Let us help you track down the most competitive exchange rates and the lowest fees.
So you want to send money abroad but you don’t want it to cost an arm and a leg? We’re with you. You work hard for your money and want to find the service that gives you the most bang for your buck. Get started by comparing your options in the table below.
Compare money transfer services and save money today
Need some help? Speak to an FX Expert and they will help you through the process
What are international money transfers?
In their most basic form, international money transfers consist of one transaction carried out between two people (a sender and a recipient) using an intermediary service like the bank or an online money transfer company. There are two things that will typically affect the cost of transferring money overseas:
- Exchange rate. An exchange rate is the rate at which your Canadian dollar will be converted to your target currency. Most banks and money transfer services trade at what is called the “mid-market” or “interbank” rate, and then generate profit by essentially re-selling this rate to you with a higher price tag.
- Fees. Your bank or transfer service will generally charge fees for facilitating a transfer. These can vary greatly depending on the destination country, the amount being sent and the service provider, among other factors. The table below compares several reputable money transfer services available in Canada.
Compare fees and exchange rates
|Money Transfer Service||Transfer Fee (CAD)||Exchange Rate Markup||Total in US minus fees (from $1000.00)|
|XE Money Transfer||$0||0.7823||$782.36|
Rates updated as of 16 May 2018 (subject to change) – you can visit many of these websites directly by clicking “Go to Site” on the interactive transfer comparison table at the top of the page.
The world is truly your oyster when it comes to sending money overseas from Canada. There are dozens of money transfer service providers vying for your business, so you can rest assured that you will almost certainly be able to track down a deal that works for you (and your budget).
Back to topShould I send money with my bank or a specialist money transfer service?
You’re not the only one to come looking for the answer to this question. And in the end, it’s not up to us to tell you what to do. But we can shed some light on how both banks and specialist money transfer providers work so that you can make an informed decision about which service to choose.
- Banks tend to be generalists. They offer a wide range of financial services, touting everything from loans and insurance to wealth management and debt consolidation, but don’t really specialize in any one product. Since banks don’t focus on international money transfers, they often carry out fewer transactions, which means they have to charge a larger margin (in the form of fees and less competitive exchange rates) in order to make the service profitable.
- Money transfer service providers are often more specialized. Money transfer services spend a lot of time refining their products, particularly because they’re competing with dozens of other providers at any given time. This means they’re constantly digging up new ways to offer more competitive exchange rates and fees, since their business model is typically driven by volume. More transactions = more money = more competitive offer for the customer.
What should I look for when comparing transfer companies?
Every money transfer service provider will have a specialty. Some send money within minutes while others offer the lowest fees and exchange rates. To get the best deal, it’s best to look for the most suitable combination of the following features to suit your unique set of needs:
- Competitive exchange rates. Some companies charge a percentage of the total amount you’re transferring while others charge a flat rate. Make sure you do the math to get the best deal.
- Minimal fees. Low or no fees can save you a pretty penny, especially in combination with competitive exchange rates. Make sure companies promising zero fees aren’t making up the difference with sub par exchange rates.
- Various transfer methods. Money transfer services are notable in that they offer more options for payment and pick-up than the banks. These include mobile wallet top-ups and cash transactions, in addition to bank-to-bank transfers.
- Fast transfer times. If time is of the essence, and your recipient needs cash in hand ASAP, then an operation like Western Union or MoneyGram is probably your safest bet. Other online transfer services are often able to get money to your recipient in one to two days, while banks typically take between three to five days.
- Reliable customer service. A big plus when it comes to the banks is that they are built around top-quality customer service. That being said, many reputable money transfer services offer a dedicated 24/7 customer service team to help just in case you run into any problems.
What other ways are there to send money overseas?
- Cashier’s cheque. In order to get your hands on a cashier’s cheque, you’ll need to show your ID at the bank, supply the exact amount of the cheque and provide the name of your recipient. They’ll verify your info and cut the cheque, at which point it’s up to you to send the cheque in the mail to your recipient. As far as fees go, some banks charge based on a percentage of the cheque amount, while others charge a flat rate (typically somewhere in the range of $10 to $20).
- Wire transfer. Wire transfers are also provided by most prominent Canadian banks. Just like a money transfer, you’ll need to provide your recipient’s personal details and banking information (bank branch, account number, etc.). Most banks charge between $25 to $50 dollars for a wire transfer.
- International money orders. International money orders can be exchanged for cash at your local Canada Post office using MoneyGram or postal money orders. The fees when using MoneyGram differ greatly depending on the amount of money sent as well as the destination country, while postal money orders typically incur fees around $7.50.
What are some handy tips and tricks when it comes to sending money overseas?
- Tip # 1: Send more money per transfer. Many services discount fees or waive them altogether when you send large transfers. For example, OFX charges a fee of $15 per transfer but will waive fees for all transactions above $10,000.
- Tip # 2: Use forward contracts and limit orders if regularly sending money. A forward contract essentially allows you to lock in a favourable exchange rate for transfers to be made at a later date, which can save you a hefty chunk of money, especially if the market dips down. A limit order is similar in that it locks in your transfer when an agreed-upon rate is reached in the market.
- Tip # 3: Send same currency transfers. For certain transfers, it can be cheaper to transfer CAD dollars to your recipient, which they can then change into their own currency. Check in with money transfer services or your bank to explore your options.
What are things to avoid when sending money overseas?
- Getting lured in with mid-market rates. Many transfer services and banks will display competitive exchange rates on their website to lure you in, and then jack up the total cost of the transfer when you attempt to make your booking. Make sure that you compare rates based on actual quotes and not the rates advertised as “mid-market” or “interbank” rates.
- Sending cash by mail. While sending cash by mail might seem like a simple solution, it’s not a practical option because there’s no insurance policy if the money is lost, stolen or damaged. If you would prefer to send money in the mail, consider a cashier’s cheque or money order.
You may also be interested in
Finder’s inaugural Bank of Canada overnight rate survey. Read the forecasts of some of Canada's brightest minds in economics and property, as well as their thoughts on how any potential change to the overnight rate could affect Canada’s property market. Read more…
Learn more about Monero’s history and technology and its potential for growth. Read more…
Learn more about Vertcoin’s history and technology and its potential for growth. Read more…