Why Fudan University Only Accept Cash

Edwin spent 5 days reading this blog to prepare for his/her jouney to Shanghai for short term language program at Fudan University, but still have some questions to ask. Among them, this one is particularly interesting:

Fudan says I have to pay the tuition (4000rmb) in cash (why cash?) — my question is since i have to change such a large sum of money and walk around with it in my pocket, is it safe? Is it better to exchange money at the airport or would I get a better exchange rate within the city? Do banks take traveller’s checks or should I use cash? — I find this uncomfortable as I never carry that much cash here in my daily life so it’s weird for me…

Haha. I can understand how confusing Edwin is to bring big amount of cash in an unfamiliar environment.

It is Common

Cash is still the most widely accepted payment methods. Credit cards are widely accepted by services with better margin – restaurants, bars, shopping malls, many places still does not accept credit card. Even KFC, McDonald’s and PizzaHut does not accept credit cards in China.

Universities are among the slower mover in terms of commerical usage. I still remember the time when thousands of students carrying cash and waited in line to handin the tuition. This situation was changed in the year 1998 in Shanghai Jiao Tong University, when SJTU joined effort with ICBC (Industry and Commerical Bank of China) to issue debet cards to students.

However, it was wired at that year that when I deposited my 3000 RMB into the card, the university get the money out of my bank account without my approval. I believe this won’t happen today.

For short-term study, it is very common that they only accept cash. There is nothing strong here. So just accept it. :-)

Carrying Cash on the Street?

I don’t think anyone would say it is safe to carry large amount of cash on the street. So won’t I. But carrying cash is the only way to do that, my best suggestion is be careful. 4000 RMB is not that huge in Shanghai – many people take much more than that. It was because Cross Bank Money Transfer was not easy before some tools were put into use.

If you can choose, I suggest you to get the cash from a bank (Bakn of China) near Fudan University. You may ask where you can find the bank after you get to Fudan. To exchange at the airport is another option, but there is no discount to do that.

I have no idea about traveller’s check. It is not a common concept for people here, but I believe banks may accepted, or NOT. Check with your bank first. Citibank are here with a lot of ATM machines. You may ask their branches to get more information.

Wish you a safe trip (with the cash).

P.S. Found my picture in the Esquire magazine 2006.02 issue. It is a group photo occupying two full pages. I am not a fashion fun, and didn’t know what Esquire is. Is it a big brand in U.S? I guess so because many said Esquire is big. The Chinese version is named Shi Shang Xian Sheng (or translated as Fashionable Men).

17 thoughts on “Why Fudan University Only Accept Cash

  1. Edwin, we had the same worries, rented an apartment in Xujiahui

    in November and cashed 15700rmb (around $1900) in a Bank of China branch in traveller’s checks to pay the rent. We were told that they gave the best rate for traveller’s checks. We were also told that Shanghai people don’t like to carry credit cards because if they are stolen it is a lot of trouble to stop them, but with cash, well it’s gone and that’s the end of it. No more trouble. Interesting perspective. Anyhow, Shanghai is probably a lot safer than most places in the US, probably because there are so many people walking around with more money than you have.

  2. I took some U.S. Dollars when travelling, but in Hong Kong and Macau, I used my ATM card regularly at Bank of America ATMs without any problem at all. (I honestly don’t remember if I used the ATM card in Shanghia or just took enough cash.)

    Also, make sure the U.S. Dollars are brand new $100s only. Neither Citibank nor BOA would change $20s or $50s, and one of the $100s with a crease required a manager’s approval.

  3. I never had any trouble cashing traveler’s cheques (American Express U.S. currency) at Bank of China branches, in any city. Some small branches do not take them, but they will direct you to the nearest branch that will. There should be no problem in Shanghai.

  4. I suggest you to get the cash from bank.

    many bank can change the dollar to RMB.(such as bank of china,CHINA MERCHANTS BANK,rate 8.1)


  5. *Here’s a bank nearby the campus:

    Bank name: Bank of China, Shanghai Branch Guoding Rd. Sub-Branch

    Address: NO.290 Guoding Rd., Shanghai, China

    *How you can get there:

    Walk out of the Entrance and go eastward along Handan Rd. to Guoding Rd. (100 metres or so), and then turn rightward to keep on walking southward along Guoding Rd. until you see the bank on the left side of the road (another 100M), it’s opposite to the New Oriental School.

  6. Esquire is an old and well-respected men’s magazine in the States, not hyper-trendy, more directed to older men than young guys. It’s something that women might read as well — it might have a few pictures of pretty actresses but it isn’t one of those semi-porn kind of men’s magazines. At least I don’t think it is now; I haven’t read it in a long time, but it was a favorite magazine of my former boss, and we once surprised him on his birthday by making a fake issue with him on the cover — back in the days before Photoshop and scanners so that we had to physically cut and paste pictures of him into it! So anyway, it’s a good magazine to be in, Jian Shuo.

  7. “Even KFC, McDonald’s and PizzaHut does not accept credit cards in China.”

    It’s kind of funny you emphasize this as the point of ‘degree’, when in fact I think it is only within the past 1 or 2 years that fast food joints in the US have begun to accept credit cards. Also gas stations and video stores in the US HATE them — it kills the profit on low-cost items (like a $1.00 5-night movie rental) when they lose $.25 processing to the credit card company. I had thought this was the reason they are unpopular in China — a 2 kuai fee on purchases that are going to average probably 1/5th or 1/10th the average transaction dollar value in the US is just unacceptable.

  8. even in the uk, universities won’t accept credit card unless you agree to pay extra 2.5% handling fee. the most common way is to pay be cheque, but such service is not avaliable for individuals in china

  9. this is such a good information for me.

    becuase i am thinking of going to a university for a langauage program in shanghai this year.

    i know an aquaintance working for the bank of china there.

    i may go to the fudan university you said that is near the bank.

    hope i will get in touch with you to talk to .


  10. As you aware, there are a lot new readers after 10 July .

    I am one of them, after reading Zaobao world cup coverage. i found this article, introduce about your blog. I cut the URL address and paste it into the address bar and it bring me to here.

    Your blog had keep me busy for the past three day night. I really enjoy it. You really make an impression.

    I like Shanghai very much and i am planning to come over very soon. Probably get a job and settle down.

    I start blogging since this april. But was on and off, but a bit discourage with the numbers of people reading my blog.

    anyway, keep on with the good work and best wishes to you.

    by the way, can you email me. i have some personal thing would like to ask you. if you don’t mind.

  11. Welcome, cupcake. Sorry this comment was put into Junk comments in my MT system, since it reported the IP address you posted from was listed by a spamer database. Anyway, I recovered your comment in time.

    Yes. Zaobao brought many readers to my site. Welcome everyone. I don’t prefer emails due to the large amount of emails I get. If you do think I can help, drop an email to jianshuo at hotmail dot com.

  12. 4000 is not a big amount for most Chinese. The financial system is also different than most western countries, specially for individuals. Don’t worry of that, it’s safe when u carry that cash in China, but do not handle it in ur hand when u r walking in street, haha. common sense in everywhere.

  13. China need a 1000 RMB Note. HK has 1000 HKD note. 4000RMB, you would just carry 4 piece of paper compared to 40x 100RMB.

    Which is alot of paper. I hope they will adopt that soon.

  14. China needs to issue 500 RMB or 1000 RMB notes. Although, If and when they do maybe can do without Mao’s Pic!

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