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BMO international money transfers review

Send cash transfers overseas using BMO's mobile app or send bank-to-bank wire transfers by visiting a branch.

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  • Great for sending quick cash transfers through Western Union, or for sending wire transfers between major banks.
  • Not so great if you don’t want to pay fees or want to earn rewards on your transfers.

BMO money transfers can be a convenient way to send money if you’re already a BMO client. It’s easy to send a wire transfer to your recipient’s bank account. You can also send a cash transfer to a Western Union location in your recipient’s country if you want your transaction to process instantly.

Just be aware that BMO charges higher fees than many other online or non-traditional money transfer companies.

Why should I send money with BMO?

  • Fast cash transfers. Online cash transfers through Western Union can process in as little as 30 minutes.
  • Cash pick-up. Your recipient can pick cash up at over 550,000 Western Union agent locations around the world.
  • Wire transfers are allowed. You can also send money between banks if you would rather not deal with Western Union.
  • Many currencies. You can send money to over 200 countries.
  • Secure. BMO will reimburse you for any transfers made fraudulently on your account.

What to be aware of

  • Poor exchange rates. BMO adds a larger margin to the exchange rate than specialist money transfer services.
  • High fees. Fees are based on a percentage of the amount you send in addition to a flat rate, which can add up quickly.
  • Limited to account holders. You can’t transfer money with BMO unless you sign up for a bank account.
  • Maximum limits. You can only send $999 per day with online Western Union cash transfers.

How can I send money with BMO?

You can send money directly to your recipient using a wire transfer or a Western Union cash transfer.

  • Wire transfer. Sending a wire transfer requires you to visit a branch in-person. The money you send will come out of your account and be deposited into the bank account of your recipient within 2-5 business days.
  • Western Union money transfer. Western Union cash transfers can be carried out through BMO’s mobile app. The money you send will come out of your account in as little as 30 minutes, and your recipient must pick it up at a Western Union location in their own country.

BMO exchange rates and fees

BMO charges different fees based on whether you’re sending money online via Western Union or through a traditional wire transfer.

Transfer typeCost
Cash transfer through Western Union$5 admin fee plus 1% of your transfer amount
Wire transfer in a BMO branch$10 communication fee plus 0.20% of your transfer amount

You’ll also find a margin of around 2-5% added to the exchange rate for both types of transfers. This means you’ll pay more than the rate you might see by searching on Google or Reuters.

How long will my BMO money transfer take?

The time it takes to process your BMO money transfer will depend on whether you send a Western Union cash transfer or a wire transfer. Western Union cash transfers usually process within 30 minutes. Wire transfers can take between 2-5 business days.

Tips for avoiding transfer delays:

  • Send money in the morning or during the week. Your transfer may be delayed if you send funds in the evening or on holidays.
  • Send smaller transfers. Your recipient’s bank could place a hold on large transfers but you may be able to send multiple smaller transfers to avoid delays.
  • Arrange for cash pickup. If your recipient lives in a country with an unreliable banking system, you may want to send money through Western Union for cash pickup at an agent location.
  • Make sure you know which currency is most convenient for your recipient. In some cases, sending funds in a popular currency like USD or EUR could be more preferable than sending more exotic currencies.

Transfers typically takeClock icon for transfer speed

30 minutes

What payment methods does BMO accept?

You can only pay for BMO money transfers using your bank account. Funds can be sent from either your chequing or your savings account. You can pay online using a Western Union cash transfer, or in person via a branch when sending a wire transfer.

How much money can I send?

Transfers with Western Union have a $999 daily limit while wire transfers don’t have a specified maximum limit.

Available currencies

You can send money overseas to over 200 countries using BMO’s online banking and wire transfer service. Some of the more popular currencies include:

  • USD US Dollar
  • GBP British pound
  • AUD Australian dollar
  • EUR Euro
  • JPY Japanese yen
  • CNY Chinese yuan
  • PHP Philippine peso
  • INR Indian rupee
  • DOP Dominican Peso
  • MXN Mexican peso
  • LBP Lebanese pound
  • JMD Jamaican dollar
You can send 130 currencies when you transfer money with Western Union.

