Trans-Bank System Finally Available

China’s bank is always far behind its peers in other countries, while businesses in many other industries are quickly catching up the international standard. I am so bored of waiting in line in Banks in China, no matter it is my least favorite bank, ICBC, or my most favorite bank, China Merchant Bank.

In 2004, I was happy to see Cross Bank Money Transfer Now Possible. However, at that time, it was via a middle-man called Central Bank announced that a trans-bank system for small-amount money is finally launched. That is very good news for me.

Before this, if you want to move, let’s say, 10,000 RMB from Bank A to Bank B, basically there are just two ways: A) cash, or B) a special bank note called “Benpiao” (I don’t know the English name). The second choice takes at least 30 minutes for the bank A to create for you. The first choice is my favorite, although sometimes I have to carry a large amount of paper (cash) and run from one bank to another. Not to mention the time needed to count and verify the money.

The New System

With the new Trans-Bank system, people can withdraw money or deposit money from one bank at the counter of another bank. Currently, only 14 banks (branches) in Beijing offer this service. This is the name list:

  • ICBC – Industry and Commercial Bank of China
  • Agriculture Bank
  • Bank of China
  • Construction Bank
  • Bank of Constructions
  • Everbright Bank
  • Huaxia Bank
  • Minsheng Bank
  • Shenzhen Development Bank
  • Xingye Bank
  • Pudong Development Bank
  • Bank of Beijing
  • Beijing Rural Commercial Bank


It does not happens automatically. You have to

  • Go to the bank where you opened the bank account.
  • Verify your identity with the bank and sign an agreement with the bank.
  • You will be given a 12 digits special account number.

Then you can use this 12 digits number to access your bank account in other participating banks.


Many of them charges 1% of handling fee with minimum fee of 10 RMB and maximum of 200 RMB per transaction. The fees charged are different between banks.

My two cents

I welcome this service very much. Recently the long lines in many banks have reached ridiculous level. It is not surprising to get a number with 100 – 200 people waiting before you, and it is not rare to spend the whole morning waiting inline just to get a transaction done. Many of the transaction can only be handled on counter (like claim lose of a card or get a new card). Hopefully with this service, we can cut many of the lines in half in the next few years, although this regulation introduced a new need for people to line-up in banks in the recent months – to sign the contract.

Disclaimer: As I stated, this service is only offered in Beijing, so I didn’t personally tried the service. Hopefully when it is opened in Shanghai, I will try it and report back later.

11 thoughts on “Trans-Bank System Finally Available

  1. Pretty interesting. Everyone I know recommends CMB, and I have a CMB account. What is your #2 option for RMB accounts, and what bank has the best English customer service and Ebanking? (I’m not fluent so using CMB ebanking in Chinese is a way for me to learn humility). This would be useful for foreigners moving to China.

  2. ever heard of the “cheque-ing” system? where you can issue a “cheque” from one bank and deposit it into another, or maybe personal cheques do not exist in the PRC.

  3. With the advent of foreign banks in China, would you consider opening up accounts with them since you are probably a high net worth customer?

    Since moving to Hong Kong, I’ve found HSBC to be the best bank I’ve ever used and I’ve used banks in China, Canada and the US. Highly recommended.

  4. Hmm, with a 1% fee on the total transaction amount, unless those rates are made more affordable to the middle-to-lower class, you’ll still see (& possibly be in) those line-ups …

  5. fyi, Bank of China doesn’t have English language option for their credit card telephone service… bad… there are lots of other banks do better than them… sigh…

  6. Does anyone know where the China Construction Bank branches are in Shanghai? I”m living in Changning and supposedly Bank of America lets you use China Construction Bank ATMs for free to access your Bank of America account. I really would like to know if anyone has used the Bank of America branches in Shanghai or if those are only for corporate. Thanks

  7. A friend of mine just transferred money from Shanghai to her cousin in Guangxi through the ATM… looks like this process has improved a lot since Jianshuo’s post.

    She also signed up for a 金卡 that she says will allow her to withdraw money outside Shanghai, where she lives, without any processing fees. I don’t think it’s a credit card, more like some kind of bank ATM card. Do you know of it?

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