Complete Guide 2022: The Cheapest Way to Send Money to China

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the cheapest way to send money to china

How to send money to China? This question often arises for travelers, business people, and expatriates dealing with China.

However, sending money to China is not always easy because there are many hurdles you must overcome to ensure security and cost-effectiveness.

In this guide, you’ll learn everything about sending money to China. So, what is the cheapest way to send money to China? Let’s read on!

What You Need to Know Before Sending Money to China?

People send money to China for different reasons. Some do so for business purposes, such as buying products from China.

Others send money for personal reasons, such as sending money to family or friends working or studying in China.

Whatever your reason for sending money to China, it is worthwhile to know the basics you should know before sending money.

1. Well Know the local remittance laws 

Sending money abroad is not a crime, but it can become one. Criminals have used international money transfers to launder money in the past years, so law enforcement has implemented laws to prevent this from happening.

Money laundering is a serious crime, and it carries severe penalties. To prevent this from happening, you should read and understand the laws in your country.

2. Learn about China’s foreign exchange control policies

In China, all Companies, banks, and individuals must comply with the “closed” capital account policy, which means that funds cannot move freely in and out of China unless strict foreign exchange rules are followed.

Since July 2017, banks and financial institutions in China must report all domestic and overseas cash transactions of 50,000 RMB ($7,600) or more; the previous threshold was 200,000 RMB ($30,350).

Any individual transfers $10,000 or more overseas will also be reported. In addition, all banks must report foreign exchange transactions of at least $5 million each to the central government.

3. Learn about your options, bank or Cross-Border Payment Companies

Your main options for sending money to China are your bank or choosing a different cross-border payment company.

While banks can provide you with a secure way to send money internationally, it often takes a long time for your recipient to receive the money.

If you have to choose a cross-border payment company, you will be surprised by the many options available.

To find the best one, all you have to do is research. They have the advantage of fast time and low fees.

4. Know the exchange rate

Knowing the exchange rate is an important aspect you should be familiar with when dealing with international money transfers. Different banks or cross-border payment companies offer different exchange rates.

So, before you choose, make sure you know the exchange rates. Usually, the higher the exchange rate they offer, the better it will be for you.

5. Know the service fees

Many cross-border payment companies claim to have the lowest service fees to attract more customers, which is valid. However, don’t be fooled by such claims.

The best way to know how much you are paying for each transaction is to know their exchange rates. If they don’t charge a service fee, but the exchange rate is low, this is not the best option.

6. Details of recipient

Check the account name and address of the recipient, whether it is an individual or a company.

Check the recipient’s bank’s SWIFT or Bank Identification Code (BIC). Sometimes you will be asked for the BIC, and sometimes you will be asked for the SWIFT, but they are the same.

It’s better to double-check any details you enter before confirming the transfer to avoid errors, which may mean you have to cancel it.

10 Ways to Send Money to China

how to send money to china

Send money to China has become a common phenomenon for most buyers who import products from China.

It seems to be something that must be done for the smooth running of the various affairs, especially for those who have busy online businesses.

Here are some ways you can send money to China in 2022:

1. International Wire Transfer

International wire transfers – also known as telegraphic transfer or T/T payment- have been around for a long time and are widely accepted by suppliers in China.

International wire transfers is an umbrella term that involves the telegraphic transfer of funds from one location to another using a network of banks and money transfer companies worldwide.

It includes bank-to-bank transfers and those handled by companies such as Western Union (I will have more on this later). Bank-to-bank wire transfers are one of the most common payment methods.

This method is particularly suitable for low to medium transaction amounts. It typically includes an advance payment before production (usually a 30% down payment) and the balance (usually a 70% final payment).

These are determined based on agreed credit terms. Most suppliers accept this method of sending money to China, and if you use an online broker, you can get a better exchange rate than a bank.

2. Western Union

western union

Western Union, or WU, is a global bank transfer and money transfer method that supports many banks in many countries. Western Union has a very close relationship with China UnionPay.

In addition to its wide coverage and speed, Western Union also applies some sending fees that are pretty cheap compared to other money transfer companies.

Overall, Western Union is a good choice for small personal payments. However, it is risky and costly for business transactions.

3. Alipay 

Since 2014, Alipay has also provided international remittance services. Alipay uses the wire transfer method.

It has a partnership with the Bank of Shanghai, and the intermediary bank is Citibank. International remittances through Alipay are fast and can be completed in one business day or even less.

