Whether you’re an ESL teacher, an embassy worker or a stay-at-home parent, as a foreigner you’ll probably need to know how to send money from China at some point. Here’s a full guide to the best, cheapest and quickest ways!

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The best way to send money home from China is by using SkyRemit. Not only is it safe, but it’s cheap, easy and fast – you can literally have the money in your home account in minutes once you have set up everything correctly! Here are the basic steps to using SkyRemit; or keep scrolling for a more in-depth guide!

  1. Upload your tax and salary documents to the app
  2. Choose payment method (AliPay, WeChat or bank transfer)
  3. Send money to safety account
  4. Confirm exchange rate
  5. Receive money!

Sign up to SkyRemit now to receive your first transfer for free!

How To Send Money From China

If you’re living and working abroad, the chances are that you’ll want to send at least some of your money back to your home country to cover bills, add to your savings or maybe just to be able to spend money on an international card.

Sending money from China used to be difficult, time-consuming or expensive – or all three! However, since SkyRemit has burst onto the market, it now could not be easier to send your money home. If you don’t want to or can’t use SkyRemit – maybe you don’t have tax documents as you’re here on a marriage visa for example – there are other options still if you need to send money from China.

You might come across different currency codes so just make sure you’re aware that RMB and CNY are the same thing! RMB stands for renminbi, which is the official name of China’s currency. CNY stands for Chinese Yuan, and is the official abbreviation of the currency. They are the same thing!

Read More: 8 Reasons To Move To Beijing Now


SkyRemit

This is by far the best option if you have money you need to send from China! It’s a relatively new concept because the laws on moving Chinese currency internationally have recently become more relaxed. Now, it’s our go-to when we want to send some of our salary back to the UK. Check it out here and receive a free transfer.

It is getting easier for foreign nationals every year in China to do things that the locals take for granted – for example, we can now add international cards to AliPay and WeChat which means that you can actually pay for things via QR card as soon as you arrive rather than worrying about using physical cash. No one uses notes or coins here anymore – since our latest return in August, I haven’t even seen real money!

Register here and get your first transfer completely free!

It’s quite a simple process – you need to register and verify your identity, send your money to a safeguarding account, fill in your international banks details and confirm the exchange rate. That’s it! Your money will be sent over pretty quickly with on fuss!

Is It Safe?

This was our first concern when we were introduced to SkyRemit, but the credentials on their website quickly reassured us. They are regulated by The People’s Bank of China, which means that they are allowed to assist with salary remittance for foreigners.

Who Can Use It?

SkyRemit is open to anyone who pays tax on a salary earned in China, as well as a work visa. This means that if you aren’t working – perhaps you’re a stay-at-home parent married to someone working – then you’ll need to send money home in a different way.

It’s important to note that you can’t just move money between countries without good reason so you’ll be restricted to limits and maybe questioned at the bank if you’re sending money that your partner has earned instead of yourself.

Documents You’ll Need

You’ll need a visa that allows you to work in China, but seeing as you are looking to send money back to your home country, you probably have one!

You will also need documents to prove your earnings and the tax you pay on them. The easiest way to do this is to download the tax app onto your phone. You can also go to the tax office (we used to do this every month before we knew about the app!) but there really is no point.

To find the tax app, search 个人所得税. This is what it looks like in the App Store:

Chinese tax app

The only time you might need to go to the tax office is when you set up the app for the first time. If you are lucky like us, someone from your HR department will be able to go for you as it can be quite tricky to get the correct document (if you don’t speak Chinese).

They’ll give you a code to enter into the app (it only lasts for 7 days so make sure you don’t forget about it) and you can start the registration process.

Tax Documents

Your tax documents will determine how much money you can send home. The amount will increase every month that you pay tax on your salary, and you don’t have to send it all at once – it accumulates so don’t worry about losing the opportunity to send cash home.

For example, if you earn 20,000 RMB in January and you are taxed 2000 RMB, you will then be free to send home 18,000 RMB. If you do this monthly, you’ll always be able to send home your after-tax salary. However, if you decide in February that you don’t want to send money home from China, then in March, you’ll be able to send home 36,000 RMB as you will have paid tax on two month’s salary.

