How to find a safe, convenient and inexpensive way to send money from Canada to Southeast Asia.
Expatriates from Southeast Asia who currently reside in Canada could have any number of reasons why sending money back home is important to them. If you are one of them, you may be helping your family with their living expenses or saving to make an investment in your home country.
Whatever the reason, it’s important that you find a specialist money transfer company or bank that will allow you to make these overseas money transfers to Southeast Asia with as few fees as possible and an exchange rate that’s competitive.
11 different nations belong to the Southeast region of Asia. These include: Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. If you’re originally from one of these countries but are currently living in Canada, you should consider researching your money transfer options.
International money transfer products and services that allow you to transfer to Southeast Asia
Use the table below to compare options for transferring money to Southeast Asia. Be sure to check that the service offers your particular currencies and destination before signing up. To find out specifically which currencies a product or service supports, click “More” to be directed to a review page.
You can use the table headings to sort through products based on features and fees.
Banks vs money transfer companies/services
You will find a number of different options available depending on where in Southeast Asia you are transferring money to. Some Canadian banks will allow you to transfer money to some of the bigger countries in Southeast Asia like Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. For other countries, you will have to check with the bank personally. Some Canadian banks may not allow transfers to Southeast Asia at all, so you may have to compare different banks to find out your options.
Check the options available for your recipient country carefully in order to ensure that you are getting a good deal on transfer services. Expect to pay a fee for the transfer as well as a reduction in the value of the currency.
Case study #1:
Noot moved from Thailand to Canada over a year ago and has recently decided to begin investing money back home towards the purchase of a house for her elderly parents. The challenge is to find a reliable financial institution that will conduct the transactions without overcharging her or giving her an unusually low rate on the currency exchange.
Noot has found a banking option that will do an account -to-account transfer from Canada as well as a money transfer service that necessitates someone back home physically picking up the money at an agency. Here’s what she found when comparing the two different companies:
|Bank money transfer service||Non-bank money transfer service|
|Exchange rate.||1 CAD = 23.98 THB||1 CAD = 25.39 THB|
|Fees.||This bank charges CAD$25 per transfer. This fee does not include what may be charged by the Thai bank.||You will be charged a fee of CAD$15 when initiating the transfer. The recipient will not be charged a fee at pick-up.|
|Amount received per CAD$1,000 sent.||THB23,152 will be deposited into the Thai account minus any fees charged by the bank.||THB25,085 will be available for pick-up.|
|Turnaround time.||It will generally take up to 1 business day for the money to leave your Canadian account and 1-3 additional business days for it to clear into the overseas bank account.||This service is normally conducted in a matter of minutes. You will have to arrange for someone to pick up the money at one of their locations. To do this, you will have to give them the transfer code.|
As you can see, using a non-bank transfer service not only saves $10 in fees, but the amount received in Thailand is much higher, thanks to a more competitive exchange rate offered by the transfer service. Monies lost in the transaction will add up to thousands of Canadian dollars quickly if Noot is sending money home consistently.
Case study #2:
Jaslyn is getting ready to leave her family in Singapore for a year abroad in Canada as part of her company’s expansion efforts. Worried about her husband and children, she is looking into ways to send a portion of her pay back home each month.
Jaslyn has been able to find two secure ways of getting money to her husband while away in Canada. One is a well- known Canadian bank, while the other is a money transfer company. When comparing the differences between the two, this is what she found:
|Bank-to-bank money transfer.||Non-bank money transfer.|
|Exchange rate.||1 CAD = 1.04 SGD||1 CAD = 1.05 SGD|
|Fees.||The fee for a bank to bank money transfer from Canada to Singapore is CAD$25. This does not include any charges from the bank in Singapore.||You will be charged a fee of CAD$40 by the transfer company to conduct this overseas transaction.|
|Amount received per $1,000 Canadian dollars sent.||The Singapore bank account will receive SGD$1,040 at the completion of the transaction.||The recipient will receive SGD$1,050.|
|Turnaround time.||This service is normally conducted over a period of 2-4 business days.||This service is normally conducted in a matter of minutes. This company offers both cash pick-up services and direct bank account deposits. Different charges apply depending on the transfer method.|
In this case, the transfer with the non-bank company gives the recipient SGD$10 more than the bank transfer, but Jaslyn will spend CAD$15 more in fees. Depending on what the Singaporean bank will charge, in this case it’s more economically sound to use the specialist money transfer service since she will have the money transferred almost immediately for about the same cost.
How to compare transfer companies when transferring money to Southeast Asia
As you can see from the case studies, the rates and fees are going to vary greatly from country to country when looking at different methods of transferring money from Canada to Southeast Asia. Look at the following factors carefully when comparing your options:
- Exchange rate. Some companies will mask high fees in competitive exchange rates. This factor is important to compare against fees to understand exactly how much money the transaction will cost you.
- Fees. The upfront fee is very important in your decision. You’ll find that this can vary significantly between companies as well as where you are sending the money to.
