Financial Information

Access to Funds while in the USA

Make sure that you have some USD cash on hand upon arrival. It is not easy to exchange RMB to USD when you are in the USA and the exchange rate may not be as good as at the banks in China. But it’s recommended not to carry an excessive amount of cash, as it may require reporting. For more specific information, please refer to U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.


Using Chinese debit cards or credit cards to make purchases in the USA. It is best to have more than one card in case the card that is drawn from the Chinese bank is not widely accepted in the USA. You may be required to show your photo ID when making purchases by credit card. Your Georgia Tech Buzzcard is a photo ID and should be acceptable to vendors.

You may want to apply for a dual-currency (RMB & USD) Visa or Mastercard in China.

Official 银联 (UnionPay) website

You may be able to withdraw cash from certain US bank ATMs using your 银联借记卡:

You may be able to make purchases using your 银联借记卡 on any POS (point-of-sale) machine with a PIN pad. For example, at IKEA, Publix, Wal-Mart, Kroger, etc.

You may be able to make purchases using your 银联信用卡 at most vendors that accept credit cards.

Sales tax

In the State of Georgia, sales tax is 1.5% for groceries and 4-9% for other items in most counties. Since there is not a Value added tax (VAT) or goods and services tax (GST) in the USA, don’t expect to receive a tax-refund when you leave the USA. Duty-free shopping is available at the Atlanta Airport International Terminal. If you buy perfume, cream, lotion, etc at the duty-free shop, please inquire whether you will be allowed to bring them onto the plane or through security at any transit airport since there are strict limits on liquid, gel, and lotions that are brought onboard due to security regulations.