Send Money to the Philippines from China

Updated June 28, 2011:  The comments after the article contain helpful tips from some Filipinos working in China about sending money to the Philippines. They talk about opening at least 2 accounts in the same bank in China, and then sending one ATM to their families in the Philippines, and advising them to withdraw at ATMs that have the Union Pay or China Union Pay logo.

Send Money from China to the Philippines

Someone asked about sending money from China to the Philippines, so I got curious about this. I’ve not been to China but I have a close friend who worked there for years before migrating to the U.S.

Last week, a Pinay in China wrote to this blog and said that she sent US$150 to her own BDO Kabayan account in the Philippines through a bank wire transfer at Bank of China. She said she paid the bank 200 rmb (Chinese yuan renminbi) for the transfer. She later discovered that BDO also charged her about 900 pesos. If we use the exchange rates of US$1=44.26 pesos and 1 RMB=6.63 pesos, she paid a total of 2,256 pesos to send 6,639 pesos to the Philippines! That’s more than one-third of the amount she sent! This Pinay later wrote she’s going to try MoneyGram, and she said she’s going to write again.

I also asked my friend about how she sent money to the Philippines when she was still working in China. She said that she first converts her yuan or rmb to $US. How? By asking her American friends who have US dollar bank accounts in China to withdraw some of their dollars and change her yuans to US dollars. She said that sometimes she also used the black market. According to her and to expats’ stories, there are people who have US dollar accounts in China who wait for customers at bank lobbies and who converts yuans to US dollars. She warns though that you can lose all or part of your money using the blackmarket.

After getting the dollars, my friend then goes to Western Union to send money. According to some expats, they prefer Western because it doesn’t require too many documents.
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BANK WIRE TRANSFERS

China’s major banks offer wire transfers. They impose their own transfer charges, which is typicaly 200 rmb, as told by several Americans sending from China to the U.S. and by the Pinay in the story above. The receiving banks in the Philippines also impose their own fees.

According to these senders, before you can send money through bank wire transfers, you need to convert your yuans into U.S. dollars. And before you can convert, you need to show documents to show the source of your yuans and that you’ve already paid taxes on them. According to them, the banks typically ask for:

  • passport with residence visa or residence permit
  • employment contract
  • pay slips
  • tax receipts
  • SWIFT code and address of Philippine bank

WESTERN UNION

According to the Western Union China website, you can send money by going to its service providers located in branches of five banks:

  • Postal Savings Bank of China
  • Agricultural Bank of China
  • China Everbright Bank
  • Zhejiang Chouzhou Commercial Bank
  • Bank of Jilin
  • Harbin Bank

Just fill out the SEND MONEY form and show your government-issued ID or other supporting documents. Inform your receiver about:

  • amount sent
  • and the MTCN or Money Transfer Control Number.

Make sure your receiver knows your complete name and that you’re sending from CHINA. You can track your remittance at Western Union’s website. Look for the CHECK STATUS link.

MONEYGRAM

According to the Moneygram China website, it offers remittance services in 410 cities in China. To look for a specific location, just go to the Moneygram China website and click the FIND US button.

In Shanghai, for instance, Moneygram is available at certain branches of:

  • Bank of Communications
  • SZPA SH
  • ICBC SH
  • CITIC SH

Beijing:

  • Bank of China
  • Citic BJ
  • Bank of Communications
  • ICBC

Guangzhou:

  • Bank of China
  • ICBC
  • CITIC
  • Bank of Communications

Chongqing:

  • Bank of Communications
  • ICBC
  • CITIC

If the transfer cost estimated by MoneyGram’s online Cost Estimator is our basis, then Moneygram would be the cheapest way to send money from China to the Philippines, as it imposes only US$6 on a remittance amount of US$200. It says, however, that the price could vary depending on the location of the MoneyGram provider.

For all transactions, remember to bring the following:

  • ID  (passport, driver’s license, national identity card or a government-issued ID)
  • proof of address (bank statement or utility bill)

additional for bank wire transfers:

  • residence permit or passport with residence visa
  • employment contract
  • pay slips
  • tax receipts

Currency exchange rates vary, depending on MoneyGram, Western Union or the banks. Western Union explicitly says that it also earns from the exchange rate, in addition to its money transfer charges.

INTERNET BANKING

The Internet money transfer service PingTen is not yet available for senders to the Philippines.  Xoom recently discontinued its transfer service in China.

Of course, you can always access your BDO or BPI Internet banking accounts, or other online banking accounts to pay your bills in the Philippines or make transfers to enrolled accounts. You just need to put money into your account through available international money transfer services.

BPI Correspondent Banks in China

BPI lists 18 correspondent banks on its website, some of which are the following:

  • Agricultural Bank of China
  • Bank of China
  • Citibank China
  • DBS Bank China
  • HSBC Bank
  • Standard Chartered Bank China

Disclaimer/Request:   Much research was exerted to make this blogpost, but if you have a different experience, or if you know a better way to send money from China to the Philippines, please share it here so that others may learn from your experience.