Alipay will charge you a fee of RMB 50 per international remittance, with no limit on the amount or telegraphic charges. Citibank, in the middle, will charge you $8 to $12 per transaction.

If you transfer less than $10,000, you will be charged $8. If you transfer more than $10,000, you may be charged $12.

You may learn more on our blog for Alipay for details below:
What is Alipay? Is Alipay Safe?

4. PayPal

PayPal is a relatively new online payment service used by individuals and business people. PayPal accounts are linked to bank accounts and can be easily transferred from one account to another.

PayPal is widely used by online transaction enthusiasts worldwide, whether for shopping or other business interests.

Send money to China via PayPal, you and your supplier need to have a PayPal account.

However, few Chinese suppliers use PayPal because the risk is too high, but the service is becoming increasingly popular for small transactions.



XOOM is an easier way to send money to China, and you can use XOOM to deposit RMB directly into the recipient’s bank account.

It is supported by many central banks in China, such as the Bank of China, Bank of Communications, China Construction Bank, Ping An Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, ICBC, etc.

You can either log in with your PayPal account or create a XOOM account with your name and email address to send money. Also, XOOM is fast and usually can arrive on the same day.

6. Wise or TransferWise

Wise (formerly Transferwise), is an international money transfer service that focuses on making its services more affordable than banks, especially by making money transfer fees cheaper and more transparent.

The service allows you to send money to China in USD or RMB. Wise also allows you to send money via credit or debit card or bank transfer.

Wise’s exchange rates are reliable. It offers an average middle market exchange rate, which only happens for intra-bank transactions.

If you complete your payment within 14 hours, Wise will retain this exchange rate for you.

7. International Credit or Debit Cards

You can use your bank debit or credit card to transfer funds to a business partner in China.

However, as with PayPal, the risk to the supplier is surprisingly high, as the buyer can recover the funds after receiving the goods or services.

International credit and debit card transactions are an unpopular and expensive way to send money to China. But if you’re in a pinch, you can always use your credit or debit card.

8. Letter of Credit

Letter of credit is considered one of the safest payment methods, but it is not very popular in China. It is a payment mechanism through which the bank guarantees payment to the seller on behalf of the buyer.

The bank will pay him as long as the seller provides the specified documents. Usually, the original bill of lading is accepted.

Unfortunately, most Chinese suppliers refuse to accept letters of credit. And you need to take into account the bank’s charges; the value of the transaction should exceed 30,000 USD.

Otherwise, the fees will be significantly higher than those of wire transfers.

Also, banks usually issue these letters of credit only for those customers (buyers) who have provided them with some collateral and charge a percentage of the letter of credit value as a fee.

9. Third-Party Escrow

“Escrow” refers to a third party that facilitates the transaction between the buyer and the seller. The buyer will send payment to the Escrow service before the supplier begins work.

Once the buyer receives the goods and is satisfied, the Escrow service will release payment to the supplier.

The Escrow service will mediate and help both parties reach an agreed-upon solution if a dispute arises.

alibaba trade assurance

Alibaba, a business-to-business platform in China, offers a service for buyers and sellers that it calls a “Trade Assurance” similar to the Escrow service.

Alibaba says the assurance makes a layer of security for buyers dealing with Chinese suppliers. It promises refunds in the following cases.

  • Your shipment is delayed beyond the promised date.
  • Your product does not meet pre-determined quality standards.

You may learn more on our blog for Alibaba Trade Assurance for details below:
Complete Guide: How to Use Alibaba Trade Assurance?

10. Sourcing Agent

International payment is more widely accepted in China if you are sourcing through a local China sourcing agent.

For example, Yansourcing helps you with your China sourcing project, and you can pay your suppliers through us.

Sourcing agents reduce the risk for both parties, make communication easier, and facilitate the exchange of funds.

The benefit of paying your suppliers through us is that you deal with the suppliers as a domestic company, rather than sending money to a company somewhere in China with all the associated risks.

Before working with a new supplier, Yansourcing reviews the supplier by visiting the company’s premises before sending any money to them.

We do not pay in full until the product has been approved by us and shipped.

You may learn more on our blog for Yansourcing’s Service for details below:
Introduction of Our Services and Charges

What is the Cheapest Way to Send Money to China?

Even though there are different ways to send money to China, if you want to send money without paying high fees, I recommend Wise (formerly known as Transferwise). is one of the few sites globally that charges the fairest and cheapest money transfer fees, and it uses the fairest foreign exchange rates that you can find among the global money transfer companies.

