Posted in Living Overseas.

A Money Transfer Guide for Australian Expats Living & Working in China

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Among the top ten of the costliest cities in the world (according to the Mercer 2015 Cost of Living Survey), Shanghai and Beijing feature highly. The reason Chinese cities have jumped in this year’s rankings are due to the ongoing strengthening of the Chinese yuan, combined with the increasingly high costs of consumer goods for expatriates.


What are the cheapest ways to send between China and Australia?

One answer: it depends…

No, really, it does.

There are many ways to send money overseas as an expat and the best advice is to shop around.

By comparing prices between banks and specialist currency providers, you’ll work out the best thing for you, depending on your specific circumstances.

Be aware that, as a general rule, what the big banks offer is not as competitive as specialised currency conversion providers.

When you are setting up a new life as an expat in China, many providers will want to get a slice of your business, so look out for special deals and incentives that may be of benefit but always check the fine print – that fee-waiving special may actually lock you into an ongoing arrangement that doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

Weigh up the differences between providers to send larger amounts, or smaller amounts more frequently. Sending birthday money back to a younger family member might be best done via PayPal or Western Union. Transferring larger sums to take care of your mortgage back home will suit a different provider again.

The time it takes to transfer money can be a deal-breaker so make sure you check. Some promise same-day transfers, but others may take 7 days (a case when saving money on fees and charges may actually cause you stress and hassle).


How often should I send my savings home?

Again, there is no one neat answer to suit every person.

It’s as individual as you and your needs are.

If you have regular debits back in Australia that require regular money landing in your account, you need to work out the time-frames on offer with a range of providers to see who can serve you best, without wasting money on unnecessary fees and charges.

Keep your eye on the fluctuations in exchange rates too – there is no point locking down a commitment to send money on a set date unless you absolutely have to. The reality may be that, if the money transfer can wait, you might be able to hold out for a more cost-effective exchange rate. Talk to an international money transfer expert you can trust to find the answers you need to suit you.


Are there other places I can park my money?

Some countries have taxes that only require payment when money is remitted into that country. In those cases, the benefits to putting your money in an offshore bank account are clear.

What’s the best way to schedule payments?

Ah, thank you, internet. The days of expat life are somewhat easier when the world is at your fingertips, although in China, there is not quite the free access us Westerners are used to. Still, online technology is a positive way to access and manage banking and international money transfers. By speaking to experts who deal with scheduled payments for expats living overseas, you’ll have a good understanding of the best way to schedule payments to suit your lifestyle. Remember, our team at The Currency Shop is always happy to help.

If you have a mortgage or other regular debits to take care of back in Australia, try Bpay. You can forward plan to schedule payments up to 18 months in advance.