ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China)
A foreigner doesn’t need to have a long-term resident permit to open a bank account in China.
As long as you can enter China, you can open a bank account.
What you need are the following:
- Your name
- Your address (address of hotel or where you stay is OK)
- Chinese mobile phone number (use the mobile phone number that is bought in the same province of the bank you go to)
When you go to the bank branch to open a bank account, the officer will call you or send you SMS to certify your mobile phone number.
Then after signed several papers, you get a cash card, which is called “bank card” in China.
You can deposit your money into the account through specific ATM. Usually you can find them in the bank branch.
※Please be noticed that one mobile phone number can not be used to open 2 bank accounts with different holders’ names.
However, owning a Chinese bank account doesn’t mean you can use Wechat pay.
You need internet banking service to use Wechat Pay, so we went to the bank branch again.
We were told that there are 2 kinds of security devices for internet banking.
（1）The one which can do transaction for more than 50,000 RMB costs 70 RMB.
（2）The one which can not do transaction for more than 50,000 RMB is free of charge.
Then set up the 6 digits of code for internet banking service.
Moreover, a paper that another 6-digit code is printed on it was given by the officer. It’s the code for activating the security device.
Then you can go home and activate the security device and sign in to internet banking service by yourself on the internet.
When you go home and turn on the security device, please enter the activation code first. Then just do as it’s indicated on the website of the bank to log in to internet banking service. (certainly, you need to read some Chinese on the website)
※It’s better to activate the security device and sign in to the internet banking service before leaving China.
China Construction Bank
The basic application process is the same.
The password for cash card is 6 digits, and for internet banking it’s 8 digits.
After signed documents, you get a cash card and an USB-style security device (Silver Shield) for internet banking.
Then you can go home and sign in to the internet banking.
In the internet banking service of this bank, you can see the information of your account without the security device, but you need the security device for any transactions.
There is no activation process for the security device in this bank. You just need to insert the USB-style security device into PC and push the confirm button on the device according to the indication on the website of the bank.
ABC (Agricultural Bank of China)
The basic process is still the same.
The different thing is that the password for internet banking service is not set up at the counter, but on a PC next to ATM guided by another officer at the Info counter. The code is 8 digits.
When you sign in to the internet banking service for the first time, you need to set up the software first. On the website of the bank, choose 「個人網銀登錄」（Registration for internet banking） first, then choose 「Ｋ寶首次登錄」（Registration of security device）, and download and install 「網銀安全控件」（Security software）, then also download and install the driver of 「Ｋ寶」（security device）.
Then insert the security device （Ｋ寶） into PC, choose 「證書下載安裝」（Download certificate document and install）, click 「證書下載」（Download certificate）. Then it comes a window for you to enter password. Enter the 8-digit codes for internet banking, then you can log in to the internet banking system.
By the way, most bank branches are very crowded during noon to afternoon. You may wait for more than 1 hour. It’s better to go in early morning or the time just before closing.
Another thing about buying a Chinese mobile phone number: I was cheated!!
I went to a direct shop of China Unicom （太平洋数码一期营业厅徐家汇 通讯营业厅） and I asked the officer to buy a sim card that can call and use internet for 1 week. (I speak Chinese, so the communication was clear). I got the sim card with 200 RMB, but just in a day, the internet is not available anymore.
I felt it very weird and went to another direct shop of China Unicom to check it out. The officer said that I was made a one-year contract and the starting date of the contract is 2 months later!! There is no way to cancel the contract!
The reason why the internet could only be used for one day is because the 200 RMB paid was deducted for internet usage. Then when the money is gone, the internet is stopped.
Everyone, please be cautious!