The U.S. and China are respectively the first and second largest economies in the world. The value of trade between both countries is enormous, over $630 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This enormous trade means there’s a constant need for people in China to send money to the U.S. and vice versa. This article will show you how to easily send money from China to the U.S.
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Options for Sending Money from China to the U.S.
There are several options for sending funds from China to the U.S. The most common are using a bank or a transfer agent like Moneygram or Western Union. Online money transfer is another viable method.
If you have a Chinese bank account, you can visit your local bank branch to initiate a wire transfer to an account domiciled in the U.S. Most Chinese banks are connected to the SWIFT system, which stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications. It’s a messaging system that financial institutions around the globe use to send instructions to each other.
You can send funds from your local bank account to one in the U.S. using the SWIFT system. It usually takes 1 to 5 days to settle because the money may pass through several intermediary banks before reaching its intended destination. But note that the Chinese government caps the amount you can send to $500 unless you show proof of income. Foreigners who present relevant documents can remit funds without this limit.
To send less than $500, you’ll need to present:
- A valid passport with a residential visa;
- Your bank card and details, including bank name, account name and account number for both you and the recipient;
- The unique SWIFT code of the recipient’s bank.
To remit over $500 requires more documentation, including:
- A valid passport with a residential visa and work permit;
- Bank details of you and the recipient;
- SWIFT code of the recipient’s bank;
- Monthly tax receipts (depending on the amount you want to send);
- An original copy of your employment contract with an official seal;
- Payroll slips.
Foreign wire transfers incur a service charge that’s usually between RMB 80 and RMB 150.
Through a Transfer Agent
You can send funds through a dedicated money transfer agent like Moneygram or Western Union. However, these agents do not have outlets everywhere in China. You can visit the agent’s website to see where their outlets are located.
Sending through a wire agent is similar to a bank transfer but with a faster speed. You can expect the transaction to settle within less than an hour. However, agents take higher fees compared to banks using the SWIFT system. You’ll also need to provide similar documentation, just as you’d do with banks.
Understanding China’s Currency Controls
The Chinese government exercises significant control over the movement of capital in and out of its borders. In 2018, the government reduced the daily limit on U.S. dollar withdrawals for both local residents and foreigners from $5,000 to $3,000. It also requires banks to put customers that make frequent foreign exchange withdrawals on a “watchlist.” Similarly, overseas withdrawal from a Chinese bank account is limited to RMB 100,000 or USD 15,000 in total and RMB 10,000 daily.
Because of the currency controls, you may find it difficult to send money from China to the U.S. compared to other countries.
The American and Chinese economies are growing, so trade between both countries is bound to expand. The foundation of this trade is financial institutions enabling individuals and corporations to send money between countries. We’ve shown you the best ways to send money from China to the U.S. What you should worry about is finding a suitable banking partner that’ll let you remit foreign currencies, e.g., Silverbird.