If you’re willing to hunt around for a better deal, you can save a lot of time and money on your next transfer to Iceland.
Known for its breathtaking volcanic landscape and stunning natural beauty, Iceland is a fascinating country for visitors. In recent years, Canadian tourism to Iceland has skyrocketed. This has created a drastic need for affordable and fast ways to transfer money to the European nation.
While some Canadian banks will allow transfers to Icelandic bank accounts, they tend to offer poor exchange rates and charge high transfer fees. Furthermore, banks generally deliver the money in three to five business days. In recent years, companies that specialize in sending money overseas have emerged onto the market. These specialist money transfer services can send money overseas quickly, for low fees and with competitive exchange rates.
If you need to send money from Canada to Iceland and are looking to save on fees, keep on reading.
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Banks versus money transfer companies
While you could approach your bank to handle your money transfer to Iceland, in most cases you’re better off looking elsewhere. Banks tend to offer poor exchange rates to their customers, which means that a much smaller amount than you originally pay actually ends up making it to your recipient. Banks also charge high transfer fees and generally take three to five days to send money.
With the emergence of specialist money transfer services, there’s another solution to your transfer problem. Specialist money transfer providers, such as OFX and WorldFirst, are experts in money transfers and trade large volumes of global currency. This means they can afford to offer much better exchange rates than banks, plus they also charge much lower fees. Check out the services these companies offer before deciding which company should handle your next international transfer.
Not many companies will transfer Canadian dollars into the local currency of ISK, so transfer fees tend to be higher sending money between Canada and Iceland, even with the use of specialist transfer companies.
Case study: Isaac sends money to Iceland
Isaac wants to send money to Iceland to help out his sister Katie. Katie is on a two-week vacation in Iceland but left her wallet behind at a bar one night, leaving her desperately short of cash. Isaac agrees to transfer her $1,000 Canadian dollars, however since his bank doesn’t transfer exotic currencies, he decides to compare two specialist money transfer companies in an effort to find a cheaper option.
You can see the results of his comparison in the table below. As you can see, the transfer fees are not cheap, since ISK is an exotic currency. However, the offered exchange rate and transfer speeds are much better than a bank would likely offer.
|Money transfer company 1||Money transfer company 2|
|Exchange rate||CAD$1 = 71.76 ISK||CAD$1 = 70.20 ISK|
|Transfer method||Cash pickup||Online bank account transfer|
|Processing time||Minutes||One to three days|
|Amount received (in ISK)||71,762.43 ISK||70,201.30 ISK|
How do I compare transfer companies when transferring and receiving money via Iceland?
- Exchange rates. The higher the exchange rate, the more money your recipient will receive. With that said, make sure that companies with high exchange rates don’t also charge high fees. It is best to compare both the offered exchange rate and the fees to understand how much your recipient stands to receive.
- Transfer fees. You will usually need to pay a fee each time you need to send a money transfer, so compare transaction fees between companies to see which one offers better value for money. Some companies will completely waive transfer fees, which can save you a lot of money. However, this generally only happens when you are sending a large sum of money, around $5,000 or $10,000.
- Transfer methods. Some companies offer online or in-branch transfers only, while others may also offer over the phone and mobile app transfers.
- Transfer options. Check to see whether the transfer company offers limit orders and forward contracts to help you get a better exchange rate, as well as the ability to set up a regular payment schedule. If you don’t need these types of services, you can focus your attention on other factors.
- Minimum and maximum limits. If the company has minimum or maximum transaction limits, will you still be able to send the transfers you want?
- Processing times. Some companies offer fast transfers that can be picked up by your recipient within 10 minutes, while others may take several business days to deliver the funds to your recipient.
- Pickup options. Companies may offer a variety of pickup methods including bank account deposits, cash pickups or mobile app transfers.
- Customer service. Check a company’s customer assistance options and determine how you can access help. Always choose a reputable company to handle your money.
How do I send money to Iceland from Canada?
- Specialist transfer providers. Companies such as Currencies Direct and FairFX may offer this service between Canada and Iceland.
- Cash pickup transfer companies. Western Union and MoneyGram have large international transfer networks and allow transfers between Canada and Iceland. Their fees tend to be higher since they can deliver the money within a matter of minutes.
