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Send money to Southeast Asia

Here are safe, secure and cost-effective transfer options when you need to send money to Southeast Asia.

WorldRemit

WorldRemit logo
  • Choose how you want to send your money – via bank transfer, cash pick-up or mobile money
  • Instant money transfers available

Expatriates from Southeast Asia who currently reside in Canada might have any number of reasons to send money back to 1 of the 11 countries that make up the region. Whether you’re looking to send money to family and friends traveling overseas or you have a portfolio of business expenses to manage, check out our handy money transfer guide to find the best deal.

Compare international money transfer services

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 Offer Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer)
OFX
Finder Award
OFX
24 hours
$0
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.
Remitly
Finder Award
Remitly
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.
OFX for online sellers
OFX for online sellers
24 hours
$0
Receive local bank account details for 6 currencies. Free account signup with 24/7 support.
Loop
Loop
Within an hour
$0
Loop has 1 day transfers and low FX rates.
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Banks vs money transfer companies or services

You will find different money transfer options available depending on where in Southeast Asia you plan to make a transfer. Many Canadian banks will be happy to facilitate a transfer to countries with growing economies in Southeast Asia such as Indonesia and Thailand. For other countries like Brunei you will likely need to check with your bank to see whether they deal in more exotic currencies.

Just be aware that banks tend to overcharge on exchange rates and fees, typically adding a $20 to $100 on top of international transfers. If you’re looking for a more affordable option, consider the services of online money transfer providers such as TorFX or WorldFirst.

Example: Pakpao sends money to Southeast Asia

Pakpao has been living and working in Manitoba for a couple of years but sends money regularly home to her parents, who run a small hostel in Bangkok. Pakpao has always used her bank to send wire transfers to Thailand but is unhappy with their steep CAD$45 fee per transfer. She decides to compare 2 online money transfer providers to see if she can find a better deal.

The comparison below is based on exchange rates in the fall of 2018, so check current rates before making your choice.

Money transfer service 1Money transfer service 2
Exchange rates
CAD$1 = THB 23.20
CAD$1 = THB 24.50
Transfer fees
$20
$10
Amount received (for $1,000)
THB 2,320
THB 2,450
Transfer speed
1 – 3 days
1 – 2 days
Options available
Bank-to-bank transfer
Bank-to-bank tranfer
or cash pick-up

Pakpao realizes that she can save THB 130 (around CAD$5) in the exchange rate plus $10 in fees with the second money transfer option. If Pakpao sends money every month, this amounts to CAD$180 over 1 year.

* This is a fictional, but realistic, example.

How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Southeast Asia

The rates and fees charged by money transfer providers vary greatly from country to country. Look at the following factors carefully when comparing your options:

  • Exchange rate. This is often the most important factor when figuring out how much money you can save on an international transfer. Search for a rate similar to the one that appears when you search Canadian dollars to your chosen currency’s exchange rates on Google.
  • Fees. Many transfer companies charge lower fees than the bank and a select few even provide zero-fee services. The best way to get the best deal is to compare 3–4 services.
  • Pick-up methods. If your recipient has a bank account, feel free to send a bank-to-bank transfer with minimal fees. If your recipient needs cash delivered in minutes, it’s best to use a cash transfer service.
  • Turnaround time. Choose between cash transfer services that offer same-day delivery (like Western Union and MoneyGram) and other money transfer services that take longer (between 1 and 3 days) but are more affordable in the long run.
  • Customer service. Look for a company that offers 24/7 customer service to make sure you receive the support you need if you run into a problem.

How to send money to Southeast Asia from Canada

Southeast Asia is made up of 11 countries: Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, East Timor, Laos, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, Burma and Thailand. The following banks and money transfer options may be a good place to start if you’re sending money to the region.

  • Bank transfers. Canadian banks can easily organize wire transfers to many countries in Southeast Asia, but most are more expensive than a run-of-the-mill money transfer. Alternatively, you can order an international cheque or draft from your bank and send overseas using snail mail.
  • Money transfer companies. Money transfer providers such as TorFX and Xe Money Transfer offer convenient and affordable international transfers to Southeast Asia. Cash pick-up options such as Western Union and MoneyGram can also offer easy and fast cash transfers to the region but the fees and exchange rates will be higher than a bank-to-bank money transfer.
  • PayPal. Send money from Canada to Southeast Asia with PayPal, provided both you and your recipient are account holders.

Emergency cash transfer options to Southeast Asia

MoneyGram, Western Union and WorldRemit can transfer cash to Southeast Asia within minutes, making for a great emergency cash option. Major credit cards can also sometimes offer emergency cash to travelers (which is typically extended as a loan) or you may also purchase a travel insurance policy to cover loss and theft while on vacation.

TIPS FOR PICKING UP CASH

The Government of Canada recommends Canadian travellers to take normal security precautions in many Southeast Asian countries (as of 15 September 2018). Petty crime which includes pickpocketing, bag-snatching and robbery takes place frequently throughout the Asian continent. If you do need to collect cash at an agent location, be sure to do so in a safe neighborhood before dark and in the company of a trusted friend. Avoid displaying signs of affluence or carrying large sums of cash. Be cautious when withdrawing money from ATMs.

Steps to send money to Southeast Asia

  1. Sign up for an account. Once you’ve chosen a transfer company, you can register for a free online account using your name, contact details and proof of ID.
  2. Enter your transaction information. Specify the amount of money you want to send and the currency and fill in your recipient’s banking and personal details.
  3. Complete your transfer. Review your payment details as well as the full cost of your transaction and then submit your transfer. You will most likely receive a reference number that you can use to monitor the progress of your funds. Keep this reference number in case you have any problems.

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