Is BMO safe to use?

BMO is one of the “Big 5” banks in Canada along with TD Canada Trust, CIBC, RBC and Scotiabank. Two-factor authentication (2FA) protects customer accounts by requiring users to go through two levels of verification before gaining access to personal details and financial information. Customers are also protected against fraud with BMO’s 100% Electronic Banking Guarantee.

  • Security and regulation. Government-regulated, can enable 2-factor authentication.
  • Established. 1817.
  • Number of customers. 12+ million

*According to BMO on 29 March 2021.

Where is BMO regulated?

BMO is a member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) as well as the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF). It is also regulated globally in regions such as Asia and Europe by various overseas institutions.

How to send your first BMO money transfer

You need to have a bank account with BMO in order to transfer money overseas.

  • Wire transfer. You can send a wire transfer from a BMO branch. All you need is your recipient’s personal details, including name and address, account number and financial institution. Fees for this service will typically be higher than those on offer from specialist money transfer companies.
  • Western Union money transfer. You can send a Western Union transfer through BMO’s online banking app. Just select Western Union Money Transfer in the app and fill in the requested information. From there, your recipient can pick up the cash transfer at their nearest Western Union location.

How to become a BMO client

In order to send BMO money transfers, you need to have a BMO bank account. You can sign up for a BMO bank account by following the steps below:

  1. Verify that you meet the eligibility criteria to sign up for a BMO bank account. For example, you may need to be a Canadian resident who is at least the age of majority in their province of residence.
  2. Register for a BMO bank account either online or by visiting a branch.
  3. Fill out an application by providing information such as your full name, home address, phone number and SIN (Social Insurance Number). You may also be required to show proof of government-issued identification at this time.
  4. Authorize the bank to use this information to do a credit check.
  5. Once you’re all set up, you’ll be able to register for BMO’s online banking or mobile app, which is where you’ll carry out Western Union cash transfers. You can also visit a BMO branch to send a wire transfer.

Does BMO have a mobile app for money transfers?

BMO mobile app screenshot

Much like any other big Canadian bank, BMO has a mobile app to help you manage your banking on the go. This app allows you to send Western Union cash transfers to recipients in eligible countries.

It doesn’t allow you to send wire transfers, so you’ll need to visit a branch in person to access this type of bank-to-bank transfer.

These ratings are accurate as of 30 March 2021.

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How does BMO compare to other money transfer services?

BMO is just one among many banks and specialist companies offering international money transfers.

Our table below lets you compare services you can use to send money abroad. Compare fees, exchange rates and discounts from different money transfer services, and when you have made your choice, click Go to site.
Name Product _compare_ Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer)
Wise (TransferWise)
24 hours
From 0.43%
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies.
Xe Money Transfers
Within minutes
Xe has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.
Within minutes
From $0
Use code HELLO to get $20 off on first two transfers on a min transfer of $250. Valid until November 30, 2023.
Instarem offers zero transfer fees on all transfers.
Within minutes
From $0
Send money in CAD to Africa on this blockchain and P2P powered provider.
Finder Award
Within minutes
From $0
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.
Finder Award
Within minutes
From $4.99
For a limited time, get $0 fees on your first money transfer from Canada. Conditions apply.
MoneyGram has fast cash pick-up transfers to more than 350,000 agent locations worldwide.
Finder Award
24 hours
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 50+ currencies.

Bottom line

BMO offers bank-to-bank wire transfers as well as cash transfers through Western Union. Both types of transfers come with high fees and you’ll need to have a BMO bank account to get started. While BMO transfers can be convenient if you’re a BMO client, you may want to compare your options before going with BMO to make sure you lock in the best deal.

Frequently asked questions

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