Living in China | How to send money home?
It’s that time of year again where we’ve started back at work. We’ve begun to get to know our classes and are heading back into the teacher’s life.
Next on the list is getting paid and planning ahead? Part of those plans are usually to pay our bills, either here in China or back at home and to pay them, you’ll need to send money back. So that’s what we’re looking at today. How can I send the money back to my home abroad?
First, we need to look at the options and there are a few available, some easier than others. Western Union, MoneyGram, Bank to Bank transfer, or PayPal, are several options available. While there are several options, they mostly need the same documentation (see image below) and gathering these together can, collectively, take up some time.
Via the bank, through Western Union, or MoneyGram will require the above list. The transaction fees, however, do vary greatly. For example, through ABC, sending 35,000 RMB to the UK cost 45 RMB to send and a percentage of the amount sent, which came to 135 RMB, giving a total transaction fee of 180 RMB. Western Union / MoneyGram generally charge much higher rates for the currency exchange and transfer fee (7-10% combined) than the bank does, and involve the same documentation. Bear in mind that foreign nationals are limited to $500 USD per day, while the yearly limit is $50,000 USD, Chinese nationals, however, can send $2,000 USD per day with the same yearly limit.
One thing to note about the above list is the ‘tax receipts’, you don’t receive these through the company, you have to go to the tax office itself to obtain them. It’s relatively straight forward and you just need your passport.
In any of the above cases, you’ll have to go into the branch to get the transfer done. Why go through WU or MG if you’re in the bank anyway? Well, if the money you’re sending isn’t to your own name, then the banks often decline the transfer. If you wanted to send to a friend, a family member, or pay a bill, then the chances are, you won’t be able to use the bank’s services. One other issue with WU and MG is the issue of finding a location that’s able to send money abroad – frequently they’re only able to send internally to China if they’re able to send at all. If you choose to use either, then the links below will help you track them down
The alternative to the above is PayPal, but again, the fees are costly. Plus, you’ll need two PayPal accounts; one China based and linked to your Chinese bank card, and your normal international PayPal account. Use the Chinese one to make a payment to your International one and accept it. It’s that easy…Or it used to be. It appears there have been a lot of changes in the previous year and even if you’re able to get the Chinese PayPal set up, there’s now a large $35USD withdrawal fee, and numerous reports of the site no longer withdrawing money from your Chinese account. On top of this is the currency exchange fee that your home country’s bank will set. Overall, PayPal has become a lot more complicated than it used to be and you may well end up with money stuck in a PayPal account that you can no longer access.
Alipay can also be used, but has to be through a Chinese national as it requires their ID Card number and be linked to their bank account. Fees, as with every option are high, and the maximum for one transaction is 18,000RMB.
Lastly, two other options. Firstly, find a Chinese friend that you trust. Transfer the money you want to send to them, which you can easily do on the ICBC banking APP, and then they send to your foreign account. Again, they’ll be able to send via their banking APP, provided their bank allows them to send abroad. The second option, open a new bank account, one where you know the bank card will work in your country, for example an ABC bank card will work in a Barclays bank’s ATM in the UK. Then post the bank card, hidden in with some Christmas gifts … Christmas is Coming … to a trusted family member back home. Make sure to keep a note of your card’s account number and you can deposit via the ATM here, with the card less deposit option, for your family to withdraw there.