The 6 Best Travel Money Cards for China

Claire Millard
Ileana Ionescu
Last updated
29 May 2023

If you’re travelling to China, a dedicated travel money card can make spending and withdrawing Chinese yuan cheaper and more convenient. Different types of travel money cards are available to suit different customer needs, including travel debit cards, prepaid travel cards and travel credit cards. The right one for you will depend on your personal preference and how you like to manage your money.

Keep reading for all you need to know, including a closer look at travel money card types, some great options to consider, and the sorts of fees you need to think about when you choose.

Wise - travel debit card for China

Before we get into details about different travel money card options, let’s start with the Wise card as a versatile option for a travel money debit card that allows you to hold and spend not only CNY but also a diverse range of other currencies.

Wise accounts can hold and exchange 50+ currencies, and you can get a linked Wise card for a one time delivery fee. Top up your account in pounds and switch to CNY before you travel, so you know your travel money budget in advance - or if you’d prefer, you can simply allow the card to automatically switch currencies as and when you need it. All currency conversion uses the mid-market exchange rate, with low fees from 0.41%.

Go to Wise

Here are some of the pros and cons of the Wise travel money debit card, to help you decide if it’s right for you.


  • Hold and exchange 50+ currencies alongside CNY

  • No fee to spend any currency you hold, low conversion fees from 0.41%

  • Mid market exchange rate on all currency conversion

  • Some fee free ATM withdrawals every month

  • No ongoing fees and no interest to pay


What is a travel money card?

A travel money card can be used for payments online and in stores, and for cash withdrawals, just like your regular bank card can be. However, with a travel money card you’ll find the features and fees have been optimised for international use. That might mean you get a better exchange rate compared to using your normal card overseas, or that you run into fewer fees. Some travel cards also have options to earn cashback and rewards when you use your card internationally.

6 travel money cards for China compared

We’ll look at each of these card options in a little more detail in just a moment, but let’s start with an overview of how 6 top travel money cards for China compare side by side:

ProviderTypeDelivery feeChina ATM feeInterest ratePOS feesExchange rate
WiseDebit 7 GBP order fee;  12 GBP express deliveryMonthly fee withdrawal after reaching a limitNot applicableFree to spend any currency you hold, currency conversion from 0.41%Mid-market rate
RevolutDebit Variable fee based on location and account tierSome free withdrawals every month based on account tier, low fees after thatNot applicableCurrency conversion when spending free to plan limit, 0.5% fee after thatMid-market rate to plan limit, 0.5% fee after that
Post OfficeDebit Variable fee based on location15 CNYNot applicableFree to spend any currency you hold,  3% fee if you spend an unsupported currency Mastercard rate 
MoneseDebit Variable fee based on account tierSome free withdrawals every month based on account tier, low fees after thatNot applicable2% for Simple account holders, fee may be waived for higher account tiersMastercard rate + 2% (fee may be waived for higher account tiers)
BarclaysCreditNo feeCash withdrawal interest rate will be charged25.9% variableNo feeVisa rate
HalifaxCreditNo feeCash withdrawal interest rate will be chargedVariable rates, confirmed after eligibility checkNo feeMastercard rate

As you can see, the features and fees of different travel money cards can vary widely. Generally travel debit cards can be convenient and cost effective to use, while travel credit cards often come with nice benefits like cashback or rewards - but do mean you might need to pay interest costs and late payment charges if you don’t clear your bill in full every month.

Travel debit cards often let you top up a linked account online or through an app, so you can set your budget and can’t spend more than you intend. Travel credit cards on the other hand let you spend to your card limit, and then repay the amount over a few months if you’d prefer to. Which is best for you will come down to how you like to manage your money - we’ll dive into a few more details about each card type, next.

What are different types of travel cards?

UK customers can get a travel money card from either a regular bank or a specialist provider, which may be a travel debit card, travel prepaid card or a travel credit card. Let’s take a closer look at what each travel money card type is, and pick out a couple of good card options, so you can compare and choose.

1. Travel debit cards

2. Travel prepaid cards

3. Travel credit cards

1. Travel Debit Cards

Specialist providers typically offer travel debit cards with linked digital accounts that let you maintain and convert a currency balance. CNY isn’t always a supported currency for holding - but you’ll still be able to use your card to spend in China, often with a better rate than you’ll get from a bank. Although these cards have distinct features, they're typically simple to top up online and via an app, allowing you to monitor your balance and receive transaction notifications on your phone. This feature makes it easy to keep track of your finances, even while you're travelling.

Travel debit card Option 1: Wise

Wise is our best value travel money debit card for China. There’s no fee to open a Wise account, and just a small delivery fee for your Wise card, with no minimum balance and no monthly charge. You just pay low Wise fees from 0.41% when you convert currencies, and transparent ATM withdrawal fees when you exhaust the monthly free transactions available with your account.

