The best way to send money to China comes down to your specific needs. 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 has fast transfers with no fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Send money to 170+ countries
Competitive exchange rates that are often better than banks
Online money transfer providers typically offer the strongest exchange rates and lowest fees on money transfers to China. Some offer transfers straight to Chinese bank accounts, while others allow the money to be picked up in Chinese yuan in person. Banks, PayPal and other options are available but come with high fees, weak rates and longer turnaround times.
Digital money transfer services
Companies like XE and CurrencyTransfer specialise in foreign currencies, making them some of the most cost-effective transfers. Most offer transfers directly to your recipient’s Chinese bank account, often in as little as a day or two.
Services like MoneyGram allow you to transfer cash for pickup at a local branch in China – often in 15 minutes. While it’s a fast way to send money, you’ll pay for the convenience in weak exchange rates and high fees. If a cash pickup is necessary, look to digital services like WorldRemit or Wise when possible.
Chinese yuan may be carried by your bank, especially if you visit the main branches offering international service. Although your local bank can convert your euros into Chinese yuan, beware of high fees and wide margins on the exchange rate compared to digital and other options.
Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending £5,000 to China
Let’s say you need to send £5,000 to family in China. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of 11 November 2020.
Digital money transfer service
£20 + additional correspondent bank fees
1 GBP = 7.91 CNY
1 GBP = 7.70 CNY
1 GBP = 7.29 CNY
Slowest and most expensive
The bank option ends up being both the slowest way to send money to China and gets the smallest amount of money to your recipient. If you go with the digital money transfer service, your recipient ends up with CNY¥3,064 more than the bank offers. If speed is crucial, a cash transfer can typically have your transfer to China in as little as 15 minutes for just a slightly higher fee.
How to send money to China online
Sign up and send money with a digital money transfer specialist in four steps:
Sign up for a free account. Pick a provider and sign up for a free online account using your contact information, proof of ID and your preferred payment method.
Provide transfer details. Submit your recipient’s contact information and pick a delivery method. If you’re transferring to a bank, you’ll need your recipient’s Chinese bank account details.
Confirm transfer details. Double-check your payment method, expected fees and destination.
Save your receipt. Record your receipt’s confirmation number to track the progress of your transfer to China. Some money transfer providers send a text or email when your transfer is complete.
How to get the most out of your money transfer to China
Weigh costs and fees against convenience, and learn how to compare money transfer providers that send to China to meet your needs:
Exchange rates. The GBP-CNY remains relatively stable, with occasional shifts on a larger scale. Exchanging currency ahead of time, or locking in prices, can help you prepare for these shifts.
Transfer fees. Transferring money overseas nearly always requires fees, but they might be hidden in the exchange rate. When sending large amounts, it may be cheaper to pay a flat fee to secure a stronger exchange rate.
Transfer limits. How much you can send varies by company, and different amounts can attract higher or lower fees. Shop around for the best deal on the amount of Chinese yuan you’re sending.
Turnaround. It can take a business week or longer to send money to China through a local bank. If you need the funds delivered quickly, seek out a digital specialist that offers instant transfers.
Maximum limits. When exchange rates are favourable, sending more money can save you money in the future. If you plan to send large amounts of money to China, be sure to pick a provider that won’t limit you.
Transfer methods. Whether you want money sent to a Chinese bank account or picked up as cash at a local agent, narrow down a company that matches your preferred delivery method.
How to send an emergency cash transfer to China
When it’s more important to get your money to China quickly, look for money transfer companies that support cash pickup in minutes. You can pay with a credit or debit card for fast pickup, but fees are higher than other methods.
If you don’t have a bank account, you can still use cash transfer services to send money to China. Similarly, a recipient can get the money with a cash transfer if they don’t have a bank account. These services are widely available around the world and although they’ll typically not be the cheapest available, they can be fast and convenient.
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 and Xoom. To add or gift minutes from an agent location, standbys Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria are an option.
