Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own.

Best ways to transfer large amounts of money overseas

Your bank may be more convenient to transfer large amounts of money, but a money transfer specialist will probably offer a better deal.


Dunbridge Financial

Dunbridge Financial logo
  • Make international payments in more than 100 currencies
  • Pay up to 1,000 payees using one mass payment
  • Work with an account manager to develop the best payment strategies for your business
Go to site

It’s fairly common to send large amounts of money abroad from Canada. Popular methods include money transfer services, bank transfers, prepaid debit cards and crypto transfers, but the best way to send large amounts of money depends on your circumstances.

What are the best ways to transfer large amounts of money overseas?

    1. International money transfer service
    2. Bank-to-bank transfers
    3. Cash Pickup
    4. International bank draft
    5. Prepaid debit card
    6. Cryptocurrency

    1. International money transfer service

    You’ll find that money transfer services often offer the most competitive exchange rates for your transfer and charge lower fees than what you’d get at your bank. Some services like OFX and Currencies Direct specialize in transferring large sums of money internationally.

    These types of companies exist to make the process of sending money overseas faster and more straightforward.


    • Often cheaper than transferring through a Canadian bank
    • Diverse payment methods including credit, debit, bank transfer and more
    • Many transfer services offer step-by-step guidance. Often, the process is entirely online.
    • You may be able to lock in your exchange rate and transfer later


    • Many options exist, so finding the best one may seem tricky.
    • Some services have complicated fees and exchange rates
    • Unlike Canadian banks and industry giants like Western Union, new services aren’t established and may need to be vetted.

    We’ve compared popular money transfer specialists to help you save time and money. However, if you would rather compare providers yourself, you can use our comparison table to look at transfer speeds, fees and exchange rates. When you have made your choice, simply click Go to site.

    Compare money transfer specialists

    Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
    $100 1 - 2 days CAD 0.00 0.733 USD
    Send money without fees and at competitive exchange rates to 130+ countries. Go to site Show details
    CAD 10 Within an hour CAD 1.99 0.735 USD
    Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
    Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
    Go to site Show details
    CAD 1 1 - 2 days CAD 45.00 0.742 USD
    Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
    Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

    2. Bank-to-bank transfers

    Banks are typically more expensive than international money transfer services. But for small transfers, the ease of using your local bank might be worth the fees and unfavourable exchange rates. For large transfers, these costs add up.

    You have 2 choices when sending a bank-to-bank transfer:

    • Wire transfer. To send a bank wire transfer, you’ll need to visit your bank in person and provide your recipient’s contact info and account details. Fees often start around $30, and it may take several business days up to a week or more for funds to arrive. But wire transfers are widely regarded as the best way to send large amounts of money when it comes to safety.
    • Electronic funds transfer (EFT). Often cheaper than wire transfers, EFTs are made via a network of interconnected banks and financial institutions.


    • You already trust your bank with your money
    • You can typically initiate EFTs online, in-person or by phone
    • You don’t have to trust any companies with your money


    • More expensive than other options
    • Typically far slower than other options
    • Have to pay with funds that are already in your bank account. Credit cards are not an option.
    • Must visit a branch in person to send a wire transfer

    3. Cash Pickup

    Sending money for cash pickup is a convenient way to make an international money transfer, particularly if you or your recipient is under or unbanked. There are several companies that offer cash-to-cash transfers including Ria, MoneyGram and Western Union. Finding the right company for your transfer is important, so make sure to compare your options.


    • Recipient doesn’t need a bank account
    • Sender doesn’t need a bank account
    • Cash transfers often transfer faster than bank-to-bank transfers


    • Most cash transfer services have a maximum sending limit
    • Large amounts of cash will have to be picked up by the recipient, which could be dangerous.
    • Often comes with higher fees than transfers funded by bank account or debit card

    4. International bank draft

    An international bank draft is issued by a bank on behalf of the payer. It allows another bank, typically in another country, to draw funds directly from the issuing bank. The exchange rate is determined at the time of sending, eliminating the need to speculate on future rates.

    Except for the foreign currency involved, sending an international bank draft is like sending a bank draft in Canada.


    • Accepted in many parts of the world
    • Usually cheaper than an international bank wire transfer
    • Can only be cashed at a bank by the person listed on the international bank draft


    • Requires physical delivery between countries, which adds to the delivery time
    • Difficult and time consuming to replace if lost or stolen

    5. Prepaid debit cards

    With some services, you can send funds via a prepaid debit card. The sender loads a prepaid debit card with cash funds. The recipient can then withdraw money using the prepaid debit card. Alternatively, you can transfer money from the prepaid card to a bank or card account.

    Prepaid debit cards tend not to come with transfer fees. However, you’ll most likely have to pay an activation fee or monthly service fee.


    • Relatively cost effective compared to bank transfers
    • Recipient doesn’t need a bank account
    • You can lock in a set exchange rate


    • Most prepaid debit cards carry an activation fee or a monthly fee
    • There may be a limit on how much you can load onto the card

    6. Cryptocurrency

    If you hold cryptocurrency, you can send it to a wallet anywhere in the world. Many cryptocurrencies will also let you trade cryptocurrency for fiat currency (a government-issued currency like Canadian dollars or euros). This means it’s possible to exchange CAD for a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, then trade your cryptocurrency for euros.

    However it’s not a simple process, and you’ll likely encounter percentage-based fees at each step, which can get expensive. Here are the key steps to take when transferring money overseas using bitcoin:

    1. Transfer funds to an online cryptocurrency exchange.
    2. Use your local currency to buy cryptocurrency, which goes into a digital wallet.
    3. Sell your cryptocurrency for a foreign currency.
    4. Withdraw your funds from the exchange platform.


    • You can send money directly to your recipient’s cryptocurrency wallet address, removing the need for companies as intermediaries.
    • Your transaction can’t be canceled


    • Requires a lot of technical know-how to avoid errors
    • Prices can be volatile, so although you may save money by avoiding fees, you could lose it if the price of the cryptocurrency you’re using as an intermediary drops.
    • Depending on the route you use, there may be many fees to pay.

    Frequently asked questions

    More guides on Finder

    Ask an Expert

    You must be logged in to post a comment.

    Go to site