How to send money to bank accounts in China

Money Works By Libby Hakim January 6, 2020

This article was created in partnership with Western Union.

If you need to send money to bank accounts in China from Australia, you’re not alone. There are many reasons people send money between these two countries, from supporting friends or family abroad to buying property, investing, paying for work to be completed or organising their Chinese holiday.

The World Bank estimates that China received US$67 billion in payments from other countries last year, second only to India’s US$79 billion. However, in Australia, the key corridor for these payments — known as remittances — is China. It’s no surprise, given the strong trade ties between the two countries and the fact that Australia is home to more than 1.2 million people of Chinese ancestry, with 41% of those born in China, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

If you plan to send money to bank accounts in China, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind to make sure the process runs smoothly.

Sending money to China

To receive money in person in China, the recipient will need to arrive prepared. That means they need to have the following:

  • A government-issued photo identification document: the China Identification Card, a passport (excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan passports) or a Mainland Travel Permit (for Hong Kong and Taiwan residents only).
  • A money transfer control number, which is a 10-digit reference code assigned to the money transfer (found on the receipt once you send the money and on your Account Activity page for the Western Union transaction when using the Western Union® app.

When sending money with Western Union to China, money can be received online, deposited straight into a bank account or collected in person at a specified agent location. Deposits will be made only in Chinese Yuan, and when sending money with Western Union, the service is only available for individuals, not for companies.

What to know about Chinese banks

With a population of about 1.4 billion, and an area of over 9.5 million square kilometres, China is a vast and varied country. From the capital to Canton, Taipei, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China has more than 100 cities that are home to more than 1 million people. And while moving to cities is the trend, data from the World Bank shows that more than 40% of Chinese residents live in rural areas.

Many banks have partnered with Western Union to ensure money can be collected throughout China, including the following:

  • China Everbright Bank
  • Shanghai Pudong Development Bank
  • Postal Savings Bank of China
  • Bank of China
  • China Construction Bank
  • China Minsheng bank
  • Yantai Bank
  • Jilin Bank
  • Fujian Haixa Bank
  • Zhejiang Tailong Commerical Bank
  • Longjiang Bank
  • Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank
  • Guangxi Beibu Gulf Bank.

The recipient of the funds may, however, need a bank account with an agent bank for receiving money in cash. For example, a bank account is required for:

  • USD/Euro payout at Postal Savings Bank of China
  • USD/Euro payout at China Construction Bank
  • USD payout at China Minsheng Bank, Bank of Jilin and Fujian Haixia Bank
  • Any payout at Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Shanghai branches

The process for collecting money, meanwhile, may vary across the Chinese provinces and from agent to agent.

To prevent fraud and other misuse of banking services, banks use a “Know Your Customer” (KYC) process. This helps them find information about the identity and address of their customers. Another process, known as “Customer Due Diligence” (CDD), helps banks discover information about customers to assess the risk of exposure to illegal activity.

Local regulators and individual banks may take a different approach to KYC and CDD, so it’s important for your recipient to contact their local agent before collecting money.

Withdrawals of a foreign currency may also be subject to tighter controls. According to China Banking News, withdrawals of US$3,000 or more in a single transaction now require proof of need, such as an airline ticket for overseas travel or a health certificate for overseas medical care.

With a little local research and these tips for sending money overseas to China from Australia, the process should be relatively quick and straightforward. When you’re ready to get started with an overseas payment, consider mobile solutions like the Western Union® app.