Find a quick, affordable way to move your money internationally.
Maybe you’re helping out friends or family in Beijing or investing in a business in Shanghai — the last thing you want to have to do is navigate a potentially complicated and expensive process.
Sending money from the U.S. to China doesn’t have to be expensive. From bank transfers and online transactions to options that allow recipients to collect your funds within minutes, you’ll want to compare the transfer fees and exchange rates of the many options available to you to get the best deal.
Compare international money transfers
Save money on your personal or business international money transfer today. Fill in the form and you’ll be contacted by a foreign exchange expert to have an obligation-free discussion about your options.
With over 17 years of foreign exchange expertise and over $100 billion transferred, OFX can help with all your currency exchange needs, including:
- Buying property abroad
- Regular overseas payments
- Risk management
- If the provider quotes a different rate to the one above please let us know
Sending money to China
Sending money to China
When sending money to China, you’ll usually need to create a free account with a money transfer provider. The process varies by company, but generally requires you to provide your name, contact information and proof of identity. If you’re not paying for your transaction with cash, you’ll also provide your banking info in order to have the funds withdrawn from your account.
Once you’ve selected a payment option and entered the full details of your transfer, you’ll make your transaction and wait for the funds to be delivered. You’ll most likely receive a reference number or receipt that you can use to track the progress of your transfer.
Laws and legal documents when transferring large sums of money into China
How do international money transfers work?
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.
Depending on the provider, you can initiate a money transfer in person, online or by phone. Your cash or bank account transfer is then either deposited into your recipient’s bank account or made available as cash for pickup at a location in their country.
A beginner’s guide to starting an import/export business with China
Banks vs. money transfer companies
China’s economy is experiencing a boom, and the Chinese yuan has become increasingly popular among traders on the global currency market. Many major U.S. banks offer the option to send funds to China, but they 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.
Henry has waved good-bye to his parents in China to settled in the U.S. 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|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 6.13 CNY||1 USD = 6.20 CNY|
|Transfer fee||$7||$70 for cash within minutes at an agent location; $8 for bank account transfer|
|Transfer speed||1 business day||Cash pickup within minutes; 4–8 business days for account deposit|
|Transfer options||Bank account deposit||Bank account deposit, cash at agent location|
|Total yuan received||6,130 CNY||6,200 CNY|
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.
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to China
- 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.
What are the ways that I can send money to China?
- Bank transfers. Many major US banks will allow you to wire money to banks in China.
- Money transfer providers. It’s simple and convenient to send an online money transfer to China from the comfort of your home.
- Providers with cash pickup. Companies like Western Union and MoneyGram offer the option of sending funds that can be picked up from thousands of agent locations across China.
- PayPal. Electronic payment giant PayPal allows you to send money from the US to China.
- Checks and money orders. Although not a quick option, you could send an international check overseas, obtained from your bank or US Postal Service.
Many companies that we use for money transfers in the States 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.
Emergency cash transfers to China
You might need to send an emergency cash transfer to China — for example, if a friend traveling through the country loses their wallet. When you need to transfer funds urgently, your fastest possible 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, MoneyGram and Ria provide the three 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.
Although China is considered a safe country for American tourists, exercise caution when picking up cash from an agent location. 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.