Alibaba’s Alipay, or “zhi fu bao” in Chinese, a multi-function cellphone app similar to Apple Pay, has changed the way Chinese people pay for items both online or at the store. Thankfully, it has a built-in function for sending money overseas. The catch is only Chinese nationals or foreigners with a Chinese green card can send money abroad with the app. However, you could always take advantage of the loophole of having a Chinese friend send money for you. Considering the time and pain Alipay can save you, this option is well worth calling your friend for a favor.


Photo: Baidu

The process is similar to wiring money from a bank; only in this case you are the banker. You will need the receiver’s full name as printed on their identification, the country they are in, their address in that country, the name and address of their bank, and the bank’s SWIFT code. You can reference this handy image guide that translates the icons into English and lays out the steps to make the transfer.

• Fees: For transfers up to 100,000 RMB, you will be charged anywhere from 70-120RMB. Users transferring amounts over 100,001 RMB can expect fees between 140-260RMB.

• Time: After the transaction goes through, the balance will show up in the overseas account anywhere from 3-5 days.

• Bottom Line: If you have a trusty Chinese friend who can help you with the transfer, this is a really easy option you can do with a mobile phone.

Here are the steps.

1. Open the Alipay app.


2. Press the “Alipay” button, then “More.”

3. On the next page, tap “International Transfer” to enter the international payment page.


4. You will then have two choices: “Transfer money abroad immediately” and “Invite others to pay money abroad,” which will allow your family members or friends to make transfers through your phone.


Android interface


Apple interface

5. Fill in the transfer information of the receiving bank account. If you are using Alipay to send money overseas for the first time, follow the instructions below; otherwise, jump to step 7.


6. Check whether the receiver’s country available in Alipay by tapping C in Step 4. This will bring up a drop-down menu of the country or regions to which you can transfer money via Alipay. Now jump to Step 8.


7. If you have used Alipay Purse to remit money overseas before, the following instructions are for you. The sample picture below shows five bank accounts that have been paid into before, including the receiver’s name and nationality, the receiver’s bank account and receiving bank’s SWIFT code.


8. Continue to fill in detailed payment information.


9. The next screen will allow you to check the details of your payment information before continuing. Once you’ve tapped the confirm button, you only need to key in your payment password to finish the transfer.


A: “Receiving bank account”

B: Receiver’s name and nationality

C: Receiving bank’s SWIFT code

D: “Payment information”

E: Amount in target currency; below is the exchanged amount in yuan and the currency exchange rate.

F: Remittance fee

G: Total amount of money in yuan 

H: “Confirm payment information and pay”

Notice: The money you pay will reach the receiver’s bank account in three-to-five working days; do call them to make sure that the money has arrived.

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