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The Best Ways to Transfer Money from China

Posted by: Zhorea Garcia
Category: Useful Tips
how to transfer money from China

If you are an expatriate in China, you have probably asked the question about how to transfer or send money from China to another country. Perhaps, you will send money to a loved one or a business partner, make a foreign payment or simply, send your hard-earned money back home before leaving for good. However, China limits how much money you can send out of the country. Nevertheless, there are also steps you can take to transfer more than a daily limit.

Read our previous post about How much money can I bring in and out of China?

If you haven’t figure out the ways on how to send your money out of China, this article is what you are looking for.

Methods to transfer money out of China

Via bank to bank transfer

Bank to bank transfer requires a Chinese bank account. You may need a Chinese local to assist you in dealing with the Chinese bank employees who may be unfamiliar with the wire transfer process. Depending on which bank you opened your account, wiring money directly to a bank account outside China should not be a problem. It may take one to five days to transfer money to an overseas account. However, China banks limit the amount you can transfer to USD 500 unless you can present a proof of your source of income. Foreigners can transfer without a limit if they can provide relevant documents, proving their financial ability to send such funds.

What you will need

For USD 500 or less:
  • Passport with a valid residence visa
  • Bank card and bank account details including account name, account number and the bank’s name and address (for both sender and receiver)
  • SWIFT code or bank identifier code (BIC) of your bank home or the receiver’s bank
For sending without a limit:
  • Passport with a valid resident visa and work permit
  • Bank card and bank account details including account name, account number and the bank’s name and address (for both sender and receiver)
  • Original copy of employment contract with official seal or chop
  • SWIFT code or BIC of your bank home or the receiver’s bank
  • Monthly tax receipts (depends on the amount of transfer)
  • Payroll slips from your company
  • Sufficient funds up to the amount of taxes paid

Take note that sending money via a bank transfer will cost some service charges which vary according to the processing bank. Normally, it will cost about RMB 80 to RMB 150 depending on the amount to be transferred.

Through Western Union or Moneygram

Sending money via a transfer agent such as Western Union or Moneygram is pretty much the same for the bank to bank transfer. However, these agents do not have their outlets or establishments in Mainland China. You can find them in Chinese banks like Bank of China or ICBC. It would be useful to visit Western Union or Moneygram websites to locate banks that can handle this type of transfer.

Using a wire agent’s services is quite convenient if you are sending money with urgency. You can expect the transaction to be completed within 10 minutes and the receiver will be able to get the money in lesser time or within 24 hours. Banks with Western Union or Moneygram also require the same documents for the bank to bank transfer. They also have corresponding service fees depending on the amount of money to be sent. For example, Western Union charges USD 17 for a USD 500 transaction. Take note that this may also vary according to the country of destination.

To avoid problems, make sure to write the receiver’s information correctly as listed in the identification card he or she will present to the agent. Otherwise, the agent will have to withhold your funds until the information matches. After the transaction is completed, you will receive the MTCN (Money Transfer Control Number) which the receiver needs in order to collect the money.

PayPal and other payment options

PayPal is the first foreign company to obtain a digital payment license in China. Using the PayPal Services could be your next option if wire transfer via bank or agent is not viable. However, the fees can be very high. This is because not only PayPal charges fees, but also the bank overseas.

Take note that you will have to open a PayPal account based in China through https://www.paypal.com/cn to link your Chinese bank account and send money. On the other hand, the recipient should also have a PayPal account to generate a PayPal email address. As long as these requirements are satisfied, you can send money to China quickly using PayPal.

There is no limit to how much you can transfer, and it takes about 3 to 4 days before it can reach the recipient.

Other online transfer options include Transferwise and a UnionPay-branded ECARD for U.S. residents.

Use Alipay international transfer

Alipay does have an international transfer function where you can send money directly to an overseas account. However, only Chinese locals will be able to do it for you because it requires a Chinese ID. The transfer is limited to two transactions per day and RMB 30,000 per transfer. The processing time can only be determined by the recipient’s bank. Alipay service fees usually amount to RMB 50 per transfer and like Paypal, the recipient bank will also charge upon receipt.

Despite the viability of this option, Alipay transfer is still subjected to China’s laws. This means that you must present proof of your source of income and taxes that have been paid on the money. Furthermore, it won’t be that easy to find a trusted person to do personal transactions on your behalf.

China’s limit on its currency

Sending a huge amount of money from China to an overseas account will face restrictions due to China’s tight control of its capital account. The Chinese governmetn is taking a serious step  to protect the country’s foreign exchange reserves and the yuan exchange rate. Therefore, you can experience limitations in the amount you are sending and even the cash you are withdrawing out of China. For instance, in 2018, China has lowered the daily limit on U.S. dollar withdrawals from USD 5,000 to USD 3,000. Banks are also required to put a client on a “watchlist” if he or she is making frequent foreign exchange withdrawals. On the other hand, China only allows an annual overseas withdrawal of up to RMB 100,000 or USD 15,000 from a Chinese account regardless of having multiple bank cards. Moreover, a person is only allowed to withdraw an amount of RMB 10,000 each day.

China survived the Asian Financial Crisis which happened in the late 1990s. Learning from this lesson, keeping the currency in control is in the country’s interest. Meanwhile, China’s foreign exchange regulator explains that limits on overseas transfers are meant to fight money laundering, terrorism, and fake outbound investment transactions.

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Author: Zhorea Garcia

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