Banking is annoying anywhere, and it is even more so in China for the Shanghai expat.
First tip: Go with ICBC. Setting up an account with ICBC is relatively quick and you only need your passport and temporary residence permit.
They give you an ATM card which cannot be used overseas.
Make sure that on setting up, you pay the extra 2 RMB to link the card to your phone number. Then you get texts on payments and withdrawals.
Tip Two: Always take your passport into a bank. No matter what you want to do, you will need your passport.
Three: It sounds obvious, but don’t go to the bank at lunch time. People here like to have elongated conversations with the bank clerks. It is ridiculously slow. Queues build in the middle of the day.
Set up your WeChat Wallet right away. This is very, very easy. Just find the Wallet in your WeChat and tap the obvious buttons. The tip here is you will need to check with your bank about your exact name on the account after it is set up.
This is true for WeChat Wallet and ALL PAYMENTS YOU NEED TO RECEIVE.
Your name on the account may end up at all one word, all CAPS or some CAPS, backwards … anything is possible. So check the EXACT name on the account to get paid by people and set up WeChat Wallet.
Can foreigners get credit cards in China? No.
HSBC in Shanghai are the most ‘international’ option, but you need very high depositing amounts or monthly payments in.