Sunday, December 5, 2010

Funds Transfer

Lesson learned: When filling out a form at the bank in China, do not put an 'X' in any box. The correct way to indicate your choice is to use a checkmark. Using an 'X' results in having to fill out a new form.

Filling out forms at the bank always takes more time than you want, especially in China. Today I had to fill out a number of forms. This was the first time I've transferred funds from China to an account in the U.S. I did it without an interpreter, but relied heavily on assistance from a bank employee who speaks English. I was only allowed to transfer US$500, which I was told is the daily limit, and the staff recommended that in the future I have a Chinese friend do the transfer for me. They said there is not a limit on the amount Chinese nationals can transfer.

The process took over an hour, in part because of the language barrier. The woman who was helping me explained that this branch doesn't do transfers very often so the staff took extra time because they are unfamiliar with the process. In the future I may just ride my bicycle to a larger branch, five minutes away, where they do more international transfers, and save myself a lot of time in the bank.

I gave the bank the SWIFT code, A.B.A. and account numbers for the U.S. account where I want my funds transferred, an address for the bank and a phone number, as well as my address in New York. They told me the money should be in my U.S. account in two to three days. If it works it will be faster than some U.S. to U.S. bank transfers.