How to Send Money to China: 3 Easy Steps for Singapore Businesses
Singapore small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) can gain cost savings and competitive advantage when they work with businesses in Mainland China. However, sending money to China remains a major hurdle.
Bank wire transfers have high fees, and can take up to five working days to clear. Opening a corporate bank account in China solves some of these challenges, but SMEs may lack the capital and paperwork required to qualify for one. Business owners also need a clear understanding of the differences between China’s currencies to properly anticipate costs and risks.
Fortunately, Singapore business owners have money transfer options beyond the traditional banking system. Fintech companies like Airwallex enable SMEs to send and receive Chinese Yuan (CNY) with their Global Business Account. Unlike opening a bank account in China, creating an Airwallex account can be done easily, without extensive paperwork or in-person branch visits required.
How do Singapore SMEs send money to China?
At present, Singapore businesses can send money to China through the following methods:
Bank or wire transfers
An international wire transfer or bank transfer is often the most convenient option for sending money to China. With wire transfers, money moves quickly across geographies using the SWIFT payment network, and the funds reach your recipient’s bank account in a matter of days.
However, wire transfers tend to accumulate multiple fees as the funds move across intermediaries, leading to a reduction in the amount available for the recipients. They also lack the speed of newer fintech alternatives, and often take three or more working days to complete. Security checks and time zone differences are just some reasons why bank transfers get delayed.
You can also pay Chinese suppliers and manufacturers via credit card, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that accepts card payments. That’s because overseas card transactions incur high fees and marked-up foreign exchange conversion costs, which eat into the supplier’s revenues.
Fintech companies like Airwallex
If you're sending funds directly to your recipient’s bank account, a fintech payment service like Airwallex can be the cheapest and fastest way to do so. Fintech simplifies cross-border payments for businesses, which means lower transaction fees, friendlier foreign exchange rates, and faster overseas transfers compared to banks.
Each fintech company has their own system for sending payments, but the steps you'll take are generally the same:
Top up your account
Add funds to your account in SGD, using direct bank transfers or card payments.
Add recipient details
Once your funds are in, add your recipient’s bank account details. Then enter the amount you’d like to send and choose the currency.
Check fees and send
At this point, you’ll see the exchange rate and the fees applied to your transaction. After reviewing the fees, confirm and send. That’s it - your money leaves your account, and you can track its progress online or through the fintech provider’s app.
Transfer fees for international money transfers from Singapore to China
Transaction fees will vary depending on your chosen B2B payment method.
International wire transfers are subject to various fees that vary across receiving banks in China, which makes the final cost hard to calculate. However, you can expect to incur foreign exchange fees, as you’re essentially converting SGD to CNY. Potential fees from banks and service providers often include transfer fees and SWIFT network fees, while some banks in China also charge handling fees or receiving fees.
With the Airwallex CNY business account based in Hong Kong, there are instances where you can collect, hold and send CNY to China directly without conversion of the currency and the transfer fee is only 0.1% of the amount being sent. However, only Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs) in Mainland China can send CNY to another Chinese bank. Registering a Chinese UBO is however a complex undertaking.
As such, for most businesses who wish to send money to China, you’ll still be charged a SWIFT fee but these fees are clearly outlined before you send funds. You know exactly how much it costs, and how much your recipient will get. With cross-border payment specialists like Airwallex, there are no complex fee structures.
3 benefits of using Airwallex to send money to China from Singapore
With Airwallex, business owners can bypass the operational challenges of transferring CNY to China from Singapore and vice versa. Here are three benefits you can enjoy with the Airwallex CNY Account:
Low foreign exchanges fees
An Airwallex CNY Account can be used just like a Chinese Yuan business account. You’re issued an account number that you can use to receive CNY from customers or businesses in China. Simply share these account details in the invoice, and receive funds in CNY.
The CNY can be held in your account, or sent to China-based partners via direct deposit. By transacting in the same currency, you enjoy significant cost savings on exchange fees.
Traditional banks place high markups on currency exchange rates, but Airwallex offers competitive rates that closely mirror the market rate. This can lead to significant cost savings when you convert SGD to CNY, and improve profit margins when you convert CNY to SGD.
Speedy fund transfers & customer support
Wire transfers to China can take up to several weeks, but money transfers using Airwallex only take several working days or less. Instead of visiting a bank branch to send CNY, you can send money online and make the transfer remotely, via your Airwallex Global Account. If you have questions or issues about your transaction, Airwallex’s local customer support teams can help via email, chat, and phone. When you create an Airwallex account, we’ll also assign you a Singapore-based account manager who’ll provide updates on payments to and from China, and help you problem-solve any delays.
Security and compliance with financial regulations
Airwallex is committed to maintaining high-security standards and complying with Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) requirements. As a licensed Major Payment Institution regulated by the MAS, Airwallex strictly adheres to regulations like Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) regulations. In March 2023, Airwallex secured a business payment license in China by acquiring the Guangzhou Shang Wu Tong Network Technology Co., Ltd, a licensed online payment services company. This means we can better support SMEs as they expand their operations to mainland China.
Keeping your money safe is our top priority. Your funds are kept in a ring-fenced account, which means it is available only to you and cannot be used by Airwallex’s banks, creditors, or third parties. Robust security features like two-factor authentication and PCI-Level 1 compliant procedures further protect transactions and account details from cyber threats.
With these security and compliance measures in place, SMEs need not worry about financial and reputational risks when they make cross-border payments using Airwallex.
Transferring money to China from Singapore with an Airwallex Business Account
Airwallex is the fastest way to send B2B payments to China-based partners. After creating a free account and verifying your business, you can send money to China in three simple steps:
Step 1: Top up your account via bank transfer
Step 2: Enter an amount to send in SGD. We’ll show you the conversion rate and our low platform fees upfront. Convert SGD to your preferred currency i.e. CNY/USD and payout to your recipient.
Step 3: Enter your recipient’s account details, and hit send.
The fastest and first money transfer company in Singapore to China
You can also use your Airwallex CNY Account to receive, hold and convert CNY. Here’s how:
Step 1: Go to your CNY account and look for your CNY account number.
Step 2: Share your CNY account details on invoices and get paid via direct transfer
Step 3: Keep CNY in Airwallex, or convert it to SGD and withdraw to your Singapore bank account.
Transfer money from Singapore to China now - Create an Airwallex account today, and start making B2B money transfers to China with a dedicated CNY account.
Opening a China business bank account from Singapore