China is the world’s biggest exporter for its immense variety of merchandise / suppliers. With millions of dollars coming in to China from all over the world, many companies have improved the way people send money to China.
Gone are the days you have to cross borders and fly to China just to make a transaction. These transactions can now be done online, along with finding a supplier, signing a contract, and paying for your supplies. China has become virtually closer to importers through various technologies.
Ways to Send Money to China
Bank Transfer: Bank wire transfers are a classic way to transfer money to China. People are most familiar with bank wire transfers, and what’s nice about it is that you can now do this online.
If you are sending money to China to pay for particular products or merchandise, it is best to pay through a bank transfer. Not only it is the most legitimate way to send money, but it is also more secure compared to any other option. However, if you’re transferring money to China for personal use, this may not be the best option because you’ll have to open a bank account in China for this to work.
Cross Border Payment Provider (such as PayPal, TransferWise, and Western Union): This option is by far the easiest and fastest way to transfer money to China. To date, there are hundreds of companies offering this kind of service. In fact, we have previously reviewed some of them here.
- Western Union: It is widely known all over the world. In fact, it has over 500,000 agent locations in over 200 countries; therefore, transferring money to China through Western Union can be a breeze for many.
- PayPal: Using PayPal is a convenient way to transfer money to China. It is secure, quick and easily accessible as long as you’re connected to the internet. PayPal is well known to many people around the world, especially those from the Western countries. Unfortunately, it isn’t that well known in China. In addition, sending money to China through PayPal can be quite expensive.
- TransferWise: Sending money to China using TransferWise works like a bank wire transfer, but with a shortened processing time (as fast as 24 hours). TransferWise is partnered with UnionPay – which is China’s financial service corporation that provides bank card services. TransferWise works with three very simple steps: sign up, make money transfer using your debit/credit card, and the recipient gets ¥ directly from TransferWise’s local bank account.
ATM Withdrawal: Assuming you’re in China and you have a Visa/Cirrus/Maestro ATM card, you can simply use it to withdraw money. Most Chinese ATMs accept these kinds of cards. The only catch is that it will charge you a fee of about $10, and the exchange rate may be poor. Nevertheless, if it’s emergency, this may be the best option.
Check: If processing time isn’t an issue, you can simply write yourself a check that you can deposit in your Chinese bank account (if you have one). The clearing can take as long as 2 months and there’s a fee of about RMB 60 per check, so this may not be the best option.
Which is the best way to get money to China?
Hundreds of companies offer cross-border payment services nowadays, and choosing the best option can be challenging. Below are just some factors to consider when choosing your option:
Speed: In these days of online money transfers, it shouldn’t take more than a week. A slight delay in a money transfer may mean a dispute between a buyer and a seller, it may mean losing a property for sale. And if it’s emergency, it may mean something worse. If we talk about speed, the best option might be through an international ATM withdrawal (if you have one), Western Union (for its accessibility) or TransferWise for its one-day processing time.
Fees & Exchange Rates: Of course, the lower the fees, the better. Technically, all options have their own fees that sometimes depend on how much money you’re sending. If it’s about exchange rates, TransferWise may be the best option as it offers “real” exchange rates.
Security: Every option mentioned above has its own risks, but if you ask me which option I think is more secure, I would choose PayPal. It has security policies that work effectively like a bank. Moreover, PayPal uses a two-factor authentication, which is an extra layer of security to ensure you’re the only one who can access your account. Still, this is only a personal choice, and this doesn’t guarantee total security of PayPal.
- Customer Support: Mishaps can happen on any transaction – like sending the money to the wrong account, encountering a dispute with the recipient, or perhaps sending the wrong amount. These errors can happen to anyone, thus it is important to choose an option that has good customer support and can help you recover from this disaster. Again, if it’s about customer support, I’d go for PayPal. It operates worldwide and it has 24/7 customer support.