How to make a money transfer in China?
This is a non-language question. I want to get a sum of money from China to the US. I would like to do this with as few fees as possible, hopefully none. The money sum is large enough that I would be very wary of taking it aboard a plane. I'm wondering if anyone has experience with this and has a suggestion?
chrisMay 04, 2011, 04:19 AM
Hi xiaophil. Do you know any Americans in China that have cash back in the US but need RMB on the ground in China, e.g. Americans that might be working in China but still being paid in US dollars back in the States? If so, and assuming you trust them enough, you could give them your RMB in China and ask them to do a simple online US dollar transfer from their bank account in the US to your account in the US. It's also a win-win for you both in terms of exchange rate since you can simply take the mid-point of the buy/sell rates at the bank. Hope this makes sense!
Yep, that is the downside of my cunning plan :-) Alternatively, if you know of any Americans coming to visit China before you leave then maybe just offer to give them your RMB in exchange for an online transfer back in the US, although I'm assuming from your original post that the amounts involved may be more than someone will realistically need on a short trip to China!
bodaweiMay 04, 2011, 01:42 PM
The simplest and cheapest way I have found is to just withdraw the money at an ATM (in Aust) using my Chinese debit card. I have a limit of 20,000 rmb a day. There is no total limit though using this method.
There are two sides to this transaction fee question - what is the per transaction fee taken by the bank for using the ATM, and what exchange rate is used. The exchange rate at an ATM seems to be the best rate I can obtain. The ATM fee at my bank (for using an ATM anywhere outside my city) is, from memory, 5 rmb. The foreign bank apparently does not charge - in Australia if you are levied a fee when using someone else's ATM you have to be advised at the ATM, and this notice does not come up when I withdraw from my Chinese account.
In my experience, if Bodawei is doing it, there is no cheaper way :-). Hopefully it will work in the US. Im pretty sure you can have your bank in China send a transfer or a check to your bank in the US in $US. Ask them what the fee would be. There is a 50,000 RMB per yr limit per person. Bring salary and tax documents. You can carry up to $10,000 in cash on the plane - more if you declare it. I would take the money out, convert to US dollars using one of those guys that hang around the bank with the huge shoulder bags, and carry it home. No oversight that way. Anything is possible in China but nothing is easy.
Just checked my bank records and discovered I was optimistic about the charges - taking out A$100 in Australia cost me about A$2, A$200 cost A$3. Fees reducing as a percentage with size of withdrawal. The 5 RMB fee for ATMs outside your home city applies only in China. Nevertheless the ATM fees charged by my Chinese bank overseas are significantly less than what my Australian bank charges if I use another bank's ATM.
I suspect there is also the often very significant "hidden" charge of doing it this way which is the generally very poor exchange rate they will apply to the transaction. When I say poor, I am of course referring to from your standpoint rather than the bank's :-(
EDIT: sorry bodawei, just seen your post a few above where you'd already discussed the exchange rate used by ATMs. My experience of UK banks is that the rate is not competitive, but it seems Aus banks may be more generous.
'Australian banks may be more generous' - hee hee, that's a good one. :)
But yes in my experience banks give better rates (from a customer's viewpoint) than currency exchange booths, hotels etc. I have noticed recently that even when the Aussie was about US$1.10, currency exchange booths were giving more RMB for US$ than A$. The spread on A$ and CAN$ is enormous, I guess volume has something to do with it.
But the real advantage I am pointing to here is the ease of getting your money out of Chinese accounts. No paperwork, no bank staff. The low fees are a bonus.