  • No fee to open a Wise account, no minimum balance requirement

  • 7 GBP one time fee to get your Wise card

  • 2 withdrawals, to 200 GBP value per month for free, then 0.5 GBP + 1.75%

  • Hold CNY and 50+ other currencies, convert between them with the mid-market rate

Click here to read a full Wise review

Go to Wise

Travel debit card Option 2: Revolut

Revolut has a selection of different account tiers, so you can simply pick the account you prefer - from free Standard plans to the 12.99 GBP/month Metal plan. All Revolut accounts have linked cards, although exactly what type of card you get depends on your account tier. With Revolut you can hold around 25 currencies - but CNY isn’t a supported currency for holding. However, this can still be a strong pick as you can simply top up your account in pounds and convert to CNY when you spend with your card, with the mid-market rate to your plan’s allowance.

  • No fee to open a Standard Revolut account, or upgrade for up to 12.99 GBP/month

  • Card delivery fees may apply depending on your account tier

  • All accounts have some fee free currency conversion with 0.5% fair usage fees after that

  • Standard plan holders can withdraw 200 GBP (up to 5 withdrawals in total) per month for free

  • Hold around 25 currencies including GBP (CNY not supported for holding and exchange)

Pros and cons of using debit travel cards in China


  • No interest costs or late payment fees

  • Real-time currency holding and exchange options available

  • Digital top-up, management, and account viewing features

  • Safe to use as they're not connected to your primary UK bank account

  • Issued on widely-used global payment networks


  • Transaction and currency conversion fees may apply

  • Cash back and rewards may not be available

Click here to read a full Revolut review

How to choose the best travel debit card for China?

The best travel debit card for China really depends on your personal preferences and how you like to manage your money. If you’ll be travelling widely it makes sense to look for an account with mid-market currency exchange and a large selection of supported currencies as well as CNY, like Wise. Other providers like Revolut can also be a good pick, particularly if you’ll use your account very frequently and would prefer to pay a monthly fee to unlock lots of fee free transactions and extra perks. While you can’t hold CNY in a Revolut account, you can still spend in CNY with your card, and you might get a better rate than your bank can offer.

Is there a spending limit with a travel debit card in China?  

Different providers set their own limits for card use. Limits may apply daily, weekly or monthly, and can apply to different types of transactions. You might find you have a limit to the amount of ATM withdrawals you can make per day, for example, or the value of contactless payments - these limits are set for security and can sometimes be managed and changed in the provider’s app.

2. Prepaid Travel Cards

With a prepaid travel card you’ll need to order a card and add funds in the supported currency of your choice. Once you have a balance you may then be able to switch to the currency you need, to pay merchants and make cash withdrawals. While prepaid travel cards are usually issued on large global networks - and can therefore be used pretty widely - not all cards support all currencies, so you may find you pay a foreign transaction fee if you pick a card which doesn’t support all the currencies you use.

Prepaid travel card option 1: Post Office

You can pick up a Post Office prepaid travel money card in a Post Office branch or order one online. You’ll then be able to top up in pounds or one of the 22 supported currencies, which includes CNY. If you hold CNY in your account there’s no fee to spend when you’re in China, but if you don’t have a CNY balance - or if your CNY balance isn’t high enough for the transaction, you’ll pay a 3% foreign transaction fee.

  • Hold and exchange 22 currencies including CNY

  • No fee to spend a balance in a supported currency

  • 3% foreign transaction fee when spending a currency you don’t hold on the card

  • Variable ATM withdrawal fees - 15 CNY for use in China

  • No interest to pay

Click here to read a full Post Office review

Go to Post Office

Prepaid travel card option 2: Monese

Monese accounts can be opened by UK residents to hold GBP, EUR and RON. There are several different types of accounts, from the Simple account which has no monthly fees, to fee paying account tiers which have more features. It’s free to spend a balance you hold - but as CNY isn’t a supported currency, you may find you pay a foreign transaction fee of 2% when you’re spending in China. Foreign transaction fees may be waived for higher tier account holders.

  • Hold a balance in GBP, EUR or RON

  • Choose a free Simple account, or upgrade to an account with monthly fees

  • Foreign transaction fees of 2% may apply depending on your account tier

  • ATM withdrawal fees may apply, depending on the value of withdrawals and the account tier you hold

  • Track and spend Avios reward points within your account

Go to Monese

Pros and cons of using prepaid travel cards in China


  • Manage your account, add more money or convert funds online or with an app

  • Accounts with no monthly fees are available

  • Selection of supported currencies, with no fee to spend a currency you hold

  • ATM withdrawals supported globally

  • Some accounts have extras like options to earn reward points


  • CNY may not be a supported currency

  • Transaction fees apply to most accounts

How to choose the best travel prepaid card for China?

