Online money transfer providers typically offer the strongest exchange rates and lowest fees on money transfers to Italy. Some offer cash pickup in as little as a few minutes, while others seamlessly transfer to bank accounts. Sending money through PayPal or your bank is also an option, but you’ll typically face higher fees and weaker exchange rates when going that route.
Digital money transfer services
Companies like XE specialize in foreign currencies, making them some of the most cost-effective transfers. Most offer transfers directly to your recipient’s Italian bank account, often in as little as a day or two.
Services like MoneyGram, Remitly and Western Union allow you to transfer cash for pickup at a local branch in Italy— often in 15 minutes. While it’s a fast way to send money, you’ll pay for the convenience in weak exchange rates and high fees.
Italy uses the euro. The euro is a popular currency, so your local bank may be able to exchange them. If your bank supports the euro, beware of high fees and wide margins on the exchange rate compared to digital and other options when sending a wire transfer to Italy.
Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $1,000 to Italy
Let’s say you need to send $1,000 to family in Italy. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of November 7, 2020.
Digital money transfer service
$50 + additional correspondent bank fees
1 CAD = 0.6448 EUR
1 CAD = 0.6211 EUR
1 CAD = 0.6053 EUR
Slowest and most expensive
The bank option ends up being both the slowest and gets the smallest amount of money to your recipient in Italy. If you go with the digital money transfer service, your recipient ends up with EUR 62 more than the bank offers. If speed is crucial, or your recipient wants to pick up cash, a cash transfer can typically have your transfer to Italy in as little as an hour. Confirm there is a cash pickup location near your recipient before sending.
How to send money to Italy online
Sign up and send money with a digital money transfer specialist in four steps:
Sign up for a free account. Pick a provider and sign up for a free online account using your contact information, proof of ID and preferred payment method.
Provide transfer details. Submit your recipient’s contact information and pick a delivery method. If transferring to a bank, you’ll need their Italian bank account information.
Confirm transfer details. Double-check your payment method, expected fees and destination.
Save your receipt. Record your receipt’s confirmation number to track the progress of your transfer to Italy. Some money transfer providers send a text or email when your transfer is complete.
What are the ways that I can send money to Italy
Bank transfers. Many major Canadian banks will allow you to send money to Italy.
Money transfer providers. Providers like XE and CurrencyTransfer can help you quickly and easily transfer your money online.
Providers with cash pickup. Western Union, Remitly and MoneyGram allow you to send funds for cash pickup at agent locations.
PayPal. Electronic payment giant PayPal allows you to send money from Canada to Italy.
Cheques and money orders. Although not a quick option, you could send an international cheque overseas, obtained from your financial institution.
How to get the most out of your money transfer to Italy
Weigh costs and fees against convenience to learn how to compare money transfer providers that send to Italy to best meet your needs:
Exchange rates. The CAD-EUR relationship fluctuates often, so using a service that allows you to lock-in exchange prices may help you save money down the line if the euro rises against the Canadian dollar.
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 CAD-EUR exchange rate.
Transfer limits. How much you can send varies by company, and different amounts can attract higher or lower fees. Shop around for the best deal on the amount of euros you’re sending to Italy.
Turnaround. Transferring money through a local bank can take a business week or longer. If you need the funds delivered quickly, seek out a digital specialist that offers instant transfers to Italy.
Sending limits. Comparing prices for one large transfer instead of many small transfers is typically easier, so picking the service you use based on how much you’re sending is a valid strategy for saving money.
Transfer methods. Whether you want money sent to a Italian bank account or picked up as cash at a local agent, narrow down a company that matches your preferred delivery method.
Emergency cash transfer to Italy
When urgency trumps cost to get your money to Italy quickly, look for money transfer companies that support cash pickup in minutes. You can pay with a credit or debit card for fast pickup, but fees are higher than other methods.
Cash transfer services can help you if you’re unbanked or marginally banked. If you don’t have a bank account, look for a local company that supports storefronts for cash payments. These services include agent locations in other countries that allow your recipient to pick up cash without a bank account.
Italy’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. Italy’s exchange rate is flexible compared to the Canadian dollar, and the CAD-EUR relationship typically changes daily. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Documents needed for sending to and receiving money in Italy
To send money to Italy from Canada, you’ll need government-issued ID and other documents, while documents needed to pick up money in Italy may differ by company.
Documents to send money from Canada
To send money from Canada to Italy, you’ll need documentation and details that include:
Identification. Most services require a driver’s license, passport or other government-issued ID. Some services allow you to send transfers without ID, but they may require your SIN.
Payment method. Your service may accept credit or debit cards, cash, bank accounts or personal cheques.
Recipient information. Submit your recipient’s name as it appears on their ID, along with their phone number and Italian bank account information.
Documents to receive money in Italy
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, an MTCN, a reference number or a tracking number, depending on the company.
Government-issued ID. An Italian Passport, Italian ID or similar official ID that is valid in the EU may be required to pick up your transfer.
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
There are no taxes simply for receiving a money transfer in Canada. However, an incoming transfer could trigger a tax if the money is earned or used in a taxable way. For example, if you receive money as profit from an overseas business venture, you’ll have to report this on your annual tax return as part of your income. Learn more about tax regulations for large international money transfers into Canada in our guide.
Sending your hard-earned money to Italy shouldn’t cost a fortune. Compare money transfer companies that specialize in foreign transactions for the strongest rates, lowest fees and flexible delivery. For transfers to other countries, rely on our country specific guides the next time you need to make a transfer.
Zak Killermann is a writer at Finder. He’s ghostwritten hundreds of articles on fintech, finding his love for publication at St. Cloud State University. Traveling internationally for nearly half his life — and getting burned once by an OTC money exchange — Zak's vowed not to settle for anything short of the mid-market rate again.
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