Here is a quick guide to downloading these important tax documents once you’ve registered and signed into the app:

  1. Click the green button (Issue/view tax records)
  2. Choose the time period that you want your records to show (if you’ve never done this before then pick the longest time possible in order for you to be able to send the maximum amount)
  3. Move the slider across and then click the blue button (generate tax records)
  4. Click on the save icon (the file should be saved in your photo album or wherever your downloads are kept)

Salary Proof

To make sure that your tax records are legit, SkyRemit also needs proof that your salary is the correct amount that you’re paying tax on. For this, you’ll need to return to the homepage of the tax app:

  1. Click on the purple button (income tax details)
  2. Click on the year that you have tax records for and then the blue button (enquire)
  3. Take a screenshot of the next page that comes up

How It Works

When you sign up for the first time, you’ll have to verify your identity. You can visit the website or go directly through the WeChat account. We now sign in with WeChat and complete all of our transactions from our phones.

You’ll need to upload photos of your passport, resident permit, tax records and income proof, as well as give details like your phone number, address and bank details. It’s all pretty straight forward but you’ll need to wait a few days for the process to be completed before you can start sending money home from China.

SkyRemit makes it pretty simple to transfer your money to an international bank account. Here is what happens to your money at each step!

  1. Visit the WeChat account and click ‘Remit’, then ‘Send Money’.
  2. Make sure your transfer limit is correct i.e. the amount of money that you have already paid tax on.
  3. Write in the ‘CNY’ box how much you’d like to send and then make sure the second box is in the currency you want to receive. Check the exchange rate (but there will be a point where you confirm this later).
  4. Put in your international details. You can’t send money to someone else’s international account – it must be your own! This information will be saved for next time, so the longest it will ever take you is the very first time!
  5. Choose how you want to move the money. You can use AilPay but there is an extra fee so I’d recommend just using your bank.
  6. Copy all of the details of the safeguarding account to your banking app. Make sure you translate everything if you can’t read Chinese because it needs to be exact. Don’t forget to put the transaction number in as a reference to track which payment this is.
  7. Send the money from your bank to the safeguarding account using the details above.
  8. Tell SkyRemit you have transferred the funds by clicking on that option.
  9. Check SkyRemit regularly for a message about the confirmation of your transaction. Agree to the exchange rate.
  10. Wait for your money to reach your international bank – this is usually within minutes of accepting the exchange rate.

Extra Information

  • You need to move your money to the safeguarding account that is unique to you. The money is moved there so that it can then be transferred to an international account. The government requires companies like SkyRemit to use a safeguarding account to protect people’s money.
  • If there are any problems during the process, or you’re worried about how long it’s taking, go back and click ‘Help’ to be transferred to their Customer Service chat. Someone will respond relatively quickly in English and they are really helpful. Just make sure you are very clear with what your issue is and they will be able to help. Provide screenshots if you can to speed things up.
  • You might have a daily limit from your bank on how much you can spend. This is typically 20,000 – 30,000 so if you’re sending more than that, speak to your bank to see if they can increase it. If not, just send multiple transactions to the safeguarding account over a few days.

Fees

It costs 79RMB to create a transaction and send your money to an international bank account. However, your first transfer is free when you use our code R86965 or click through this link.

If you use Alipay to send the money, they will also charge you a fee of 0.65% each time, in addition to the original SkyRemit fee.

There is also a minimum transfer limit of 500RMB and a maximum of 100,000RMB.

Disadvantages

Honestly?

I can’t think of a single one!

Using SkyRemit has been an absolute game-changer for us. We used to spend hours and hours and hours in the bank each month trying to send home our money legally. This is the first time in 9 years that we haven’t dreaded payday in China and the red tape that went with it!

Click here to sign up or scan the QR below and receive your first transfer free (usually 79RMB)!

Bank

There are two ways to do it if you have money you need to send from China using the bank, and the one you choose will depend on how much you need to send and what documents you have.

