In Tibet, you still use Chinese Yuan 'RMB', pronounced Ren Min Bi. But in Tibet people don't use coins as other big cities in China.
In Tibet, bank of China is the only place to change foreign currency and travellers' cheques. Some 4 or five star hotels provide currency exchange service for the hotel guests. The rate is base on the current cash buying rate published by bank of China. It is wise to estimate the total amount of the money you need in Tibet and change all the money in Lhasa. The other places where you can change money are Shigatse, Zhangmu and Purang. If you are travelling in small towns or countryside, try to exchange your cash into small denominations. Big cash like 100RMB or 50RMB is sometimes difficult to get rid of in rural area of Tibet.
Using Credit Cards
Credit cards is a convenient payment method in Lhasa, but do not work well in other cites in Tibet. Most of the four star, five star even 3 star hotels in Lhasa accept credit card, and usually ask you to pay 3-4% extra bank charge. The Lhasa branch of Bank of China is the only bank in Tibet provides credit card advances. You can get cash by ATM of bank of China with a 3% commission and withdraw at most RMB2000 cash.
Keep some small change
Keep some small change like 0.1, 0.2 or 0.5RMB, called 1, 2 or 5 Mao with you, and donate them to the beggar by the street.
In the past, there have been reports of travellers receiving counterfeit money as change for large bills. It is recommended you carry small bills (RMB 10, 20 and 50) to reduce your risk of getting into trouble. For further information on how to reduce your risk on various types of scams, please contact Tibettravel.org any time.
Where ATMs are available
In Lhasa, Shigatse, Tsedang, Baiyi, Lhatse, Zhangmu, Saga, you can use your bank card to withdraw money when necessary, but it is better to prepare enough cash for the trip in Lhasa as the ATMs in small cities sometimes do not work. Besides, the number of ATMs are quite few in small cities, for example, there is only one ATMs in Lhatse, in case it is out of work, you cannot find alternative.
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