🇨🇳 Monzo in China [Discussion]

Hello Everyone!

I am traveling to Asia(Mainly China and Hong Kong) next couple weeks. Any one knows about the cash withdrawal on Chinese ATM? Will it works and any withdraw fees? I only read about people traveling to Europe and withdraw cash without charging withdrawal fee though, so just wondering :slight_smile:

Thanks :smile:

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There are no fees for using :monzo: abroad. I went to Malaysia and there were some issues about magnetic strip cash machines not accepting your :monzo: card as the pre paid cards are chip and pin only (I think) but no idea what they use in China. But there aren’t any fees for using abroad or taking out of cash machines.


You should be fine in Hong Kong but mainland China is more problematic. Very few ATMs accept non UnionPay cards. Finding one that will take MasterCard can be difficult even in major cities and nigh on impossible elsewhere. I would recommend buying most of your Yuan before you travel for this reason unless you can find some solid info on locations of working ATMs.

This is my experience of China anyway.

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I would take out cash at the airport in China using your Mondo card - the machines there are the most likely to support foreign cards

Little updates: Most of merchants in China only accept unionPay. Very few accept foreign bank cards, as far as I know only “OK store” (similar to 7-Eleven) accepts Visa and MasterCard :frowning:

Luckily almost all ATM will take Monzo(Also Visa/MasterCard) by reading magnectic stripe. Less secure but cash withdrawal won’t be a problem! :smiley:

Hi Cirxxd, I just wanted to check that you used your Monzo card in China and it was ok in mag stripe only ATMs? I want to use it as my main way to get currency there, but am not sure if this is going to work or not. Help would be appreciated!

Hi timb! I only used my card on the ATMs located in big shopping malls, which are likely to accept foreign cards.

When I put my card In, select “Credit Card” option and it said something like “Failed to read from chip & pin, do you want to use magnectic stripe” then Yes!

That just my experience in Guangzhou, where has quite a few foreign bank branches. But alway exchange some Yuan as back up for sure.


Hi Cirxxd, that’s great! Thanks so much for your help. I will try and get some out in the airport when I arrive and then shopping malls from then. I’m also going to Guangzhou so that’s good to know.

Thanks for your help!

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Someone has now created a separate entry for the Hong Kong SAR in China (中華人民共和國香港特別行政區) under “Monzo in Hong Kong”

Travelling to China in April, and intending to spend quite a bit of time in Tibet. Does anyone have any experience of using Monzo there?

The only bank I could withdraw cash from in China was ICBC. They have a branch locator on their website. Bring cash with you as a backup.


Thanks for sharing this! Just to check - did you have Magstripe withdrawals enabled?

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I didn’t even spot a magnetic swipe reader at the ATM, it seemed to be only chip & pin.
I didn’t have the mag swipe reader enabled.


While at a POS terminal the magstrip is swiped down a separate grove at the side while chip and pin cards are inserted in a slot, at ATMs it is not apparent from externally as both magstrip and chip cards are inserted in the same slot and a PIN is used for both. Without a knowledge of which makes and models of ATM work on chip and pin and which on magstrip the only way to guess is based on the region you are in, age of machine, and if it a bank machine or independent. It is therefore easier just to activate magstrip usage if while travelling you have an issue with a machine

So I recently returned to UK after spending a few weeks in China. I had some issues withdrawing cash at first but after chatting with the support guys (who were very helpful) they re-verified my account and I was able to withdraw cash with no problems.

Using the card was more of an issue. Initially I was in Wuhan where everytime I tried the card it was rejected. Interestingly there was never a notification on the app which made me think they were not processing the card correctly. Retailers always inserted the card, and I would enter my pin and then fail :frowning:

For the second part of the trip I was in Shanghai and this was a different story. This time when I handed the card over, retailers spotted it was not a UnionPay card and pressed some keys on the card machine before inserting it. I would then enter my pin, wait a second and success payment authorised :smile:

I suspect had retailers in Wuhan done the same, it would have worked fine there too. Hopefully on a return visit I can find out.

So as great as Monzo is, one of the increasing ways to pay in China is using WeChat Pay, it’s accepted everywhere from restaurants, shops and even street traders. The down side you need a UnionPay or Chinese debit card to upload cash. I tried Monzo and other traditional Credit Cards but WeChat does not allow you to upload cash from a credit card. After catching up with a friend in China, I found out you can be sent money to WeChat using Red Packets, so after giving him some cash, he transferred a red packet to me and that helped buying things, cash and hassle free.

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Hey @luc, I recently returned from Wuhan as well, and I can confirm they don’t accept ANY card other than Union Pay. They tried all the inserting and typing they could, but to no avail.

Like you, I found Shanghai, was more accepting of MasterCard and Visa.

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Just got back from Shanghai and man was Monzo a dream! No fees, instant report of cost in GBP, friendly ‘welcome to china, the exchange rate is xxx’ message. And the exchange rate was legit!

Also love the ‘categorise transactions as holiday’ feature.

Monzo if I could marry a beta-cash-card-cum-almost-bank it would be you.


I’m currently in Beijing and after a few false starts I’m having more luck with my Monzo card now.

I have been able to withdraw cash at

  • Citibank ATMs
  • China Merchants Bank ATMs

Bars and restaurants often frequented with westerners have generally accepted my Monzo card.


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I spent 10 days in Beijing and Xi’an in May 2017 and used my Monzo card throughout, both for withdrawing cash from ATM’s (refused once but I used the app to change the mag stripe settings) and to pay hotel bills.

The app came into its own when, annoyingly and stupidly, my partner was pickpocketed on the subway. Within minutes he had frozen his Monzo card via the app so the thieves’ attempts to use the card to the tune of £2k were thwarted.

Plus, the reassurance of someone to talk to via the app was invaluable. I cannot recommend using Monzo abroad highly enough.



I’m currently in Chengdu, China and can’t connect either the Monzo or CA apps. In addition, ATM withdrawals have been declined. I have magstripe enabled and the ATM had the MasterCard logo.

The app says “we couldn’t establish a secure connection to Monzo, please ensure you have the latest app or contact us”.

Any ideas?


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