I will find one when I need it. Sometimes I ask my bank for the names of banks in my target towns whose ATMs will charge me lower fees, but that's all the research I need to do. In contrast, on Easter Island there are two ATMs in the whole country and it's a good idea to know in advance where they are.

On this spectrum, where does China fall? Does someone visiting a reasonably sized town (we have Suzhou in mind, but I'm not sure that is relevant) need to work out in advance where the ATMs are, or can we just wander up with the same kind of "of course I can get cash when I need it" attitude as we have in North America and Europe? Our cards are Interac but I believe they work fine on Cirrus. Debit card (accessing the Canadian bank account) would be preferred but Visa would be an ok fallback occasionally.

  • VISA: I've always been able to get money from Chinese ATMs using VISA. I've done this in urban areas in numerous cities in China. | EFTPOS: Not well recalled now, but I had a few problems with EFTPOS at the start (2007) and as VISA was essentially trouble free when it did work, I've since used that. As Guido said - some do, some don't but there are usually enough machines around that it's not a problem. They very often group machines from several banks in one location so you have a reasonable chance of finding one that 's OK. | For interest, what areas in China are you intending to travel in. Jun 23, 2015 at 10:40
  • Kate, it would be very helpful if you mention what type of ATM card you hold, is it Cirrus? Visa Electron? Maestro? Jun 23, 2015 at 10:50
  • Not sure if Canadian banks issue them like the US banks do, but Visa or MasterCard branded check cards (debit cards) work more universally in much of Asia than Plus, Cirrus or Interac branded ATM debit cards.
    – user13044
    Jun 23, 2015 at 15:12

1 Answer 1


You will not have problems to find ATMs in China, the only problem is if your bank card can be used inside ATMs of a specific chinese bank (like Merchants Bank, ICBC, Bank of China).

For example I can use my debit card only at ICBC and Bank of China ATMs, it's not accepted in other banks (also if they display the logo of my debit card)

  • What about Cirrus and Maestro debit cards? any luck with those? Jun 23, 2015 at 10:55
  • my card is Maestro Jun 23, 2015 at 11:00
  • I had the same problem with my secondary card that is a Visa Electron, but I don't recall the not working banks Jun 23, 2015 at 11:10

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