Why did it do? Because it doesn’t use an expensive wire transfer system to send your money, which uses a point-to-point system that eliminates additional transfer fees.

Wise only charges a middle-market fee, no markups, and a low upfront fee. Wise’s fees range from free to $4, a fixed price per transaction.

On top of that, a small fee is charged based on the amount you are transferring, ranging from 0.4% to 2%.

It depends entirely on the transfer method, such as bank account transfer, debit card, or credit card transfer.


Here is an example. Transfer $1,000 to RMB

You get 6,580 RMB for a total fee of $14.97 with an exchange rate of $1 = 6.6785 RMB (currently, I searched online, and the exchange rate was $1 = 6.68 RMB).

The final cost is (1000×6.68 – 6580)/1000×6.68 = 1.49 %.

Remember: the cheapest option is not always the best way to send money internationally. You may have to trade time or convenience for cost.

Tips for Sending Money to China

When you send money to China, you will find that some methods are faster, safer, and more economical than others.

Here are 7 tips on how to safely send money to China:

1. Use an online money transfer service

If you’re planning to send money to China, be sure to check out the advice of an online money transfer expert.

Because sending money online is so easy and secure, you can create an account, get a real-time quote, and pay via credit or debit card, or in some cases, via cash voucher or local bank transfer.

2. Check the currency rules in China

In China, there are some restrictions related to receiving funds. So, before you make a transfer, you need to ask your recipient in China which currency they can accept for the transfer.

For more information about currency rules in China, you can contact Yansourcing, a China sourcing agent specialist.

3. Compare exchange rates and transfer fees

It will help if you look for a competitive exchange rate service, as the exchange rate will affect your recipient’s final amount in China.

Usually, the higher the amount of money transferred, the higher the exchange rate. All money transfer operators generate revenue through the exchange rate.

In most cases, fees and profit margins are fixed on the exchange rate. And only in a few instances, the profit margin varies between 10% and 15%.

4. Pay through bank transfer

bank transfer

You should know that sometimes there are extra fees for the payment method. For example, if you pay by credit card, you will have a commission of 1.5%-3%.

It turns out that the best way to send money to China is through a local bank transfer. Then, before sending money, you need to make sure that option is available in your country.

5. Know the security issues

What process does the remitter use to verify that the money is being sent to the right person?

You may want to send money to China and know if the money will arrive safely and if the right person will receive it. Remember to have a confirmation or tracking number.

6. Know how long it will take to send the money to China

Did you know that sending money to China through a qualified bank can sometimes be done in minutes?

You may need to send money immediately, so knowing when the recipient will receive the funds is important.

7. Investigate sending duplicate amounts

Some money transfer services will allow you to schedule payments before a specific date. All you need to do is register with your bank and provide them with the information.

Some services allow you to earn rewards, which can be especially helpful if you send repeat money. You’ll need to become a member; registration is free. If the transaction qualifies, you will receive credit for the fees charged.

Send Money to China FAQ

1. Can I send money to China?

Of course. There are many ways to send money to China, even if there are strict regulations in China.

2. How can I send money to China?

Bank transfers, Western Union, PayPal, and Wise, are all considered the best ways to send money to China.

3. Can I send money to China with PayPal?

Yes. PayPal accounts can send money to China if the recipient also uses a PayPal account.

4. When sending money to China, which is the cheapest way?

For now, we have to recommend Wise because our clients have been using it for years, saving the money we never thought possible.

In short, Wise (formerly Transferwise) allows you to send money to China using the official currency transfer rate. You only pay a percentage of the amount sent (which is very reasonable).

5. Can save time by using Wise to send money to China?

Yes, in addition to saving money, another advantage of Wise is that your money transfer will reach China (or any country you want to send money to) much faster than traditional banking channels.

6. Which bank is best for international money transfers?

Wells Fargo is at the top of the list for international money transfers.

Send Money to China Conclusion

There are many ways to send money to China, but we must be very careful in each case. So, you need to consider the costs and risks involved when weighing your options.

Some options may seem cheap but carry huge risks. Others are costly and time-consuming but offer more security.

At last, I hope you enjoyed my article and can find the best and cheapest way to send money to China. Either way, please let me know in the quick comments below.

I am Yan, the founder of Yansourcing, the best sourcing agent in China, who can quickly and safely help you buy and import from China. If you need help sourcing from China, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Hi, I'm the author of this post, and I have been in the sourcing field for more than 10 years. If you are interested in importing from China, feel free to ask me any questions.

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