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How to send money to Canada

Get the best rate when transferring funds into Canada.

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Digital money transfer providers can often beat the rates offered by banks. Using an online money transfer service, instead of a bank, to transfer money to Canada will cut down on fees and give senders access to stronger exchange rates and faster turnaround times.

Is the border between the US and Canada closed?

Yes. The US and Canadian governments agreed to close the border to all non-essential travel as of March 21. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that both countries have agreed to extend the border closure until July 21, 2020.

This notice is current as of May 3, 2020 and will be updated as the government releases new information.

Compare money transfer services that send to Canada

Use the table below to compare transfer speeds, minimum sending limits and more when converting foreign currencies into Canadian dollars.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
CAD 1 Same day USD 0.00 1.293 CAD
6,463
Send money in more than 60 currencies. Fee-free international money transfers with a global brand. Go to site Show details
USD 150 1 day CAD 15.00 1.286 CAD
6,431
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in 45 currencies.
Go to site Show details
CAD 0 Within an hour USD 3.99 1.294 CAD
6,465
Use promo code 3FREE to send your first 3 transfers with no fee. Conditions apply.
An online money transfer service with cash pick-up, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
Go to site Show details
CAD 1 1 - 2 days USD 40.00 1.299 CAD
6,444
Make online transfers with transparent exchange rates, low fees and low minimum amounts. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

How to send money to Canada online

Sending money to Canada online is easy with these 4 steps:

  1. Sign up for a free account. Pick a provider and sign up for a free online account by providing contact information, proof of ID and a preferred payment method.
  2. Provide transfer details. Submit the recipient’s contact information, and pick a delivery method. If money is being transferred to a bank, the sender will need to provide the recipient’s Canadian bank account details.
  3. Confirm transfer details. Senders should carefully double-check the payment method, expected fees and destination.
  4. Save the receipt. A confirmation number will be provided to track the progress of the transfer. Senders should provide the recipient with this number to receive the funds. Some money transfer providers send a text or email when the transfer is complete.

What’s the best way to send money to Canada?

Online money transfer providers typically offer the strongest exchange rates and lowest fees on money transfers to Canada. Some offer transfers straight to Canadian bank accounts, while others allow the money to be picked up in Canadian dollars in person. Banks, PayPal and other options are available but come with high fees, weak rates and longer turnaround times.

Blue icon representing money transfers Image: Infogram

Digital money transfer services

Companies like OFX and CurrencyTransfer specialize in foreign currencies, making them some of the most cost-effective transfers. Most offer transfers directly to the recipient’s Canadian bank account, often in as little as a day or two.

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Cash transfers

Services like MoneyGram allow senders to transfer cash for pickup at a local branch in Canada— often in 15 minutes. While it’s a fast way to send money, senders may also be faced with weak exchange rates and high fees. Compare MoneyGram to digital services like WorldRemit or XE when possible for a better deal.

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Banks

Canadian dollars are carried by many bank, especially if senders are from the US. Although local banks can convert foreign currency into Canadian dollars, it may be done at the cost of high fees and wide margins on the exchange rate compared to digital and other options.

Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending money to Canada

From the US: Let’s say you live in the US and want to send $2,000 USD to a family member in Canada. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates on May 3, 2020.

Digital money transfer service Cash transfer Bank transfer
Fee $0 $3.99 $25 + additional correspondent bank fees
Exchange rate 1 USD = 1.363 CAD 1 USD = 1.365 CAD 1 USD = 1.297 CAD
Transfer speed 1-2 day Minutes 2-5 days
Amount received CAD 2,727 CAD 2,724 CAD 2,562
Verdict
  • Best value
  • Fastest
  • Slowest and most expensive

The bank option ends up being both the slowest and gets the smallest amount of money to your recipient. If you go with the digital money transfer service, your recipient ends up with CAD 95 more than the bank offers. If speed is crucial, a cash transfer can typically have your transfer to Canada in as little as 15 minutes for just a slightly higher fee.

From the UK: Say you lived in the UK. Sending ÂŁ2,000 to Canada might break down as follows (the fees and exchange rates are based on real figures as of May 3, 2020):

Digital money transfer service Cash transfer Bank transfer
Fee ÂŁ0 ÂŁ4.99 ÂŁ25 + additional correspondent bank fees
Exchange rate 1 GBP = 1.6498 CAD 1 GBP = 1.6295 CAD 1 GBP = 1.5910 CAD
Transfer speed 1-2 day Minutes 2-5 days
Amount received CAD 3,299.60 CAD 3,250.87 CAD 3,142.23
Verdict
  • Best value
  • Fastest
  • Slowest and most expensive

Once again, the bank option ends up being both the slowest and gets the smallest amount of money to your recipient, while the cash transfer is the quickest. Sending through the digital money transfer service would result in your recipient getting CAD 157 more than had you sent through the bank.

