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Anyone living in China? Daughter going for a year - money question?

(16 Posts)
dotdotdotmustdash Sun 10-Jul-16 17:48:44


I wonder if anyone can help with a practical question please?

My Dd17 is heading off to live in Tianjin in September for an academic year. It's all very exciting and it's time to start organising practical issues. She will be given an allowance as part of the scholarship 1400rmb pm, but it doesn't sound like a lot so I want to send her some top-up money, albeit only £100 or so.

What is the cheapest way to do this? We've been told that's it very expensive for her take money out of her UK bank account so would it be a good idea to open a Chinese bank account. either over there or over here? Someone else has mentioned that HSBC is a good option but I don't know why? Do I post her a travellers cheque? I've very stuck, any advice please?

dotdotdotmustdash Sun 10-Jul-16 18:04:53

*£100 per month

Janek Sun 10-Jul-16 18:22:08

could she get a good-for-travelling credit card, such as the halifax clarity card, and withdraw the equivalent of £100 every month, then you pay the bill. or a prepaid credit card, which you could top up every month? Both of these would be an option in europe, i don't know specifically about china though.

CherryLip Sun 10-Jul-16 21:32:39

Maybe ask with the U.K. bank. My DH always says the best way is to withdraw from the ATM. We live in Asia/Europe. I always withdraw from the ATM wherever I am in the world. There probably is a charge but the exchange is probably the best for that day. Maybe it depends on which bank you are with and which ones are available in China. I am in China albeit Hong Kong.

eyebrowsonfleek Sun 10-Jul-16 21:38:36

HSBC stands for Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation so I'd expect them to have a solution.

ApocalypseSlough Sun 10-Jul-16 21:42:58

We always used HSBC ATMs and also bank with them. Best thing to do is to talk to you UK bank and find out the charges.

GreenSand Sun 10-Jul-16 21:46:39

If she can get an HSBC international account as a student, that is probably the best.They offer reasonable currency transfer rates and fees, and are generally known as being the easiest to deal with in multiple currencies - but it needs to be set up as such, it's not a standard account, and takes time to set up.
BUT, word of warning £100 per month will be expensive. If you can possibly make it £300/quarter, or even stump it all up in one lump, the fees will be much less significant (I think it was £40 to transfer funds from UK to Middle East when we had a cash flow crisis -12 months rent and 2 sets of school fees needed within 2 weeks of each other, previous years We'd been able to reclaim one set before paying out the next. Some of those fees might have been due to the amount tho).
Don't take cash out on CC!
If she does use her UK debit card to take out RMB, she needs to take out serious amounts occasionally, and not RMB 100/day.

Nightmanagerfan Sun 10-Jul-16 21:47:38

Although HSBC is Hong Kong Shanghai bank the actual banks in China still see a UK account as totally foreign and therefore it's not as helpful as it may sound. You could get a Uk bank account for her that has low overseas withdrawal fees and she can then use an Atm to take out money.

I used to spend a lot of time in China for work and was fine doing this in big cities. If traveling further out ie more rurally then it's easier to take cash. 1400 rmb isn't that much for a month to be honest. Things like travel and food are cheap but western sized clothes need to be bought from western shops and are not much cheaper. It's lovely that you can support her a bit and you should definitely go out to visit!

Footle Sun 10-Jul-16 21:50:14

Western Union is straightforward , reliable, and can have the money ready to be collected in minutes. It's also eye-wateringly expensive.

Laptopwieldingharpy Sun 10-Jul-16 22:46:59

Hsbc sucks in hong kong so i expect it will be even worse in china.

Western union is nice and easy

Footle Sun 10-Jul-16 22:48:20

Laptop, yes, that is its charm isn't it.

dotdotdotmustdash Mon 11-Jul-16 08:59:58

Thanks all, I'm very grateful for your input. I think I'll do the following...

I'm going to ask her bank what their overseas rates are and if they're reasonable we'll stick with that.

I'll enquire about an international account with HSBC and see if it works out cheaper.

I think the idea of giving her £300 quarterly is probably best, although it will be slightly painful as I don't have savings. I guess if she can take £300 in rmb out and store it safely that would be less hassle.

I know the 1400rmb isn't a lot per month but she will be taking most of her clothes and I'll give her some extra money to buy winter clothing. She's a slim size 8 so hopefully she'll be able to shop in the Chinese clothing shops.

I won't be visiting as it's too expensive and I hate flying! Hoping to bring her home for a couple of weeks in February as she has thyroid disease and will need to see her Consultant and have her bloods checked (and because I'll be missing her!)

Footle Tue 12-Jul-16 23:26:16

Also, you can use PayPal.

Xmasbaby11 Tue 12-Jul-16 23:33:04

You could post her some clothes over if she has problems buying any. I was size 16 when I lived there and there weren't really any western clothes shops in the city where I lived. Actually I don't think there's much to spend your money on as eating out is cheap and most goods are counterfeit so also v cheap!

I had the time of my life in China - hope your daughter enjoys it. If she can travel during the Chinese new year holiday this is a great time to see other parts of the country.

dotdotdotmustdash Wed 13-Jul-16 12:26:40

Thank you, I will look into Paypal as an option too.

Thanks Xmasbaby, I'm sure she'll have a great time, I'm dreading her leaving though and I'll miss her. I'm hoping she'll find a really good padded coat over there for the really cold winter they'll have but if she doesn't I'll post one over.

She plans to travel during the 2 month holiday, originally they wanted to go to Japan but it seems expensive. Now looking into South Korea, Thailand or Shanghai (and the new Disney park!).

Footle Wed 13-Jul-16 12:43:41

Don't forget she will be able to get clothes made there for her

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