As I mentioned in this post, it is very convenient to use Discover card in China because you can use it through UnionPay (银联)network which is the major credit/debit card system in China.

Today I am going to try to find out how good is the exchange rate if I do that.

Here are some history data from Bank of China website:


And here are some actual spending I did in China last month.

Date BOC USD-CNY rate BOC CNY-USD rate Discover CNY-USD rate Nominal Rate Diff CNY USD Effective Rate Effective vs Nominal
6-Jul 6.1642 0.162227053 0.1613221 -0.558% 370 59.69 0.161324324 0.001%
12-Jul 6.1469 0.162683629 0.1614625 -0.751% 118.6 19.15 0.161467116 0.003%
21-Jul 6.1547 0.162411486 0.1614443 -0.596% 590 95.25 0.161440678 -0.002%
21-Jul 6.1547 0.162411486 0.1614443 -0.596% 110 17.76 0.161454545 0.006%
28-Jul 6.1622 0.162279705 0.1618393 -0.271% 298.1 48.24 0.161824891 -0.009%

We can see that the nominal exchange rate from Discover card statement is even slightly LOWER than the buy/sell medium price from BOC website. The difference is within 1%, but hey it is good. Because it means that when you spend the same amount of CNY in China, you need to pay back less USD.

The swiping experience is good for all the transactions I tried. I swiped it in some clinic in Beijing, bought something in gift shop in a small tourist city, at Walmart in another small city. All went through smoothly. They will ask you to enter pin number, just the press the Green buttom and it will work.

Good luck, happy swiping in China.

How Good Is The Exchange Rate When Using Discover Card In China
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