Banking and Finance

How to Send Money from China to the USA

July 27, 2021

Did you know that the combined inhabitants from China and the USA account for nearly 23% of the world’s entire population? That’s billions of people with family, friends, and business contacts all over the world. Surely, at least a few of them would need to, at some point, send money internationally, right?

Right! Five years ago, the international money transfer market passed $530 billion annually and has continued to grow since then. Simply put, people need to send money abroad quite frequently in today’s digital world and are looking for cheap, easy solutions to do so.

If you’re reading this then we’re guessing you’re one of those people. Looking for how to send money from China to the USA and vice versa? We’ve got answers! And, they won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

What to Know About Money Transfers

Money transfers tend to be one of the most expensive fees that banks charge. In fact, we’ve written a helpful guide on Everything You Should Know About Bank Transfer Fees

Basically, when you go to transfer money internationally (or even domestically) straight from your bank, they’ll charge you a hefty one-time fee to do so. Then, they’ll often markup the exchange rate as well. Just take a look at some of the major banks’ outgoing transfer fees in the US:

  • Bank of America: $35 international ($45 if sent in US dollars)
  • Wells Fargo: $35 international ($45 if sent in US dollars)
  • Chase: $5 international ($40 if sent in US dollars)
  • Citibank: $35 international
  • US Bank: $50 international

However, we will note that wire transfers are often a very secure way to send money, especially internationally. But, in 2021, you’ve got plenty of choices aside from simply sending it straight from your bank. And, most of those choices are actually a lot cheaper.

How to Send Money from China

Let’s say you want to send money from China to the US. Your options might seem limited as that seems like a long way to send money, right? Not in today’s digital age. Sure, you can transfer money to a Chinese bank account and pay the outgoing wire transfer fee. Or, you could use a digital payment app to send money back and forth to China.

Let’s first talk about how to send money from China to another country using a digital payment app like Samsung Pay. Google Pay is currently only available in the US, India, and Singapore, leaving Samsung Pay as a great alternative.

Way back in 2016, Samsung Pay became available to users in China via an alliance with China UnionPay. This means that if you’re trying to send money from an account in China to another friend in China, you should be able to do so! Be sure to check that your version of a Samsung phone is eligible for Samsung Pay first.

While Samsung Pay is a great option for those within China, it won’t allow you to send payments from China to the US, for example, or most other places in the world. In this case, you’d want to check out Swapsy or AliPay.

Alipay is one of the most popular payment platforms in China and will allow you to send money from China to a US bank account, or any account in USD. However, do be advised that there is a transaction fee involved, which you can learn more about here.

Similarly, you can also use Swapsy to send money from China to an international friend or family member. In recent years, Swapsy has become one of the easiest ways to send money from China to other countries as it allows users to exchange currencies via digital wallets. This includes Zelle, PayPal, the aforementioned Alipay and, of course, Wechat Pay.

How to Send Money to China

Sending money to China is slightly easier, particularly if you’re in the US and your bank account is in US dollars. Perhaps the easiest way is to sign up for Wise (formerly known as Transferwise).

To use Wise in order to send money to China, you’ll just head over to the Wise website and:

  1. Create a Wise account (it’s free).
  2. Connect your payment method, which involves connecting your bank account or linking a debit or credit card.
  3. Initiate the transfer.

Before you start the transfer, we suggest checking out their helpful calculator. Simply put USD as the main currency and change the recipient’s currency to Chinese Yuan. Wise will then let you choose the payment method, which can be:

  • Debit card
  • Credit card
  • Bank debit (ACH)
  • Wire transfer

Each of those methods comes with its own fee. And, that fee varies depending on how much money you’re sending. When sending large amounts of money abroad, the fee is obviously going to be slightly higher. 

For example, when you go to send $300 (currently), the fee for using your debit card for the money transfer is just over $3 USD. The fee for using the bank debit (ACH) method is just under 50 cents! As a heads up, using a credit card usually incurs the most expensive fee.

The Best Way to Send Money from China to the USA for Chinese Citizens

Sending money from China or to China is a breeze if you follow the steps laid out above. However, what happens if you come to the US from China (or any other country for that matter) and don’t have a bank account in the US? You’ll likely need to send money back home every once in a while and you’ll need a US bank account to do that.

Simply sign up for a Cheese Debit Card! We designed Cheese for everybody, but especially for those of you who have trouble setting up a bank account as an immigrant or international student. It’s why we allow you to create a Cheese account with just an established US address, passport, and valid visa. 

Cheese Debit Card is a great way to bulk up your savings and earn a little extra cash to cover the costs of wire transfer fees in the future. What’s more, Cheese waives one incoming wire transfer fee each calendar year.

To create your Cheese account, simply download the mobile banking app for iOS or Android. We’ll ask a few questions and then you should be approved immediately. Once you are, you’ll have access to a digital card (the physical one will come in the mail shortly!) and all of these perks:

❌ No Monthly Fee                                    🧀️ International Wire Transfer    

❌ No ATM Fee                                          🧀️ No SSN Required

❌ No Overdraft Fee                                 🧀️  $5 Cash Bonus

❌ No Insufficient Fund Fee                     🧀️ Up to 3% Saving Bonus

❌ No Minimum Balance Requirement    🧀️ Up to 10% cashback with every purchase/transaction

Download the Cheese mobile banking app for either iOS or Android to get started.