How to Transfer Money Overseas from China

How to Transfer Money Overseas from China
Dec 15, 2017 By Western Union ,

When you tell someone you need to to transfer money overseas from China, you always get that same look of pity. They clearly know what lies ahead.

Trying to send money to a foreign country from China is one of the most frustrating experiences you can have in life. This is why we (at Western Union) have come up with another method to transfer decent sums of cash overseas.

send money from china 
Photo: Wikimedia

However, before we dive into our latest solution, let’s first look at the options we have so far:

PayPal: You can use a Chinese PayPal account set-up with your Union Pay bank account to transfer money abroad from China.

We already know that once you go through the signing process you can transfer money to any other PayPal account around the world. However, even though the transfer is instant, it takes a couple days before you can withdraw the money from your virtual wallet into your bank account. PayPal also charges a 5% cross border fee due to extra costs involved in processing multi-currency payments. This means it’s okay for small transactions but can work out to be very expensive for sending large amounts overseas. 

Alipay: Unfortunately, this option is only available to people living in China with a Chinese bank account. If you have one of these or a local friend you can trust, this is a great way to transfer money home from China.

We’ve described exactly how to do this in a previous article. If you haven’t read it, here it is:  How To Send Money Abroad With Alipay

Essentially, all the customer needs is the bank’s details from home. It will take 2-3 days for the money to arrive in your home account. 

Wire Transfer: The most terrifying option! Firstly, the choice of bank and the cashier are very important. Most Chinese bank staff may have no idea how to deal with foreign wire transfers, so they will either say it can’t be done or make you repeat everything so many times you’ll want to shoot yourself. Make sure they can communicate with you in English.

Secondly, foreigners are restricted to only sending a measly USD 500 per day in comparison to Chinese nationals who can send up to USD 50,000 per year. Fees-wise it is also more expensive, with each transfer averaging around RMB 300 per USD 500. It can also take up to a week for the money to arrive in the other person’s account. If you go for this option, don’t forget your passport and the will to waste a few hours of your life!

Sending a Bank Card Home: Opening a second account and sending the bank card back home can work, but there are sticky points. You need to check whether there are Union Pay ATMs near your home (you can check the website), and whether or not the bank card will work outside of China. There have been some issues with newer cards not working overseas. Finally, how will you get the card home? You will need to be creative on this note.

Foreign withdrawals and the FX rates are comparative to rates. Unfortunately, however, there could be restrictions on this for foreign withdrawals of over RMB 1000, as these will be tracked by the government.

And finally, withhold: Western Union!

There are many different money transfer companies, but Western Union is the biggest, most trustworthy and recognized all over the world. This option is the best if you don’t have a Chinese friend, lover or companion to help you.

Unlike other options that take 3-5 days to complete the transfer, money sent through Western Union is immediately available, making it a great choice if you’re in a hurry or a crisis (like losing your wallet or passport).

We highly recommend SPD bank (SHANGHAI PUDONG DEVELOPMENT BANK) for the utilization of this service as they are working closely with Western Union and have a greater understanding of the process than other banks. 

What is so good about  Western Union?


Money is available to the receiver minutes after being sent.


Serving consumers for over 140 years worldwide and being backed by an advanced and comprehensive financial network makes our process reliable and straightforward.


Over 500,000 Service Provider locations in over 200 countries and territories around the world. In China, over 28,000 Service Provider locations across 31 municipalities, autonomous regions and provinces. Convenient for you to collect/send the money at nearest location. 


A one-time fee is paid by the sender and the receiver pays no fees.

Western Union also has an offer running through December to make your life super convenient over the holidays!

From now until March 31st, 2018, you can send Western Union® Money Transfer℠  transactions at SPDB to enjoy transfer fees from as little as USD 15 for USD 5,000.

This promotional charge applies to the SPD Bank locations in Shanghai City (a total of 128 locations).

Please refer to the website to see the FULL list of service locations and disclaimers.

Whether you’re transferring money to your family, for a birthday surprise, doing a good holiday deed or growing your start-up business, Western Union can help you transfer money abroad from China.

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Keywords: send money from China transfer money from China


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There is a website called "vpayfast" can help to transfer money overseas from China...

Oct 24, 2018 15:17 Report Abuse



$500 US/day is more than $50 000 US/year. There are many "facts" listed here that are not accurate. That's why I don't use Western Union.

Dec 19, 2017 15:24 Report Abuse