How to send money to China from USA

By   |   Verified by Andrew Boyd   |   Updated Aug. 18, 2023

USA to CNY China.
  • Need to do an international transfer money to China?
  • Discover cheaper ways to do currency transfers USD to CNY (Chinese Yuan) than most US banks.
  • Learn what to look for when choosing the a money transfer platform.

Are you looking for ways to send money from the United States to China? This article details your options. We'll give you a breakdown of the costs and times involved with using different financial services for the transaction.

Reasons for money transfers to China

  • Sending money to family or friends.
  • Purchasing property in China.
  • Paying suppliers in China or settling with business partners.
  • Covering university or school fees for kids.
  • Contributing towards marriage costs.
  • Making charitable donations.

Why you shouldn't send money using your bank

Sending money to China using your bank is the most expensive option. If you're sending amounts over $5,000, a bank wire is safe and secure. However, it's costly and may take up to 5 days to clear in the recipient's account.

Suppose you need to send money to China quickly in order to pay for an immediate expense. In that case, you have better options. Retail money transfer companies like TransferGo, Azimo, Western Union, and Remitly offer faster transfer times and lower transaction costs than banks.

Is it safe to use a money transfer company?

The money transfer companies on the Finty list of preferred partners all have solid reputations. These companies provide fast transfer times with affordable fees, making them excellent alternatives to bank wire transfers.

USD / China RMB exchange rates

When sending money through a bank wire or a retail transfer service, you'll have to pay the transaction fees, along with a "margin" rate on the currency swap.

The bank or transfer service will quote you slightly under the spot rate for the currency. This strategy allows them to capture a commission for processing the transaction.

Typically, retail money transfer services have lower costs than banks. However, e-wallet services and pay cards are also low-cost alternatives to bank wires.

It's important to note that China banned the use of cryptocurrency.

What are the fees?

The banks and online transfer companies charge commissions and transaction costs on your transfer. Here's what you can expect to pay.

What is a typical fee?

Along with the margin rate, the bank or online transfer company will also charge transaction costs for processing the deal. These costs vary between vendors. Banks are the most expensive option, with transfer fees typically accounting for 5% of the total amount sent.

On average, you'll pay between $25 to $65 in transaction fees while the recipient will pay a $15 to $30 fee for receiving the money in their bank account. Costs are more affordable using online transfer companies, but the recipient will have to visit a partner location to access the funds.

Can fees be avoided?

You can circumvent these costs using e-wallet services like Alipay and WeChat Pay. Typically, these services cost only a fraction of a bank wire or retail transfer. However, the recipient has to be familiar with these services for a successful transfer.

Minimum and maximum transfer amounts

Retail money transfer companies typically put limits of between $7,000 to $10,000 on all transactions. This strategy helps the company comply with AML laws that prevent money laundering through its service. If you want to send larger amounts, your best option is through a wire transfer.

Payment apps like WeChat Pay and Alipay require the user to verify their identity before sending larger amounts, and pay cards also require a KYC process for amounts over $2,000. Check with your recipient to find out which payment option they prefer.

Alternative ways to send money to China

Pay cards are one of the most popular options for sending money to China. You can link the card to your debit card or bank account and top up your recipient whenever you like. However, the costs of these cards can be expensive, especially for reusable ones.

E-wallets are gaining popularity, with Alipay and WeChat Pay being a favorite option for Chinese youth. It's important to note that cryptocurrency was banned in China and is no longer accepted as a viable payment method for sending money into the country.

Business vs. personal considerations

If you're sending money to a business in China, it's a good idea to follow proper channels and use a bank transfer. A bank transfer ensures you fully comply with KYC and AML protocols and your money gets to its intended destination.

If your recipient is collecting funds from a money transfer service, they need to provide their ID or passport to prove their identity and hand over their cellphone number to comply with KYC protocols.


How can I fund my money transfer?

There are several options to send money to China. Bank wire transfers, retail money sending services, pay cards, and e-wallets are all viable options – check with your recipient to see which method they prefer. Bank wires are the most expensive option, while e-wallets offer you the lowest costs.

How fast can my money transfer be sent to China?

Bank transfers can take up to 5 business days to reflect in the recipient's account. Retail money sending services can take up to one to three business days. The fastest option is an e-wallet transfer, with the money reflecting in less than an hour with most services.

What are the money collection options?

If your recipient receives a transfer from a retail money transfer service, they have a range of collection options around China. The recipient can collect their cash from any partner location. If you're sending via a wire transfer or e-wallet services, the money reflects directly in their account.

Are there any tax considerations?

For 2021, the IRS has allowed US citizens a $15,000 gift allowance ($30,000 for couples). Sending more than this amount exposes you to tax issues; consult with your CPA for advice.