  1. If you need to send less than $500 USD, then you can just go to your bank and ask them to do it. Take your passport and ask for them to complete the transaction.

    I wouldn’t recommend doing this every month though as they might start asking questions as to where you’re getting the money from without having tax documents to prove you’ve earned it!
  2. Take your tax documents, your work contract, a payslip with your employer’s stamp on it and your passport. Try to find a bank with staff who speak English as it tends to be easier, even with translations! You will be able to send however much money you have paid tax on – just like with SkyRemit – as long as you have proof. Some banks claim that you can’t but that’s just because they don’t know how to do it. ICBC has always been good to us and we have also have good experiences with Bank of Communications.

    Prepare to spend a while at the bank, especially the first time, as many branches aren’t used to doing these type of transactions. They’ll photocopy your documents a hundred times, ask you to put your pin in multiples times and sign reams of paper but once it’s done, you’ll be able to send the money home.

    You need to ask the bank to change your RMB into your currency of choice in the account. For example, we needed GBP so we asked them to change RMB to GBP in the card. It means that you can then move the foreign currency on the app or their online banking. You will be given a card reader to help you sign in online – every bank system is different so ask a member of staff to help you set up online banking/the app when you’re there and take screenshots of the process to send the money internationally so you can do it at home in future.

Fees

Each bank will charge you differently but in our experience with ICBC, it wasn’t too high. We paid around 150 RMB to send home tens of thousands so you won’t ever be completely ripped off.

Always check the fees first but in all honesty, the banks charge fairly.

Disadvantages

The biggest problem with going to the bank is just that – you have to go to the bank! It usually took us around an hour to get everything exchanged (including waiting times so this will depend on what bank and what time you go). Then, we’d need to go home and actually transfer the money on the app so that would add an extra 15 minutes or so as we’d have to translate everything.

You also have the hassle of getting all the documents together. Your employer might be great with their admin and hand over your payslip straight away or it might take a few days. In our first job, we had to travel an hour to the HQ to pick up the payslips!

Wise

Previously known as TransferWise, Wise is a new option for sending money home from China as it has only recently been able to process CNY.

You’ll need to register for an account which is easy enough, and simply put in the amount you want to exchange. You’ll immediately be able to see the exchange rate and the fee that Wise charges. Don’t forget that you’ll have to verify your identity too which could take a few days, so register a little before you need the money in an international account!

It’s pretty self-explanatory but here is a helpful video from Wise if you’re a visual person.

If you’re sending from your bank app, there is a 100,000 RMB limit and if you’re sending from Alipay then it’s 50,000.

Click here to register for a Wise account to send your money home.


Swapsy

This method came about a few years ago and while it is helpful in theory, it’s not always useful when it comes to the idea of how to transfer money!

It’s a simple idea – there are people all over looking to send money in different currencies, so Swapsy matches those people and they just exchange money using e-wallets such as WeChat Pay, Alipay, Paypal and Zelle.

You can only ‘swap’ $1000 per transaction and you can only send $5000 per month.

You’ll have to be registered and verified, and this helps with the safety of the transaction as you know you’re swapping with someone who has also been verified.

It’s great if you are looking for USD as currently this is the only foreign currency that Swapsy offers to exchange. So, if you have CNY and you need USD, then great. If, like us, you don’t need dollars, then you’d have to find another way of exchanging again which can add up in fees! We would usually use PayPal to do this but as you can imagine, we spent a lot!

Take a look and register here.

Paypal/Western Union

These are really only a last resort if you can’t send money home from China in any other way. They’re easy to use but expensive.

For Paypal, sign up here and for Western Union, click here.

I honestly wouldn’t recommend using these if you can help it!

Read More: How Much Does It Cost To Live In Beijing


Sending money home from China used to be quite difficult but now it’s super convenient and very cheap too! We’d highly recommend using SkyRemit as we send money back to the UK each month with it and had never had any problems. Don’t forget that you can get your first transfer free (usually 79RMB) if you click this link!