How to get the most out of your money transfer to Canada

Weigh costs and fees against convenience, and learn how to compare money transfer providers that send to Canada to meet your needs:

  • Exchange rates. Exchange rates fluctuates daily, so using a service that allows you to lock-in exchange prices may help you save money down the line if exchange rates take a turn for the worse in the future.
  • Transfer fees. Transferring money overseas nearly always requires fees, but they might be hidden in the exchange rate. When sending large amounts, it may be cheaper to pay a flat fee to secure a stronger exchange rate.
  • Transfer limits. Transfer minimums and maximums vary by company, and different amounts can attract higher or lower fees. It’s wise to shop around for the best deal on the amount of Canadian dollars being transferred.
  • Turnaround. Transferring money through a local bank can take a business week or longer. Many digital specialists can offer instant transfers to Canada, which is important for senders looking to send money quickly.
  • Maximum limits. Sending more money when exchange rates are favourable can result in long-term savings. Choosing a provider that doesn’t impose transfer limits can be helpful for large transfers to Canada.
  • Transfer methods. Whether money is being sent to a Canadian bank account or for cash pickup at a local agent, companies don’t necessarily offer the same transfer methods. Senders will need to narrow down their options to a company that offers their preferred delivery method.

Emergency cash transfer to Canada

When it’s more important to get money to Canada quickly, senders should look for money transfer companies that support cash pickup in minutes. Fast pickup options can usually be paid for by debit or credit, but fees may be higher than other methods.

How to send money to Canada without a bank account

Cash transfer services can help senders who are unbanked or marginally banked. Senders who don’t have a bank account should look for a local company that supports storefronts for cash payments. These services include agent locations in other countries that allow recipients to pick up cash without a bank account.

Canada’s exchange rates explained

The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another country’s currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weaker currency. Canada’s exchange rate often fluctuates when compared to foreign currencies, so senders should expect exchange rates today to be different to tomorrow’s rates. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.

Check out live exchange rates between the Canadian dollar and 100+ foreign currencies with our A-Z listing of currencies pairs.

Documents needed for sending to and receiving money in Canada

To send money to Canada, senders will need government-issued ID and other documents, while documents needed to pick up money in Canada may differ by company.

Documents to send money to Canada

Documentation and details needed to send money to Canada may include:

  • Identification. Most services require a driver’s license, passport or other government-issued ID. Some services allow transfers without any ID, but some form of Social Security identification number may be required.
  • Payment method. Services may accept credit or debit cards, cash, bank accounts or personal cheques.
  • Recipient information. Senders must provide the recipient’s name as it appears on their ID, along with their phone number and, for transfers to Canadian bank accounts, account information consisting of a transit number, institutional (bank) number and an account number.

Documents to receive money in Canada

To pick up money in person, documentation can include:

  • Transfer number. The person sending you money can forward the transfer’s confirmation details — called a PIN, a MTCN (Money Transfer Control Number), a reference number or a tracking number, depending on the company.
  • Government-issued ID. A Canadian Passport, Canadian Driver’s License, Canadian-Indian Status Card or a similar government-issued ID is typically required to pick up cash.
  • Amount sent. You may need to know how much was sent, usually within 10% of the total.
  • Sender’s information. Take along your sender’s full name, the sending country and their address, if known.

What to watch out for

Typically, Canada imposes no restrictions on remittances to the country through banks and money transfer companies. You also aren’t taxed simply for receiving a money transfer, although the purpose of the money (i.e. an inheritance, capital gains from the sale of an asset etc.) may trigger certain tax rules. Speak to a tax professional to find out exactly what rules apply to your situation.

That being said, banks and companies are required to comply with banking and recording standards that help them avoid the appearance of money laundering. These standards require customers to submit valid ID, log high-amount transfers and submit precise recipient information. Read our guide to Canadian remittance tax guidelines to learn more.

Bottom line

Sending hard-earned money to Canada shouldn’t cost a fortune. Senders should compare transfer companies that specialize in foreign transactions to get the strongest rates, lowest fees and most flexible delivery options. For transfers from Canada to other countries, use our country-specific guides to find out which providers offer the best deal for your needs.

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