- Bank transfers. Banks generally offer transfers to countries around the world, but they often don’t offer affordable transactions. Some Canadian banks may also not allow transfers directly into ISK, so you may face a double exchange rate from CAD > USD > ISK for example.
- PayPal. PayPal offers an international money transfer service that allows you to send money to Iceland from Canada. Both you and your recipient will need to have PayPal accounts in order to send and receive money. An account is easy, fast and free to setup online.
- International cheques. You can post an international guaranteed cheque to Iceland by visiting your bank in Canada. Also known as “snail mail”, this is the slowest way to send money overseas.
How do I receive money from Iceland in Canada?
- Specialist transfer providers. Start researching now to find out which companies offer transfers from Iceland to Canada. Companies like FairFX and Currencies Direct may offer this service between the two nations.
- Cash pickup transfer companies. Find a cash pickup company with a transfer location close to you. Keep in mind that you will need a valid ID and tracking number to pick up your funds. Knowing additional information like the amount of money sent, the sender’s address and name can also help.
- Bank transfers. Compare the fees and exchange rates of bank transactions with those of other transfer options.
- PayPal. PayPal customers in Canada can receive international money transfers from Iceland. Both you and your recipient must have PayPal accounts to send and receive money.
- International cheques. Check to see how much your bank will charge in fees when you cash a cheque from overseas. This is the slowest way to send and receive money from overseas, so you may have to wait a few weeks until you receive the money.
Emergency cash transfers in Iceland
If you need to send funds to Iceland as soon as possible, companies like Western Union and MoneyGram offer the convenience of international cash transfers that arrive in as little as ten minutes. However, make sure you’re aware of the full cost of your transaction before you lodge the transfer. High transfer fees and lower exchange rates often apply to emergency cash transfers, so if you’re not careful you could end up paying more than you realize.
Cash pickup locations in Iceland/ Western Union / MoneyGram branches in Iceland
With locations in Iceland and all over the world, Western Union and MoneyGram operate expansive international transfer networks. The details of some popular cash pickup locations in Iceland are listed below. If you are picking up funds, make sure you have a valid photo ID with you, like a passport or a driver’s licence, and the details of your transaction, including your reference or transaction number and the amount sent.
- LandsbankinnAlfabakka 10Reykjavik, 109+354-410-4000Open 12:09am to 4pm Monday to Friday
- LandsbankinnKletthals 1Reykjavik, 110+354-410-4000Open 12:09am to 4pm Monday to Friday
- LandsbankinnHamraborg 8Kopavog, 200+354-410-4000Open 12:09am to 4pm Monday to Friday
Alfabakka 10Reykjavik, 109+354-410-4000Open 12:09am to 4pm Monday to Friday
Hofdabakki 9Reykjavik, 1105801000Open 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday, 11am to 4pm Saturday, 1am to 4pm Sunday
Thonglabakka 4Reykjavik, 1095801200Open 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday, 11am to 4pm Saturday, 1am to 4pm Sunday
Dalvegi 18Kopavogur, 2005801000Open 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday, 11am to 4pm Saturday, 1am to 4pm Sunday
Litlatuni 3Gardabaer, 2105801200Open 9am to 7pm Monday to Friday, 11am to 4pm Saturday, 1am to 4pm Sunday
Tips for picking up cash in Iceland
According to the Government of Canada, visitors to Iceland should exercise normal safety precautions. When picking up cash, make sure to:
- Avoid any high-crime areas or areas where you don’t feel safe
- Take out money in the daytime when there are more people around
- Keep your cash hidden
- Deposit the funds into your bank account or a safe place rather than carrying them around
- Avoid public transportation with large sums of money
What are the steps to send money to Iceland?
- Provide your details. You will usually need to register for a free account before you can send a transfer. This is often done online, where you will need to provide your name, contact information and proof of ID.
- Enter your transaction information. The provider will need to know where you’re sending a transfer, in what currency and the amount you’re sending.
- Pay for your transfer. The final step is to review your transaction details, pay the transfer fees and submit your transfer request. Many companies also allow you to monitor the progress of your transfer using an online tracking service. Keep your tracking number handy in case you have any problems and need to contact customer service.