Sending Money to China from New Zealand Can Be Cheap and Efficient

Information verified correct on December 5th, 2016

China-2Find the right combination of good exchange rates, the lowest possible fees and a quick turnaround.

Thanks to its unique culture and status as one of the world’s economic superpowers, China is home to over 600,000 expats living and working all over the country.

Thousands of Kiwis have made China their home, while Chinese-New Zealanders number around 250,000 including both Chinese-born and those claiming Chinese ancestry. The biggest concentration of Chinese-New Zealanders is located in Auckland.

China and New Zealand signed a joint free-trade agreement in 2008 that doubled trade between the two countries, with New Zealand increasing exports to China by 50%. New Zealand’s exports to China include milk powder, butter, cheese and meat, while China’s exports to New Zealand include electronics, clothing, furniture and toys.

Banks versus money transfer companies

Five years after moving to Auckland on a university scholarship, Zhian started work in a photography agency. Her younger sister is applying for an arts degree at Peking University, but she’ll need help with the tuition.

Zhian’s family has an account with the Bank of China, while she holds an account with ANZ. Instead of paying the bank’s high transfer fees, she’s investigating quicker, cheaper ways to get money home.

Money transfer service Bank
Exchange rate$1 = 4.1CNY$1 = 4.4CNY
Transfer fee$18$18
Amount received for $5001,989CNY2,137CNY
Transfer optionsCash pick-upBank deposit
Transfer delay10 minutesTwo business days
Difference148CNY

While transfer service offers Zhian quicker delivery with an instant cash deposit, waiting two more days guarantees more Chinese Yuan in her sister’s account. Zhian can choose depending on how urgently her sister needs the money.

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How do I compare transfer companies when transferring and receiving money via China?

When exchanging Chinese Yuan for NZ dollars, it’s important to keep the following factors in mind.

  • Exchange rates. The idea is to use a company offering a good, competitive exchange rate. Transfer companies buy currency in bulk, which means they can offer better exchange rates than those of banks.
  • Fees. Transfer fees vary from service to service. Some might only charge a receiving fee in the destination currency.
  • Pick-up methods. If your recipient needs money in a hurry, your best bet is a service that has a pick-up point where you recipient can collect the money. You can also opt to have money deposited directly into a bank account.
  • Transfer methods. Most international transfer services offer online transfers, cash deposits at a pick-up location or direct deposits into a bank account.
  • Transfer time. Choose between services that offer instant transfers or those that deliver between one and three business days.
  • Minimum amounts. Check to see whether there’s a stipulated minimum transfer amount. Minimum amounts are usually between $10 and $50.
  • Customer service. A service that promises to deliver your money to its recipient should have a good customer-service department. They should be available and efficient, and able to keep you updated on where your money is at any time during the transfer process.
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How do I send money to China from New Zealand?

Here are a few options to consider when sending money to China.

  • Western Union. This online money transfer service will deposit directly into your recipient’s bank account with two business days, or you can opt for an instant transfer – at a higher fee – that can be collected within minutes at a designated pick-up location.
  • ANZ Bank. This international New-Zealand-based bank has branches in China’s main centres including Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. You can transfer money between ANZ accounts or send an international draft if you don’t have your recipient’s bank details.
  • TransferMate. This online transfer specialist delivers money within 24 hours of the transaction for low fees.

How do I receive money from China in New Zealand?

Need to send money home from China? Several international transfer companies provide competitive rates and quick service, while the big Chinese banks in New Zealand (Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China)  could be an interesting option for same-currency transfers.

  • WorldRemit. A reputed online money-transfer service, this company charges no transfer nor receiving fees. Money is deposited directly into the recipient’s account.
  • Western Union. The most recognisable money transfer company makes money available within minutes of the transfer. You can also send money directly to a bank account. This is usually cheaper than the instant-delivery option.
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Emergency cash transfers in China

If you find yourself in a tight spot while in China, here are a few ways to get cash in a hurry.

  • Instant cash transfer. Services like MoneyGram and Western Union have extensive networks of pick-up locations across China, in the first-tier cities as well as in smaller towns. Money can be collected within minutes of the transfer being effected.
  • Travel insurance. If you’ve suffered a medical emergency or been robbed while on holiday, you can claim from your travel insurance. This would require proof of identity, police reports, hospital records: if a quick cash boost is what you need, this may not be the solution for you.
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Cash pickup locations in China/ Western Union / MoneyGram branches in China

If you choose to send money with MoneyGram or Western Union, here are a few pick-up locations in Shanghai and Beijing from which your recipient can collect the transfer in person.

Western Union

Shanghai

  • Agricultural Bank of China
    300 Songling Road Pudong Shanghai 200122 +86-21-68400985Open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4pm
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
    258 Chengnan Road Huinan Town Pudong DistShanghai +86-022-58016790Open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

Beijing

  • Postal Savings Bank of China
    1 Xi Street Beijing StationDongcheng District Beijing 100005 +86-10-65264690Open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:30pm, Saturday and Sunday 9:30am to 4:30pm
  • Bank of China
    No 18 Chong Wen Men Wai Da Jie Chongwen District Beijing 100062 +86-10-67168357Open Monday to Sunday 9am to 5pm

MoneyGram

Shanghai

  • Bank of Communications
    360 Wuning RoadShanghai+86-216-2571184Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
  • ICBC SH Nanjing Xilu Fenlichu
    999 Nanjing West RoadShanghai+86-215-0581921Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Beijing

  • BOC BJ Jichangnanlu Sub-branch
    7 Ji Chang S RoadThe Capital AirportBeijing+86-106-4561349Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 4pm
  • BOC BJ Changping Sub-branch
    57 Nan Huan RoadChangping DistrictBeijing+86-106-9745394Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 4pm
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Tips for picking up cash in China

China is a developed, relatively low-crime country,  but you should still be vigilant when collecting money, particularly if it’s a large sum. Most people in the bigger cities speak English, but you might need a translator if you’re collecting in a smaller town. Check the agency’s business hours and try and get someone from your hotel or travel group to accompany you.

What are the steps to send money to China?

Most money transfer services require that you open an account before sending money. It’s quick and usually free. You’ll have to provide some or all of the following information:

  • Your name, email address and contact number
  • Your bank account/credit card information
  • The recipient’s name, address and bank details

Whether you transfer online or in person, make sure you get a tracking number to use as a reference and keep track of your transfer. Send the tracking number to your recipient: he/she will need to present it if collecting the money in person.

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