With a quest to find a cheapest and obviously online money transferring service that works when transfer money in/out of China mainland, as far as of now the viable possible way is only via Paypal & LianLianPay.

I did check notable services out there such as TransferWise, Revolut and even payment gateway like Omise, and Stripe. Why do I have to hustle checking those services out? Because they do have lower fee as advertised as compared to Paypal at 4%, lower widthdrawal fee, and most importantly whether it could operate in China or not.

Unfortunately those services cannot operate with Chinese bank/territory.

Hong Kong is available for some of those services as it's technically not in mainland China.

This mean I only have Paypal as an option. Goods news, Paypal partnered with LianLianPay, this reduces the fee significantly and it can be considered an (as far as I did research) best option we have here as well.

So in this post, I will walk you through the process and steps to transfer money across border from outside China mainland to China mainland itself. Transferring money from China mainland to outside; still through Paypal; is easy as mainly it would use the normal way just to move money from Paypal account to another. Only thing to deal with is to link your homeland's local bank account to another end of your Paypal account.

Thus I will focus solely on transferring money from outside to China mainland only.

First Thing First: Fee

Let's first talk about fee as it's the very first thing we would be considering whether or not we will go forward.

Assume we want to transfer $300 (or per se ~10,000 THB, or ~2,000 RMB as I round the number for easy in demonstration) from outside of China mainland to China mainland.

We will be charged 2 times (exclude currency exchange)

  1. Money transfer fee between Paypal account across border; at 4% of amount transfer + 0.30¢
  2. Widthdrawal fee from Paypal to bank account; at 1.2% of widthdraw amount (in case of LianLianPay) compared to $35 per time (in case of Wire Transfer)

In this article, we will go with LianLianPay. *But keep in mind there will be circumstance that Wire Transfer is more cost saving especially when you transfer a huge amount of money for more than ~$3,000 (or ~100,000 THB or ~20,000 RMB) as the widthdrawal fee is fixed at $35.

Exact amount (as of 30 Sep for currency exchange rate) of money when Wire Transfer fee starts to be cheaper is above $2916.67 (or 19,356.77 RMB, or 97,212.61 THB).

Check Paypal's Widthdrawal fee included timeframe for more info.

Overall Process

  1. Transfer money from Paypal Account A to Paypal Account B (instantly)
  2. Widthdraw money from Paypal Account B through LianLianPay (complete within 2-3 business days)

Requirement

You need to have ...

  1. 2 Paypal accounts; one for your homeland, and another for China mainland
  2. LianLianPay account

You need one Paypal account based in your homeland, and linked with your homeland's local bank account. Let your Chinese friend registers another Paypal account, and LianLianPay account.

You need to let your Chinese friend registers Paypal account to reduce the risk of rejection from LianLianPay in verifying account as it needs both Paypal and LianLianPay to have the same real name; owner of the account.

Important Notice

If you don't have Chinese business license or you do have but your business scope doesn't involve physical goods then only option is to verify via Chinese citizen ID on LianLianPay. Business that is solely based online cannot go through.

That means you need a Chinese friend to register LianLianPay account and help you with the process. Money will be transferred to your friend's Paypal account, then widthdraw to his/her bank account. Finally you can let your friend transfers money to you either via WeChat or Alipay.

WeChat and Alipay started to charge (since 2016) a small fee of 0.1% of amount of money widthdrawed to user's bank account; each with slightly different rule applied. See rules for WeChat, and Alipay.

How? Step by Step

Let's start from the beginning on how to do this.

Scenario: Transfer $300 from Thailand to China.
Recap: We will be using 2 Paypal + 1 LianLianPay account. 1 Paypal account is yours based on your homeland, another is for your Chinese friend. At last, your friend also owns LianLianPay account.

Let make a short mapping for easiness.

  • A -> You, or user outside China mainland
  • B -> Your Chinese friend based in China mainland

Set up account for B

  1. Registers Paypal account, and link to at least one of debit/credit card (if not link any, LianLianPay's account verification will fail when link Paypal account to it)
  2. Register LianLianPay account at https://fx.lianlianpay.com
  3. Link Paypal account with LianLianPay as per instruction on screen.
  4. Verify account via Individual option (click on 账户信息->认证信息->Select individual icon)

Make sure it shows as succeed. Now B is ready to widthdraw money after receive it on Paypal; in which we will do next.

The less is to send money to B, and widthdraw money on behalf of B

  1. B requests money from A through Paypal account
  2. A sends money to B as per requested
  3. B receives money, then proceed to widthdraw on LianLianPay.
  4. B logs in on LianLianPay. At the home page, click on widthdraw button (button with 提现 as label)
  5. B enters amount to widthdraw. It needs to be at least 50 RMB.
  6. B finally verifies the process via SMS code.
  7. Within 2-3 business days money will be transferred to B's bank account.
  8. B transfers money to A via WeChat or Alipay app.

A minimum amount allowing to widthdraw on Paypal is $150.

Chronological Order of Steps

paypal send money A sends money to B via Paypal as per B's request (A is outside of China mainland, but not B)

paypal receive money B receives money from A through Paypal

paypal instruction to withdraw moenty on lianlianpay Whenever B wants to widthdraw received money to RMB (or CNY) from within Paypal, it will shows instruction to proceed on LianLianPay

widthdraw money from LianLianPay B logs in on LianLianPay and start to widthdraw by clicking on 提现 button.

enter information to widthdraw money from LianLianPay B enters information to widthdraw money. At least, it needs to be 50 RMB.

enter information 2 to widthdraw money from LianLianPay LianLianPay will show how much calculated fee, and final amount you would get in RMB (or CNY).

result from operation B successfully widthdraws money from LianLianPay to local bank account. The process takes 2-3 business days.

transaction history on LianLianPay Transaction as shown on LianLianPay