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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.
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.
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, compare MoneyGram to digital services like WorldRemit or TransferWise 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 pound sterling into Chinese yuan, beware of high fees and wide margins on the exchange rate compared to digital and other options.
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 23 September 2020.
|Digital money transfer service||Cash transfer||Bank transfer|
|Fee||£0||£3||£20 + additional correspondent bank fees|
|Exchange rate||1 GBP = 8.63 CNY||1 GBP = 8.58 CNY||1 GBP = 7.88 CNY|
|Transfer speed||1-2 day||Minutes||2-5 days|
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¥3,752 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.
Sign up and send money with a digital money transfer specialist in four steps:
Weigh costs and fees against convenience, and learn how to compare money transfer providers that send to China to meet your needs:
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 the UK 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. China’s exchange rate doesn’t often fluctuate when compared to the pound sterling, so expect relatively stable exchange rates between these two currencies. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
To send money to China from the UK, you’ll need government-issued ID and other documents, while documents needed to pick up money in China may be different by company.
To send money from the UK to China, you’ll need documentation and details that include:
To pick up money in person, documentation can include:
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.
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