There’s no single best travel prepaid card for China - it’ll come down to your personal preference. If you hold a Monese Classic or Premium account already it’s good to know that the 2% foreign transaction fee is waived, which means you get the card network rate when you spend in China. This may be cheaper than using your regular bank card. The Post Office card can also be a strong pick as you can hold a CNY balance, which you can spend for free, plus you can get a card instantly by walking into a Post Office branch.

Is there a spending limit with a prepaid card in China?

Different prepaid travel cards set their own limits for spending and withdrawals, which can  vary between currencies. You’ll need to check your card’s terms and conditions carefully to make sure you pick a provider which suits your needs.

3. Travel Credit Cards

Travel credit cards typically offer some extra international features compared to regular credit cards, such as low or no foreign transaction fees or extra options to earn rewards when you’re abroad. In general, travel credit cards are safe and convenient but can be more expensive compared to using a debit card option. Before you select the right card for you it’s important to check the fees, rates, eligibility rules and interest rates which apply, so you can make sure it’s a good fit for you.

Travel credit card option 1: Barclaycard Rewards Visa

With the Barclaycard Rewards Visa card, there are no international ATM or foreign transaction fees. Instead, your overseas expenses are converted to pounds at the Visa exchange rate and added to your monthly statement. To avoid fees and interest, you’ll need to repay your balance in full each month, but as a bonus you can earn cashback on your everyday expenditures.

  • No foreign transaction or foreign ATM fee

  • Earn cashback at 0.25% on spending

  • Protection on purchases over 100 GBP

  • International spending uses the Visa exchange rate

  • Variable interest rates which apply if you don’t pay off your bill in full

Travel credit card option 2: Halifax Clarity Mastercard

The Halifax Clarity Mastercard has a variable interest rate which you can see when you check your eligibility for the card. There’s no foreign transaction or foreign ATM fee to pay, and all currency conversion uses the Mastercard exchange rate.

  • Variable interest rates

  • Check your eligibility and order a card online easily

  • No foreign transaction fee

  • No ATM fee - but interest will accrue instantly when you make a withdrawal

  • Mastercard exchange rates apply

Pros and cons of using credit cards in China


  • Spending more than 100 GBP covered by additional consumer protection

  • Option to pay for travel expenses over multiple months

  • Check card eligibility online without affecting your credit score

  • Potentially no foreign transaction or ATM fees

  • Network exchange rates usually apply, which are usually pretty fair


  • Interest charged if you don’t repay in full every month

  • Eligibility rules apply

How to choose the best travel credit card for China?

The best travel credit card for China will depend on your personal preferences. If you’re interested in earning rewards and cash back on your overseas spending, the Barclaycard Rewards Visa might be a good pick, as it has no foreign transaction fee and offers cashback on all spending. Whichever card you’re considering you’ll want to weigh up the potential fees you’ll need to pay against the rewards you can earn to make sure it’s worthwhile.


If you’re planning to travel to China you might want to pick a travel money card for while you’re away. Travel money cards have different features, and can be picked up via regular banks, online specialists and even the Post Office.

Not all travel cards support CNY, so you’ll need to check out the fees and features of a few to pick the right one for you. For example, you could opt for a low cost travel debit card which can hold a selection of currencies including CNY - like the Wise account. Or you might prefer a prepaid travel money card like the Monese card which can be linked to either a fee free account or an account which has monthly fees in exchange for lower transaction charges. Finally, another option is to get a travel credit card either to earn cashback and rewards, or to avoid foreign transaction fees.

The good news is that the UK market is well served for all types of travel money cards - use this guide to start your research and pick the right option for your specific needs.

FAQ - Best travel cards for China

Can you withdraw cash with a credit card in China?

You can usually make cash withdrawals with a credit card in China at any ATM that supports your card network. You’ll often find that a fee applies, and you may start to accumulate interest on the withdrawn amount immediately. Travel money debit cards from providers like Wise and Revolut can be a lower cost option for cash withdrawals in CNY.

Can I use a debit card in China?

You can normally use your debit card anywhere you see the card network’s logo displayed. Visa and Mastercard networks are very well supported globally, including in China, making these good options to look out for when you pick your travel debit card for China.

Are prepaid cards safe?

Prepaid cards from reputable providers are safe to use at home and abroad. They aren’t linked to your main bank account which can offer extra peace of mind, and may also make it easier to manage your travel budget. However, you’ll need to check the card features and fees carefully to make sure you're getting the best match for your needs.