16 Comments

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  1. Hi,i hope this is still helpful.Im just staying here in china for almost a year and a friend of us recommended a middle person who sends money in the Phil. Medjo mas mababa kunti ung rate nia sa international exchage rate ng yuan-peso pero mura ung charge nia which is 50rmb and if 10k rmb up is wla ng charge…for more info..just co tact here sa wechat nia…ble ngpapadala sia through bank transfer…and other remitancees
    Ito poh ung wechat id:princejheff
    Wechat name:Shine
    Filipino rin poh sia

  2. Hi! My husband has recently got a job in shenzhen & we been searching ways on how he could send money & cheapest way to send money to the philippines. Maybe you can suggest the best way on how to send.
    Thanks.

  3. HI mISS nORA, AKO RIN PO. ONE OF MY CLIENT WANTS TO SEND HER PAYMENT BUT I DON’T KNOW WHICH ONE IS THE CHEAPEST AND CONVENIENT WAY AND ALSO IT’S HER FIRST TIME TO SEND MONEY ABROAD SO SHE DOESN’T HAVE ANY IDEA. HOPE YOU COULD HELP ME. mORE POWER PO=)

  4. Hi Ms. Nora, I thought this thread is very helpful. I hope you can help me too. My client in China would like to send money to the Philippines. She has an account with Bank of China and mine is Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI). What’s the best way to send money? Is bank wire transfer convenient? Thanks. 🙂

  5. Hi, Nora. I really hope you can help me. I am an ESL tutor who started recently. Now, I have a client in China who wants to pay me directly to be a personal tutor. I have no idea how I could receive her payment. She wants to use wechat but I won’t be able to withdraw it. What’s the cheapest and most efficient way to receive money from China?

  6. How long will it take to receive a fund transfer via bank to bank?

  7. hello i want to ask advice on what is the cheapest way to receive money from china. thank you

  8. Thanks for replying by the way. I so appreciate it. Please don’t get tired of my queeries. I used that routing code you posted, my ATM account is BPI Express Teller , but Paypal says “No data found for the bank identifier”. Please help. I got the PayMaya app now…what’s the routing code for PayMAya please?

  9. Thanks for replying by the way. I so appreciate it. Please don’t get tired of my queeries. I used that routing code you posted, my ATM account is BPI Express Teller , but Paypal says “No data found for the bank identifier”. Please help

  10. Thanks for replying by the way. I so appreciate it
    . Please don’t get tired of my queeries

  11. yes, I believe this what I used. |Should I try again? (010040018 )Please help

  12. Hi Faith, did you use 010040018 as BPI’s routing no.?
    If you like buying from online sites, whether foreign-based or Philippine-based, you can apply for a PayMaya Visa debit card (puedeng virtual card or puedeng physical card). No annual fee. Just 150 pesos for the physical card. No fee if you just apply for the virtual card. Here’s Paymaya info. You can also use PayMaya to verify your Paypal account so it can receive bigger amounts of money.

  13. Hi ,Nora!..I’m having issues with my Paypal as it won’t accept the routing code /swift code given by BPI…so my client now owes me 85USD for the service I rendered…She said if she could just deposit the amount to my bank. Is it ok for her to deposit to my BPI Express Teller Account through the banks you’ve mentioned above(BPI Correspondent Banks in China)?
    By the way,I have 10USD on my Paypal, and I can’t even use it in ordering from Lazada as it will have an error that Paypal can’t pay for orders made in the Philippines. It’s so confusing as signing up for Paypal won’t accept Philippine addresses or numbers….Please help. I feel so stupid about these things.

  14. Hi ,Nora!..I’m having issues with my Paypal as it won’t accept the routing code /swift code given by BPI…so my client now owes me 85USD for the service I rendered…She said if she could just deposit the amount to me. Is it ok for her to deposit to my BPI Express Teller Account through the banks you’ve mentioned above(BPI Correspondent Banks in China)?

  15. Paypal really works that way .not unless your client will verify your transaction.because your client will receive an email asking if they have receive your service already .and they need to accept it then you just need to wait for 3 days instead of 21

  16. Hello. I have a question. I recently linked my bank account to paypal and my Chinese client send money using it. I logged on to my paypal account and it says: “Payments you’ve received are placed in your PayPal account’s pending balance for up to 21 days before they’re available.

    Your payments can be instantly available in your PayPal account, once you’re an established seller with us. To qualify, you’ll need to meet 3 basic requirements. Click here for more information.”

    I’ve already verified my bank account to paypal. But now I still can’t transfer my money to my bank account (east west debit card) because I have to wait for 21 days?

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