Banking and Finance

Transferwise in China: How to Send Money To & From China

July 27, 2021

Over 10 million people around the world rely on Transferwise (now known as Wise) to transfer money to friends, family, and businesses outside of their home country. The platform, which is free and easy to use, allows you to spend and send money abroad for seven times cheaper than using a traditional bank account transfer.

However, many people aren’t quite sure if there is Transferwise in China or whether or not you can transfer money from China and to China with a US bank account. The answer is...yes! Transferwise (again, now it’s called just Wise, but sometimes it can get confusing since the change is newer) works in China and allows you to send and receive money internationally.

Here’s what to know about how to initiate a wire transfer to China from the US via Wise.

What is Transferwise?

Transferwise was created in 2011 and recently rebranded as Wise in February of 2021. While the company started out as a simple money transfer platform similar to PayPal, the recent rebrand includes a build out into three distinct areas of the business:

  • Wise: This is what you would use as an individual to send and receive money from international accounts.
  • Wise Business: This is similar to a personal account but specifically built for businesses that frequently send and accept payments internationally. Again, it’s somewhat similar to a PayPal Business account.
  • Wise Platform: This is a sort of ecosystem that allows banks and financial companies to access the Wise framework for payment purposes.

Really, all you need to know as an individual user is that the platform is free and easy to use. To get started, you simply have to create a free account and connect your bank account or debit card information.

What’s the point if you can make a regular international bank transfer via your regular bank? You save on fees with Wise! And, it just makes things a whole lot easier. 

In most countries, you’re able to avoid foreign transaction fees and bank markups by using Wise instead. Plus, it also allows you to receive international payments like pension payouts and international client payments with ease.

Does Wise Work in China?

Yep! Wise works in China, allowing you to:

  • Send money at the real exchange rate (no markups with Wise) to and from international bank accounts
  • Receive payments like a local in nine currencies
  • Convert and hold up to 54 currencies in your Wise account

It’s important to note that the ability to receive payments in nine currencies is only for accounts created in China. This varies from country to country. 

If you create your account and hold your normal bank account in Spain, for example, you have the ability to receive payments in a total of ten currencies. And, you’re also able to access a Wise debit card which allows you to spend money freely in 200 countries around the world using Apple Pay and Google Pay. This isn’t something that’s yet available for account holders in China, however.

How to Wire Money to China

Using Wise to wire money to China is super easy. Seriously, it’s only about three steps.

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

Wise makes things easy and provides you with a handy calculator that helps you see and compare the fees before you even start thinking about sending anything. Simply enter the amount you wish to send in USD and then search for the currency in which the recipient’s account is in. In this case, that’d likely be the Chinese Yuan.

Once you do that, you’ll be able to choose the method that suits you best and then Wise will tell you how much the total fees are (minimal in most cases, just see the breakdown below!) and when the money is expected to arrive.

Simply click through to complete the transfer and it will take a few seconds to process. Assuming there is no issue with your bank, it’ll likely be approved immediately and voila!

What about wiring money from China to the US? Unfortunately, that’s not currently supported by Wise. You are only allowed to initiate a transfer from an account that’s in 25 currencies and the Chinese Yuan is not one of those. The Hong Kong Dollar and the Japanese Yen are, though!

How Much Does a Wire Transfer to China Cost?

With your regular US bank account, it could cost quite a bit. In general, banks charge wire transfer fees according to different categories, but categorize them into incoming, outgoing, domestic, and international wire transfer fees.

Outgoing wire transfer fees tend to be more expensive than incoming transfer fees. Major US banks have the following outgoing wire transfer fees, for example:

  • 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

For more information on transfer fees and specific fees, read our guide to Everything You Should Know About Wire Transfer Fees.

Now, how much does a wire transfer to China cost with Transferwise? If you’re in the US, it depends on:

  1. How much you’re going to send, and
  2. What method you’ll use

The great thing about Wise is that they have a helpful transfer calculator tool that tells you exactly how much you can expect to send before you even initiate the transfer. The payment methods that Wise offers currently are:

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

Each of those methods comes with its own fee. For example, when we currently go to send $300 from a US bank account to someone in China with an account in Chinese Yuan, the fees for each of the following above are:

  • Debit card = $3.38 USD
  • Credit card = $11.23 USD
  • Bank debit (ACH) = $0.48 USD
  • Wire transfer = $4.14 USD

On top of those small fees, which you have the option of choosing, the Wise fee varies depending on the amount of money you’re sending. When we go to send $300 in the example above, the Wise fee is $4.37.

Assuming you choose the regular debit card fee, your total fees for sending $300 to China would be only $7.75. Their calculator estimates that that’s currently $14.33 in savings versus initiating the transfer via a traditional bank.

Banking in the US as a Chinese Citizen

Now that you know how to send money to China using Wise, what about setting up a bank account in the US if you’re a Chinese citizen? For most international students, this is a struggle, especially if they’re sending money back home to China or need to pay for something online.

If that’s the case for you then don’t worry; we’ve got you covered! Cheese is designed for everybody, but we place special emphasis on catering to the Asian American community and immigrants. We understand the struggles involved in setting up a bank account in the US without being a citizen.

It’s why we allow you to create a Cheese account with just an established US address, passport, and valid visa.

On top of that, though, we’re mindful of the fees involved with banking. As a student or immigrant, the last thing you want to do is pay costly fees each month. So, we offer these perks:

❌ No Monthly Fee                                    🧀️ $5 cash bonus    

❌ No ATM Fee                                          🧀️ Up to 10% cashback with every purchase/transaction

❌ No Overdraft Fee                                 🧀️ No SSN Required

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

❌ No Minimum Balance Requirement    🧀️ Early Paycheck

While you’ll still need to use Wise to transfer money to China, you can link your Cheese Debit Card to your Wise account and enjoy cashback offers while you spend. 

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