Chinese RMB Savings Account at Bank of China!

About a month ago I saw the headlines: Bank of China now offering Chinese Renminbi (RMB), also known as the Yuan, savings accounts right here in the USA. Given that only a handful of branches in the US offers those accounts, the Chinatown New York branch was open yesterday, and I happen to live in Manhattan, I had to go and check it out.

When I arrived on Sunday afternoon, I found a branch packed with 6 Bank of China employees racing to open RMB accounts for a waiting crowd of almost entirely Chinese customers. Opening these accounts is definitely the hot thing!

I recap my experience in the following video:

The details are as follows (I know the list is long, but I had alot of questions!):

  • You must open two accounts, one USD account and one RMB account
  • Each account must have a $500 minimum balance
  • You must deposit USD funds into your USD bank account, then request a RMB conversion
  • To request the conversion, you must either visit the branch or physically mail in an exchange request form
  • It takes 1-2 business days to convert the money to RMB
  • The RMB savings account currently pays .17% interest (in China they are currently paying ~2.75%!)
  • To exchange the RMB back to USD, you must also submit a request personally or through the mail
  • You cannot bring physical Yuan notes to the bank and deposit them nor may you withdraw Yuan notes
  • To make a USD deposit, you must visit the branch and see the teller
  • You do not get an ATM card with the account
  • Online banking is available for both the USD and RMB accounts to view your funds

To open the account you need:

  • Drivers license
  • A second form of ID. They suggested either a credit card or your passport
  • Social Security card

Those are the basic details of the account. There are two branches currently in Manhattan, one in Midtown and one in Chinatown.  I went to the branch in Chinatown and dealt with Miss Sylvia Chan. Give her a call at 212-925-2355 x821 if you have questions

Conclusion:

Given you have to physically submit a form to convert from USD -> RMB and back, plus it only pays .17% interest, its defiintely an interesting option, but not quite ready for prime time yet.

If you have any other experiences with opening RMB accounts, please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!