A specialised money transfer company will offer more competitive exchange rates than a traditional bank, but which company is best for you depends on how much you’re sending and how quickly you need it to arrive.
Send money to China with XE
XE specializes in a wide range of foreign currency solutions and offers an affordable option when you need to send money overseas.
Send money to 170+ countries
Competitive exchange rates that are often better than banks
Exchange rates. Nearly all providers skew exchange rates for a profit. Compare the rate you’re offered to the mid-market rate — the rate banks and transfer services use when they trade among themselves — and look for the smallest margin between them.
Transfer fees. Find out whether the provider charges a flat fee or a percentage of your transfer. If you’re sending a large amount, ask whether you qualify for a fee-free transfer.
Transfer speed. If it needs to be there fast, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram allow for quick cash pickups, often in minutes. If you’ve more time, you’ll get better rates and fees with an independent provider.
Transfer limits. Your best option might depend on how much you want to send. For large transfers, weigh the best exchange rate — especially since providers encourage large transfers by offering low fees. For smaller amounts, consider the fees you’ll pay on top of the exchange rate.
“Hedging” options. Ask whether you can schedule payments ahead of time or protect your transfer against market fluctuations with a limit order or forward contract.
Customer service. Most companies offer customer service by Internet chat, phone, in person or by email. Make sure help will be available if you need it.
An international money transfer allows you to send money to friends, family and businesses overseas. Generally, it involves you sending cash or money from your bank account to an intermediary transfer service or bank, which then exchanges and sends the money to your recipient in another country — in this case, China.
China’s economy is experiencing a boom, and the Chinese yuan has become increasingly popular among traders on the global currency market. Many banks in Ireland offer the option to send funds to China, but will typically charge high transfer fees and offer exchange rates that are significantly lower than the mid-market rate — or the rate banks and transfer providers use when trading among themselves.
A reputable money transfer specialist can offer better exchange rates and also charge lower fees, saving you money and putting more Chinese yuan into your recipient’s pocket.
Case Study: Henry sends money to China
Henry has waved good-bye to his parents in China to settle in Ireland. To thank his family for their support for his education, he wants to send a €1,000 gift. Henry compares the fees, rates and options of two independent online money transfer providers to find the better deal.
Money transfer company A
Money transfer company B
1 EUR = 6.13 CNY
1 EUR = 6.20 CNY
€70 for cash within minutes at an agent location; €8 for bank account transfer
1 business day
Cash pickup within minutes; 4–8 business days for account deposit
Bank account deposit
Bank account deposit, cash at agent location
Total yuan received for €1,000
Henry learns that fees vary widely depending on how his transfer is delivered, and that a small shift in exchange rates can mean a big difference in what his family receives. By going with Money Transfer Service A, Henry will save on transfer fees, but he’d deposit 70 more yuan into his parents’ account by taking advantage of the rate offered by Money Transfer Service B. And if it’s speed he’s looking for, only Money Transfer Service B offers cash pickup in minutes.
Ultimately, Henry will need to weigh the importance of fees, rates and speed for his transfer to determine which provider best suits his needs.
Many companies that we use for money transfers in Ireland offer “reload” services for prepaid credit cards and mobile plans that make it easy to convert cash into communication — often within minutes.
If you need to send minutes to a prepaid phone in China — whether for you or a loved one — consider online providers WorldRemit. To add or gift minutes from an agent location, standbys Western Union and MoneyGram are an option.
You might need to send an emergency cash transfer to China — perhaps your friend loses their wallet in Wuhan or their handbag in Heife. When you need to get funds to someone urgently, your fastest transfer will often be your most expensive option. Carefully review the exchange rate and transfer fee against your needs so that you understand exactly how much it will cost you.
Receiving cash in China
Western Union and MoneyGram provide the two largest money transfer networks in the world, with thousands of agent locations around the globe. You’ll need to pass your transaction reference number on to your recipient to allow them to pick up their funds. They’ll also need to bring along a photo ID.
Tips for picking up cash
It’s always best to exercise caution when picking up cash from an agent location in China. Don’t advertise the fact that you have a wallet full of cash, and head to your bank as soon as possible to deposit the funds.
What 10 countries are sending the most money to China?
China has over 35 million expats scattered around the world, with around 4 million living in the US, so it’s no surprise that it receives the second most money transfers right behind India with an estimated US$63.9 billion in remittances in 2017, according to World Bank data. Let’s see what countries are sending money to China.
Remittances in 2017
Frequently asked questions
Yes, both TransferWise and WorldRemit allow near-instant transfers to your recipient’s Alipay account.
Shirley Liu is Finder's global program manager. She was previously the publisher for banking and investments and has also written comparisons for energy, money transfers, Uber Eats and many other topics. Shirley has a Master of Commerce and a Bachelor of Media, Journalism and Communications from the University of New South Wales. She is passionate about helping people find the best deal for their needs.
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