cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

CC / money transfer suggestions for Chinese wife residing in China.

OldSchoolAdmin
Established Member

CC / money transfer suggestions for Chinese wife residing in China.

US husband / Chinese wife.  We have homes in both countries and she resides in China fulltime while I'm 75/25 ish and work in the US.

 

I transfer money to her monthly for our bills and life there.  For years I have been using Xoom (PayPal company) to send the money.  I fund the transfers directly from my bank here, to her bank there.  I have even funded it with a CC once to make sure it would work if I should need it.  It has always been a love/hate relationship with Xoom, but as of December 2020 they are no longer able to make transfers to China.  For a month I have been getting "It's a technical glitch" from them so I moved on to Transferwise, which has worked without any issues whatsoever.

 

Transferwise's fee's are high, but Xoom was just undependable and now, unavailable, so I'm looking for other options.

 

This is what I'm thinking if it is possible:  Getting an ICBC UnionPay credit card here in the US and have her as an AU.  Then she can link her card to WeChat and AliPay, and pay everything from her phone, which is how it's done there.  Once a month I pay the card off here in the US and we're good, no need to transfer money.  At least that's the plan.

 

Is anyone else in a similar situation and tried this?  My concern is that she might not be able to link her US card to her Chinese version of WeChat and Alipay even though I can link my US cards to my International versions of the same Apps.

 

If you are having to do the same thing I would be interested in hearing how you're doing it, especially if it's back to China, as Chinese banking is unique all on it's own. 

 

 Thanks.

Message 1 of 16
15 REPLIES 15
donalddickerson2005
Regular Contributor

Re: CC / money transfer suggestions for Chinese wife residing in China.

Personally would it at all be possible to get a Credit Card that has no foreign transaction fees and just pay it off every month. It seems that with the right card you could use it to maybe even find an airline trip over all on points.

Message 2 of 16
SecretAzure
Valued Contributor

Re: CC / money transfer suggestions for Chinese wife residing in China.


@donalddickerson2005 wrote:

Personally would it at all be possible to get a Credit Card that has no foreign transaction fees and just pay it off every month. It seems that with the right card you could use it to maybe even find an airline trip over all on points.


Sounds like a Barclays Ring would be good for this situation but sadly isn't taking applications anymore. I'm sure there are other no FTF but Ring had a lower interest rate than many travel cards tend to have. 

"Show your thanks with action! Hit the "Kudos" button (the stripe with the star) for every post you find helpful to show your appreciation to the community of great individuals who help you on these forums" -Me

Active Cards: Chevron Texaco, Amex BCE, Barclays Ring, Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Best Buy Visa, Marvel MCMust garden until 2/1/2022 to hit my goal AAOA. Smiley Indifferent
Message 3 of 16
OldSchoolAdmin
Established Member

Re: CC / money transfer suggestions for Chinese wife residing in China.

The reason I am considering ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) is they have an international presence here in the US that would be incredibly convenient for me and I would get the UnionPay logo'd credit card.  UnionPay could be considered the Chinese version of Visa/MasterCard, which is the gold standard there pretty much, and you can use it for anything, everything, and everywhere.  There are no foreign transaction fees or dynamic currency conversion.

 

In China everything is typically paid for electronically by scanning a Q-code with your phone or in cash.  Our neighborhood is nowhere near the touristy area of the city, so swiping anything besides UnionPay or Discover is out of the question and Discover likely might not be accepted even when it would work.  You just don't swipe cards on a day-to-day basis, so she really has to be able to link the card to her wallets.

 

The real trick is can she link it in her WeChat and AliPay wallets since she is a Chinese National and it is a US issued credit card?  She normally uses Chinese issued UnionPay credit cards that are linked, then I transfer money to Bank of China to make the payments, which is the headache part of the operation due to transfer fees and issues if they popped up (Xoom).

 

This is really an issue for all international couples with finances in two countries.  For years in our city of 13 million people I was the only foreign spouse in our district, so it seemed everything we had to do was being invented as we went.  There is a new guy there now that married a woman and he has no idea how lucky he is that things were figured out before he got there.  He owes me a beer.

 

If anyone has any questions let me know and I'll try my best to answer or clarify.

Message 4 of 16
K-in-Boston
Moderator

Re: CC / money transfer suggestions for Chinese wife residing in China.

Yeah, I was going to chime in that the issue with other cards would be acceptance.  It seems like ICBC would be a great solution to the problem,  but I am not sure how well it integrates with the state version of the apps rather than international.   Most conversations here have always been about acceptance of the physical card and then use in the international WeChat and AliPay apps.  Have you considered calling (or dropping in, if you live near a branch?) them to see if they know?  It's also possible there may be a dual currency card available in the mainland?  The only one I have seen is the one for Singapore (which incidentally is available worldwide).

Message 5 of 16
Credit12Fico
Frequent Contributor

Re: CC / money transfer suggestions for Chinese wife residing in China.


@donalddickerson2005 wrote:

Personally would it at all be possible to get a Credit Card that has no foreign transaction fees and just pay it off every month. It seems that with the right card you could use it to maybe even find an airline trip over all on points.


But how likely is is that a chinese citizen had the documents neccesary to become an AU on an American credit card. You need SSN or some US issued ID number at minimum right?

Message 6 of 16
OldSchoolAdmin
Established Member

Re: CC / money transfer suggestions for Chinese wife residing in China.

Very likely.  It would be the same as any foreign national married to a US citizen or permanent resident.  SSN or ITIN from a social security office or US consulate.  Both countries give you plenty of documents as wedding gifts Smiley Wink

Message 7 of 16
OldSchoolAdmin
Established Member

Re: CC / money transfer suggestions for Chinese wife residing in China.

I haven't called ICBC yet as I was hoping to hear from someone here that had already been through it first.  I expect to hear, "We don't know, no one has ever asked or had that problem before".  If we had a $1 for every time we have heard that in both English and Mandarin, she and I would be living in a huge beautiful villa on a private island in the South Pacific somewhere.

 

You seem to have a firm grasp on my dilemma between the state version of WeChat and AliPay and the international versions.  They look the same, act the same, but are vastly differnet as far as what can be done with them.  The state version is much better but can not be changed to English, so I can't use it.

 

I will have to check into the dual currency.  I have no idea if that feature would be useful to me at this time or not.

 

FYI on App Trivia:  The US version of TikTok and the Chinese version (Douyin) are absolutely, positively, incompatible and blocked from functioning and exchanging data with each other.  Interaction between the two is impossible, which is unfortunate because their content is awesome.

Message 8 of 16
creditfan
Established Contributor

Re: CC / money transfer suggestions for Chinese wife residing in China.

schwab bank may help with your current situation. A bank can withdraw anywhere in world without fee

Message 9 of 16
OldSchoolAdmin
Established Member

Re: CC / money transfer suggestions for Chinese wife residing in China.

I'm not sure that Schwab would do what we need as there are no branches on the mainland.  The closest one is a 6+ hour flight to Hong Kong. 

 

We really need everything to be online end-to-end and ideally function in her digital wallets.

Message 10 of 16
Advertiser Disclosure: The offers that appear on this site are from third party advertisers from whom FICO receives compensation.