So you want to send money to China, but aren’t entirely sure where to start? Lucky for you, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re sending a one-off transfer or moving funds regularly overseas, there are a number of suitable money transfer options to meet your needs.
Below you’ll find a handy guide to help you get the most out of your hard-earned dollars, with lower transaction fees and more competitive exchange rates.
Send money to China with WorldRemit
An online money transfer service with cash pick-up, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first three transfers with no fee.
Choose how you want to send your money - via bank transfer, cash pickup or mobile money
Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.
Which provider should I use to send money to China?
When it comes to sending money overseas, most people decide to settle on either their bank or a dedicated money transfer service to get the job done. While we can’t necessarily tell you which is the right service to choose, we can break down a couple of key differences between both options to help you make an informed decision.
Banks. Banks have a knack for all things financial, but international money transfers aren’t necessarily their niche, which means they need to charge less competitive exchange rates and higher fees to compensate for the fact that they carry out fewer transfers than dedicated money transfer services on a day-to-day basis.
Money transfer services. Money transfer services are often in a better position to facilitate a larger volume transactions each day (since money transfers are their primary function), which means they can still cut a profit even though they charge a smaller margin on every transaction in comparison to the bank.
Case study – Banks vs money transfer companies
When Kim finds out that he has been granted a long-stay visa to work with a prominent engineering firm in Vancouver, his first concern is for his elderly parents, who run a small market stall in Beijing but rely heavily on his income to get by. Kim wants to do some research to make sure that he can find a secure and affordable way to send part of his income back to his parents in China before he commits to his big move, so he starts by comparing the costs to send $1,000 back home with his bank versus a reputable money transfer service.
Money Transfer Service
CAD$1 = CNY4.85
CAD$1 = CNY4.91
Amount received (for $1,000)
2 – 5 days
1 – 2 days
Bank-to-bank transfer or cash pick-up
Kim is pleased to discover that he can save CNY60 (approximately $12) in the exchange rate with the money transfer option, with an additional $11 in fees. If Kim sends money every month, this amounts to almost $300 over the course of one year.
How do I compare companies when transferring money to China?
While Kim isn’t a money transfer expert by any means, he did learn a thing or two by comparing his bank to a dedicated money transfer services, and recommends that you look for the following features when booking a transfer to lock in the best deal.
Competitive exchange rates. Exchange rates are often the biggest factor to signal how much money you can save by using a money transfer service over the bank, so look for competitive fees that are close to the mid-market rate (which is the rate that comes up when you search “CAD to CNY exchange rates” on Google).
Minimal fees. Many transfer companies charge lower fees than the bank,and a select few even provide zero-fee services. The best way to be sure you’re getting the best deal is to compare 3-4 services.
Various transfer methods. It’s a good idea to lock in a service that offers the right transfer method for your needs, whether that be a bank-to-bank transfer, a mobile wallet top-up or even a cash payment.
Reliable customer service. Lock in a money transfer service that is tried, tested and true: company reputation goes a long way in ensuring that your hard-earned cash ends up in the right place at the right time.
Emergency cash transfers in China
If you run into a snag along the way, and need to send money to China as quickly as possible, cash pickup options like MoneyGram and Western Union can hook you up with an international transfers in as little as 10 minutes. The table below outlines the cost to send $1,000 to China with Western Union. MoneyGram doesn’t currently offer an option to send CNY to China, but can complete a transfer to China in USD or EUR, among other currencies.
Tips for picking up cash in China
If you’re aiming to head to China in the near future, the Government of Canada recommends that you exercise a high degree of caution. Petty crime, such as pickpocketing, purse snatching and theft of mobile phones and laptop computers happens regularly even during the day. Be especially careful in major cities and tourist areas, and avoid carrying large sums of money. If you do need to pick up cash, try to go with a friend during the day, and return to your hotel to secure your cash in a safe deposit box.
Documentation you will need to process your transfer
If you’ve decided that a bank or money transfer service is your best option for sending money from Canada to China, you’ll need to set up an account. If you’re going to take advantage of a money transfer provider, make sure that you have the following information on hand:
Personal details. You may need to supply your recipient’s personal information, including full name and address, before making your transaction. Double-check that the information that you provide matches their identification, down to the last letter.
Recipient’s banking information. When sending money to your recipient’s overseas bank account, make sure that you know their institution name, bank account number and bank routing number (as well as SWIFT code where applicable).
For a cash pick-up, you’ll often be supplied with paperwork containing a personalized tracking number, which you’ll need to pass on to your recipient in order for them to retrieve their money.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, both TransferWise and WorldRemit allow near-instant transfers to your recipient’s Alipay account.
Claire Horwood is a writer at Finder, specializing in credit cards, loans and other financial products. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Gender Studies from the University of Victoria, along with an Associate's Degree in Science from Camosun College. Much of Claire's coursework has focused on writing and statistics, with a healthy dose of social and cultural analysis mixed in for good measure. She has also worked extensively in the field of "Blended Finance" with the Canadian government. In her spare time, Claire loves rock climbing, travelling and drinking inordinate amounts of coffee.
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