Reply To: How to Take Money Home from China

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Whether you want to transfer your savings to a bank account in your country or just want spending money for a trip home, read on for some of the simplest ways to transfer cash.

International Bank Transfer

Sending money by international bank transfer is actually relatively easy. To complete an international transfer you will need:

Your bank card and all the details of the account you are transferring money from.

Full details of the account you are transferring money to.

Your passport.

Changing Money:

While transferring money is not too difficult, the hard part is changing money from RMB into your currency of choice. There are two ways to do this.

You can ask a trusted Chinese friend to help you change the money. A Chinese ID card holder can change RMB relatively easily.

You can change the money yourself. You will need:

An application form

Your passport

Your employment permit

Your work contract

Monthly income slips

Receipts from any taxes you have paid (you may need to ask your HR department for these, if they cannot provide them, ask HR for the address of your local tax bureau, and remember to bring your passport when you visit the bureau)

Using your Chinese ATM card outside of China

Fortunately, UnionPay cards are widely accepted in many countries. This can be an extremely convenient way to access money outside China.

You’ll want to be sure that your country’s ATMs accept UnionPay. You can find a list of countries/ regions accepting UnionPay cards here. The availability of ATMs that accept ATM cards may vary from country to country, though this page reports that 90 percent of ATMs in the USA now accept the cards.

‘You can use a UnionPay card at more or less any ATM in the UK now,’ wrote jzzzzzzz in this informative thread.

Fees, exchange rates and the best way of transferring your cash

‘Because they charge a fee per transaction,’ wrote chingiskhan in our forums, referring to withdrawing money from UK ATMs ( though the advice could apply equally to using ATMs in other countries), ‘it’s really important to take the largest possible amount each time…if you are doing a really large amount, I recommend the old fashioned way of converting in China and then wiring the money. It cost me less than 100 RMB to wire 50,000 RMB whereas it would have cost me 100 RMB just in transaction fees (not counting the 1% fee of 500 RMB if I used the ATM method). ‘

As chingiskhan recommends, for transferring a large amount of savings home, a bank transfer can still be the best value method.

For short trips home, using an ATM in your own country to access your Chinese bank account can be a good option; just make sure that using a UnionPay card will be possible in the destination you’re heading to.