Smart & Cost-Effective Ways to Send Money to China

With the surge in the population of Chinese people in the US, there is often the need to send money to China, whether it be to support friends and family, or for business purposes.

Whatever your motive for sending money to China may be, you should always go for the smart and cost-effective options – to avoid unfavorable bank dues and levies.

Going through the different options available thoroughly can be tedious and arduous. Therefore, the following are some of our picks, based on different settings and scenarios. For a quick comparison table of exchange rates and fees, click here.


Send money to China

So What Are The Best Ways to Send Money to China?


If You Are Moving from China to the USA

Every bank in the USA gives you an opportunity to transfer to and from China in US dollars. However, only some of them can send money in Chinese Yuan (CNY).

One factor you should consider is that many banks charge exorbitant fees on international transfers, and do not always offer the best possible exchange rate.

Online money transfer services are the best ways to avoid the expensive charges while providing you a wider range of options.

Providers that offer money transfer services from the USA to China include Currency Online, HSBC, OFX, TorFX, Travelex, World First, CurrencyFair, HiFX and Citibank.

Our Verdict:  TorFX for great exchange rates on US dollar and CNY transfers to China. Particularly for payments under $10,000

Honorable mention: KVB Kunlun for their Chinese customer service and competitive exchange rates.


Sending Money for Business

If transferring currency is your business, two factors crucially contribute to discovering the best option:

  1. The Exchange rate margin – this is the difference between the conventional or wholesale exchange rate found on and the price they offer.
  2. Additional business services they render like foreign currency accounts, limit orders, and exchange contracts.

Our Verdict: World First. Why? Their exchange rates and $0 fee structure using this link will allow you to maximize your overseas receipts or payments.

Click here to find out more about Foreign Currency Accounts.


Buying a Property

Peradventure, you are considering getting a property in China, search for an agent with a reputation and establishment both in the US and China. This will give ease, support, and tractability you’ll require before finally settling down.

Our Verdict: OFX is an excellent option for property settlement transfers because every customer is assigned a local account manager who will guide them through each step. They are fully licensed and regulated in both China and the USA.

Honorable mention: HSBC also has a fantastic network both here and in China. They also offer foreign currency accounts for individuals.


Sending Money Home

Particular transfer services such as the Western Union are excellent for overseas money transfer, especially small amounts (like sending a birthday gift to your cousin or niece). Other transfer services may choose to ignore transfer fees when the amount is large.

This is why you should search around and talk about your requirements with the currency exchange provider or transfer service expert.

Our Verdict: With the right foreign exchange specialist, such as OFX or TorFX it is possible to achieve a spread of 1% – and even lower, reduce or remove fees, create a strategy for purchasing currency and also access hedging tools.

Honorable mention: Western Union for the ease and convenience of their cash pick up service and the massive network of agents.


Studying Overseas

Tuition fee these days aren’t cheap. The annual payments to schools and colleges, coupled with other expenses like accommodation can add up. For larger payments, you will be saving up by getting the best exchange rate possible. When making smaller payments, consider the transfer charges.

Our Verdict: Transferwise. They are a fast growing company based in the UK. It is perfect for students and their parents paying the bills.

Honorable Mention: Nexpay specializes in student payments in USA.


Tools To Help You Send Money To China


The Costs of Sending Money to or from China

Determining transfer costs can be complicated sometimes. Based on the money transfer method, the charges, fees, and margins are not always noticeable. The following are the most popular charges when transferring money from a bank account to another.

  1. A Transfer Fee – Also known as a TT, Telegraphic Transfer, Wire or Remittance fee
  2. Correspondent Bank Fees – The fee your bank’s bank will take out for getting the money to the right account. It’s deducted from the amount that finally arrives in the account and is almost impossible to estimate or reverse
  3. Receiving China: US bank account, your US bank will charge you to convert it.


What are your options?


A Bank

Banks in the USA have higher fees and uncompetitive exchange rates, but this doesn’t mean you should never use them. British banks tend to have more competitive exchange rates because there is more competition in the USA. Using a bank is the faster way to transfer between bank accounts.



This is an excellent option if you’re transferring amounts below $1000. The exchange rate offered is comparable to a bank’s. However, the fees are considerably lower. It is even more convenient if the recipient has a PayPal account.


A Money Transfer Company

Money transfer companies like OFX and HiFX are usually the inexpensive option when you are sending between $1000 and $1,000,000 at a time. This is because they offer better exchange rates and lower (and sometimes no) fees. The disadvantage of using a transfer company outside of a bank is that you’ll have to create an account with them first before using the service. This can take between 10 minutes to 2 days depending on how much information they require from you. Also, the transfer itself can take longer (usually a day) than using a bank.


How to use a money transfer company (instead of a bank)

Though sending money through a money transfer company is comparable to using a bank, there are some significant differences. The following are steps to follow.

Setting things up (only has to be done once)

  • Log on to their website and register your details. You’ll need to have some I.D ready.
  • The instant your account gets approved, you’ll be sent a login and password
  • Enter the banking details of where you are sending the money. They are usually called the “Beneficiary” or “Recipient.”

Transferring Money

  • Get a quote for the amount you want to send
  • Confirm the details including the rate and how much it is in US dollars
  • You’ll get a deal confirmation. Finally you’ll need to pay them the US dollars before the money is sent to China.


Information you’ll need before you make your transfer

To transfer money abroad, you will require the following details of the bank account you’re transferring to. These are usually referred to as Beneficiary or Recipient Details.

  1.    The Account Name of your Recipient (person/business you are paying)
  2.    Their address
  3.    The SWIFT Code of their bank


A note about sending money to China

It is crucial to ensure that EVERY bank detail you use is precise. Most Chinese banks are extremely picky and will decline a payment if there is an error in the digits, or a letter is misplaced.



Here is a list of SWIFT codes for the biggest banks in the China:

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China : ICBKCNBJ

China Construction Bank Corporation : PCBCCNBJ

Agricultural Bank of China : ABOCCNBJ



How long does it take to send money to China?

HSBC, Western Union (cash pick-up), and PayPal are the quickest ways. Transfers are usually done in minutes. It usually takes 1-2 days if you’re transferring the money to a bank account, using a bank, or 2-3 days if you’re sending through a money transfer company.

Read more: How Long Does An International Money Transfer Take?


Is there a minimum transfer amount?

Although banks and PayPal do not have a minimum transfer amount, most money transfers companies do. If you are planning to send less than $500 to china using a transfer company, ensure you find out what their minimum transfer amount is.

The banks and Paypal do not have a minimum transfer amount, but most money transfer companies do. If you are sending less than $500 to the USA and intend to use a money transfer company, make sure you check their minimum transfer amount.

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