The Cheapest Ways to Send Money to China
The largest manufacturing economy in the world, China, is also the world’s major exporter of goods since 2009. Apart from many brick-and-mortar retail stores that deal in foreign goods, many people who sell on Amazon, AliExpress, and other eCommerce websites also source most of their products from China. On the other hand, millions of international consumers order products directly from China.
Furthermore, people send money to China for various reasons. Some make money transfers to support their family members and friends who may be schooling, working, or embarking on a project in Beijing or other parts of China. Hence, the importance of making a money transfer to this country nicknamed The Red Dragon cannot be overestimated. That’s why we want to show you how to send money to China at very low costs.
You may be charged a flat fee, percentage fee, or a mix of both kinds of fees. You can find out what these fees mean in the text above.
Exchange rate, transfer fee, and transfer speed are the factors to put into consideration before transferring money to China.
Yes! China has long begun the process of de-dollarisation of its economy by replacing the U.S. dollar with the yuan (officially renminbi). It also wants to make the yuan the world’s global currency for international trade settlements. Some experts believe that this will come to pass but they do not know when.
Requirements for Transferring Money to China
International money transfer service providers require you to provide some information so that they can render their services to you. While these requirements may vary slightly between them, the following general list could be helpful:
- A valid identity card issued by the government of your country.
- The amount and currency of the money you want to send to China.
- The correct full name of the recipient – according to what is indicated on their official identity documents.
- The recipient’s residential address and phone number.
- The recipient's bank name, branch, account number, and SWIFT code if you intend to send the money via a bank transfer.
- The reason for sending the money (not often requested).
- The source of the money (not often requested).
Cheapest Services for Sending Money to China
To send money to China for free or at low costs, use any of the international money transfer service providers (apps or online payment systems) that we have listed below. They are the best in terms of the security and safety of your transactions, favourable exchange rates, affordable fees, fast delivery of funds, and convenience. Click on their respective “Visit infocard profile” buttons for more details about them.
Alternative Ways to Get Your Money into China
Now, for those who may need to get money from their home bank accounts while in China, the following options are available to you:
Use Your International Credit Card
Neobanks for digital nomads and freelancers usually issue credit cards that can be used internationally. While some of them allow their customers to make fee-free transfers/payments abroad as well as offer cheap exchange rates, others charge low fees. So, you can use such credit cards to make payments at major stores, restaurants, and hotels in big cities in China.
Make ATM withdrawals
If you have a Visa or Mastercard card that is linked to your bank account in your home country, you can use it to withdraw cash at the majority of ATMs in China. They also accept cards issued by UnionPay. But this option comes with the following disadvantages: fees and daily withdrawal limits imposed by your home bank, high currency conversion rates, and ATM fees.
Write a Cheque
You can choose to write a cheque for yourself using your home bank’s chequebook. When your bank in China receives the check, it will likely charge you a fee to clear it. This option is very slow and old-fashioned. It should not be used to attempt to get urgent cash as you should expect this process to take not less than 30 days to complete.
The Major Chinese Banks
In the course of sending money to China, you may find reasons to contact a major traditional bank in China. Therefore, it is important to know them.
The major banks in China include:
- Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
- Bank of China
- People’s Bank of China
- China Construction Bank
Factors to Consider Before Sending Money to China
Before you start sending money to China using any money transfer method, there are some variables you need to put into consideration. They are the currency exchange rate, the transfer fees (which could be free, depending on the offer of the service provider), and the transfer speeds. Let’s explain them shortly.
Currency exchange rate
As more of a country’s currency is demanded, under normal circumstances, its value increases. The reverse is normally the case when there is a low demand for that currency. Similarly, the exchange rate of the yuan changes on the market. For example, on 20 April 2022, the rate for sending money (EUR) from Germany to China (CNY) using Paysend was “1.00 EUR = 6.8682 CNY” only.
However, you can try to find the mid-market rate for converting your local currency to the yuan using the Currency Converter of XE or any other similar app. Next, you can compare this mid-rate with that of your money transfer service providers and choose the cheapest one. Mind you, the transfer fees and speed might not be favourable even though the currency conversion rate is.
Money transfer fees
Expect one out of three types of fees you are likely to pay when sending money to China: percentage, fixed/flat, or a combination of both.
A percentage fee is a relative or proportional amount of the total money transferred that you pay to your service provider for sending the money to China. This type of fee can be expensive for transferring large amounts of money.
On the other hand, a fixed fee, which can also be called a flat fee, is an amount of money, which your bank or money transfer service provider will charge on your transfer. This fee does not depend on the amount of money you want to send to China. For example, presently, to send money from Mexico or Russia to China via Paysend, you will pay a flat fee of 2 USD or 49 RUB, respectively.
Lastly, a combined fee could be charged for sending money to China. For example, if you choose to use Wise to send money to China from the United Kingdom, at present, you will pay a flat fee of 0.77 GBP and a percentage fee that ranges from 0.87% to 1.04%, depending on the amount you want to transfer – the higher the amount, the lower the fee.
Speed of money transfer
This has to do with the time it will take for your money to get to the receiver in China. Normally, money transfers to China using any of the payment methods we have listed above will take less than an hour or one to three days. For instance, WorldRemit mostly completes its transfers to China in minutes.
There are many cheap ways to send money to China. Nevertheless, your favourite international payment service provider should be the option that offers an exchange rate that is close to the market average, charges a rationally low fee, and sends your money faster than others. Thanks to digital transformation in banking, many of our recommended money transfer methods above can meet this requirement. However, depending on your location and some other factors, you may have to occasionally sacrifice one of these benefits to use a reliable, safe, and secure wire transfer service to send money to China or any other part of the world.