How to legally transfer money outside of China

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You’ve worked hard to fill your bank account with lots of bright red bills, and now, for some reason or another, you want to send that money home. The first thing you should know is that China is not a fan of the money leaving the countrySo it is wise to read and follow the law as much as possible when sending money overseas.

Unfortunately, rumors abound on this subject, and we wanted to take this opportunity to clear things up. Below are some common questions and answers on how to legally transfer your money abroad:

Is it true that foreigners can only trade / transfer up to $ 500 per day?

It is true that all foreigners are allowed to trade up to $ 500 per day with nothing more than a passport to prove their identity. This has led to many foreigners (illegally) bothering a Chinese friend for help, or even using Western Union or similar services which often charge a high percentage for each transfer.

But in fact, foreigners can transfer large amounts of money abroad through a bank as long as they can prove they earned it legally. There may always be a charge, but it’s usually a small flat fee.

What should I bring to the bank when making the transfer?

In addition to your passport with a valid work visa, you will need to provide documents proving that you have paid taxes on the income you wish to transfer. Typically, your business will automatically take this money out of your paycheck and should be able to provide a document showing how much tax you paid at the end of the year. This document is sufficient proof that you have paid your taxes and will tell the bank teller how much money you are legally allowed to send abroad.

What if I haven’t received proof of tax payment from my business?

If you have not worked in China for a full year, this document may not have been provided to you. In this case, ask your employer if they are able to provide you with your 完税 证明 wánshuì zhèngmíng (proof of tax receipt).

What about other ways that don’t require tax proof?

Some foreigners have been lucky with Alipay to transfer money abroad, and the app charges a fixed fee as well. However, we cannot fully recommend this method because doing too much can send red flags to your bank, and therefore to the authorities.

On the other hand, there is nothing stopping you from transferring money to someone else’s Chinese account while they are transferring foreign currency to your overseas account. This is the idea behind the app called Swapsy, as we saw earlier. This app accepts payments through WeChat and Alipay, but unfortunately it might not be very useful if you don’t have a US bank account.

And of course, there is nothing that cannot be done with WeChat. If the above methods are not for you, ask around for a currency exchange group to help you find someone willing to exchange the RMB for the currency of your choice.

Can I take cash with me on a flight?

If you happen to leave China anyway, one option is to take some money with you and exchange it overseas. Please be aware that as of August 1, 2019, Chinese Customs will actively investigate any traveler entering or exiting China with more than $ 20,000. You can read more about it here.

Can I withdraw money with my Union Pay card abroad?

Again, if you are already leaving China, instead of worrying about transferring money or putting wads of cash in your bag, simply remove it directly with your card: the standard exchange fee of $ 1. at 2% of bank cards are exempt when withdrawing via Union Pay. global network, so while you may be subject to an ATM fee, it’s a cheaper option than converting at the airport. In the UK about 40 percent of ATMs accept Union Pay, 60 percent in Australia and the US the rate is over 90 percent. Read more on global access to Union Pay here.

READ: The basics of banking, mobile payments and money transfers in China

Image: SCMP

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