The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another country’s currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weaker currency. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Updated: 12 Apr 2021 13:50:57 UTC
Documents needed for sending to and receiving money in China
To send money to China from Ireland, you’ll need government-issued ID and other documents, while documents needed to pick up money in China may be different by company.
Documents to send money from Ireland
To send money from Ireland to China, you’ll need documentation and details that include:
Identification. Most services require a driver’s licence, passport or other government-issued ID.
Payment method. Your service may accept credit or debit cards, cash, bank accounts or personal cheques.
Recipient information. Submit your recipient’s name as it appears on their ID, along with their phone number, Chinese bank account and routing number if sending to their bank.
Documents to receive money in China
To pick up money in person, documentation can include:
Transfer number. The person sending you money can forward the transfer’s confirmation details – called a PIN, a MTCN, a reference number or a tracking number, depending on the company.
Government-issued ID. A China Identification Card, a passport (excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan passports), or a mainland travel permit (for Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan residents only) will be accepted for identification for most money transfer cash pickups.
Amount sent. You may need to know how much was sent, usually within 10% of the total.
Sender’s information. Take along your sender’s full name, the sending country and their address, if known.
It shouldn’t cost a fortune to send money to China. Compare transfer companies that specialise in foreign for the strongest rates, lowest fees and flexible delivery. For transfers to other countries, rely on our country specific guides the next time you need to make a transfer.
Zak Killermann is a writer at Finder. He’s ghostwritten hundreds of articles on fintech, finding his love for publication at St. Cloud State University. Traveling internationally for nearly half his life — and getting burned once by an OTC money exchange — Zak's vowed not to settle for anything short of the mid-market rate again.
How likely would you be to recommend finder to a friend or colleague?
Very UnlikelyExtremely Likely
Thank you for your feedback.
Our goal is to create the best possible product, and your thoughts, ideas and suggestions play a major role in helping us identify opportunities to improve.
finder.com.au is one of Australia's leading comparison websites. We compare from a wide set of banks, insurers and product issuers. We value our editorial independence and follow editorial guidelines.
finder has access to track details from the product issuers listed on our sites. Although we provide information on the products offered by a wide range of issuers, we don't cover every available product or service.
Please note that the information published on our site should not be construed as personal advice and does not consider your personal needs and circumstances. While our site will provide you with factual information and general advice to help you make better decisions, it isn't a substitute for professional advice. You should consider whether the products or services featured on our site are appropriate for your needs. If you're unsure about anything, seek professional advice before you apply for any product or commit to any plan.
Products marked as 'Promoted' or 'Advertisement' are prominently displayed either as a result of a commercial advertising arrangement or to highlight a particular product, provider or feature. Finder may receive remuneration from the Provider if you click on the related link, purchase or enquire about the product. Finder's decision to show a 'promoted' product is neither a recommendation that the product is appropriate for you nor an indication that the product is the best in its category. We encourage you to use the tools and information we provide to compare your options.
Where our site links to particular products or displays 'Go to site' buttons, we may receive a commission, referral fee or payment when you click on those buttons or apply for a product.
When products are grouped in a table or list, the order in which they are initially sorted may be influenced by a range of factors including price, fees and discounts; commercial partnerships; product features; and brand popularity. We provide tools so you can sort and filter these lists to highlight features that matter to you.
We try to take an open and transparent approach and provide a broad-based comparison service. However, you should be aware that while we are an independently owned service, our comparison service does not include all providers or all products available in the market.
Some product issuers may provide products or offer services through multiple brands, associated companies or different labelling arrangements. This can make it difficult for consumers to compare alternatives or identify the companies behind the products. However, we aim to provide information to enable consumers to understand these issues.
Providing or obtaining an estimated insurance quote through us does not guarantee you can get the insurance. Acceptance by insurance companies is based on things like occupation, health and lifestyle. By providing you with the ability to apply for a credit card or loan, we are not guaranteeing that your application will be approved. Your application for credit products is subject to the Provider's terms and conditions as well as their application and lending criteria.