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How to transfer large sums of money

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

It’s fairly common to send large sums of money internationally or within 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.

6 options for how to transfer large sums of money

    1. International money transfer service
    2. Between banks
    3. Cash Pickup
    4. International bank draft
    5. Prepaid debit card
    6. Cryptocurrency

1. International money transfer service

When exploring options for how to transfer large sums of money, you have likely come across international money transfer services like Western Union, OFX and Currencies Direct. These services often specialize in sending large amounts of money all over the world, making them a safe (and often cheaper) alternative to bank transfers.

You’ll find that money transfer services often offer the most competitive exchange rates for your transfer and charge lower fees compared to banks. These services can also deliver funds in as little as a few minutes or up to a few business days.

International money transfer services typically operate entirely online, so you can conveniently transfer large amounts of money from the comfort of your home or through a mobile app.

Reputable international money transfer services have safety features in place to ensure you can make large money transfers securely. These safety features often include multi-factor authentication and data encryption, for example.

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
  • The process is often entirely online
  • Many transfer services offer step-by-step guidance
  • 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.

Compare money transfer specialists

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.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
$100 1 - 2 days CAD 0.00 0.719 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 0.721 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 0.728 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. Transfer large sums of money between banks

Transferring large sums of money between banks may may seem convenient, but it may not be the best option. Banks in Canada are typically more expensive than international money transfer services. So, if you want to transfer a large amount of money, the costs can add up.

However, for small transfers, the ease of using your local bank might be worth the fees and unfavourable exchange rates. It can also be convenient to keep all of your financial transactions under one roof so you can more easily track and manage your money.

You have 2 choices for how to transfer large sums of money between banks:

  • 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
  • Easily manage your large sum transfers along with all of your other daily banking


  • 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 transfer large sums internationally, 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 are often 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. Bank drafts allow another bank, typically in another country, to draw large sums of money directly from the issuing bank. You can think of bank drafts as a cheque sent from one financial institution to another.

Unfortunately, international bank drafts can take up to a few weeks to clear. But unlike personal cheques, the money for a bank draft is withdrawn from your account immediately, which means you don’t have to worry about having insufficient funds when the bank draft gets deposited.

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.


  • No transfer amount limits
  • 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 transfer large sums of money via a prepaid debit card. The sender loads a prepaid debit card with cash. 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 large amounts of money 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. And since cryptocurrency value can be so volatile, there’s no guarantee how much cash you can exchange your cryptocurrency for.

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.

What is the maximum amount of money I can transfer overseas?

In Canada, there is no maximum limit to how much you can transfer overseas. However, recipients may be subject to limits and taxes on incoming transfers depending on the rules in their countries.

What is the best way to transfer a large amount of money?

One of the best ways to transfer a large amount of money is to use a wire transfer service, like Western Union or OFX, since these services offer competitive exchange rates and quick processing times. You can typically complete the transfer entirely online.

That said, compare money transfer options to ensure you’re using the best option for your needs.

Yes, it’s legal to transfer large amounts of money. However, money transfer services must follow Canadian regulations to guard against fraud and money laundering. This involves collecting information on senders and reporting suspicious transactions to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

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