- Pick-up methods. Think about who you are sending the money to and for what purpose. If the closest pick-up locations are far for your recipient, bank-to-bank transfers may work out better for both you and them.
- Turnaround time. For scheduled payments, the turnaround time may not be an issue for you, but will be if an emergency warrants that you send money home immediately.
- Transfer methods. Some services, especially banks, will allow you to conduct the entire transaction online, while you may have to go to a specialist money transfer company location to send cash or use other methods.
How to send money to Southeast Asia from Canada
As there are many nations that comprise Southeast Asia you will have to research to find those that provide money transfer services to the country of your choice.
Try these banks and companies first, as they will provide a variety of different options to send money home:
- Money transfer companies. There are numerous specialist money transfer services which allow you to send money to a variety of Southeast Asian countries. You can compare these above.
- Banks. Most larger Canadian banks, like RBC, CIBC, TD, Scotiabank and BMO, will allow you to send funds to Southeast Asian nations. As always, ensure you compare them using the criteria above to get a good deal. Some banks, such as HSBC, will offer accounts which have benefits when sending funds overseas, and these can be compared in the table above.
- Western Union. Western Union services Southeast Asian nations and will even have sales and specials that you can take advantage of from time to time. This service requires that you know the recipient’s full name as it appears on their identification documents and that you give them a verification code before they pick up the money.
- MoneyGram. MoneyGram is a non-bank institution that offers money transfer solutions from Canada to Southeast Asia. This is a pick-up only service for most of the nations in Southeast Asia.
Emergency cash transfers in Southeast Asia
If you are robbed while travelling in Southeast Asia and need emergency assistance, the first thing you should do is contact the local authorities. Once you have an official police report, you can then decide the best way to get more cash to finish your travels.
- Transfer services. In most cases, as long as you still have your passport or other form of photo ID, a Canadian in Southeast Asia should be able to pick up money that has been sent to them from family or friends in Canada. This money can sometimes be sent to a bank or a specialist money transfer provider like Western Union or MoneyGram.
- Traveller’s insurance. Anytime you book a trip, especially for overseas travel, you should purchase travel insurance. This can protect you from completely being without money if you lose your wallet or it’s stolen while you are vacationing in Southeast Asia, as the policy can sometimes provide a cash benefit.
- Credit card. Some credit cards also come with complimentary comprehensive traveller’s insurance that can help in getting you money if have been robbed while on vacation. Ensure that you’ve fulfilled the eligibility requirements for this policy before travelling.
Cash pick-up locations in Southeast Asia
Philippines – MoneyGram
- Jaro PawnshopP. Burgos StreetCaridadCavite City, 4100Phone: 464314905Open Monday through Sunday 8 am to 5 pm
- Cavite Export Proc ZoneRosario, 04106
Phone: 63464376549Open Monday through Sunday 8 am to 5 pm
Philippines – Western Union
- E Business Services IncP Burgos Avenue 756Cavite City, 4100Phone: 26202360Open Monday through Saturday 8 am to 5 pm Sunday 9 am to 5 pm
- GSIS Family BankKawit, 4104
Phone: 464343771Open Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Closed on Saturday and Sunday
Singapore – MoneyGram
BKK Forex PTE LTD – People’s Park Complex
- 1 Park Road#01-78G People’s Park ComplexSingapore, 059108Phone: 368896Open Monday through Sunday 10:30 am to 8:30 pm
Ameertech Remittance And Exchange
- 195B Serangoon RoadBroad WSingapore, 218067Phone: 06562977707Open Monday through Friday 10 am to 9 pm Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 10 pm
Singapore – Western Union
- Western Union Global Network Pte LtdNo. 1 Jurong West Central 2#B1-34 Jurong Point Shopping Center
548886Phone: 65 63362000Open Monday through Friday 10 am to 9:30 pm Saturday 11 am to 9:30 pm Sunday 11 am to 10 pm
- Western Union Global Network Pte LtdBlk 301 Ubi Avenue 1#01-261400301Phone:65 63362000Open Monday through Sunday 11 am to 9 pm Closed daily from 2 pm to 3 pm
Tips for picking up cash in Southeast Asia
The Government of Canada recommends that you practice normal safety practices when travelling in most countries in Southeast Asia, however you should be particularly careful in countries like the Philippines and Myanmar. You should also be cautious when picking up cash at any known cash transfer location, no matter where you are in the world.
If possible, travel with a friend to the location or ask your hotel personnel for assistance. After the pick-up, secure the cash in different locations on your person and head back to your hotel or bank immediately in order to secure it.
How to send money to Southeast Asia
Your options for sending money from Canada to Southeast Asia will depend on the country where you’re sending the money. The more exotic the currency, the more difficult it will be for you to find a company or bank that will work with you. Once you do find a money transfer company that meets your needs, be prepared to supply the following:
- Name of recipient. If using a non-bank transfer service, you’ll have to give the full name of the person who will be picking up the money. This name should exactly match the name shown on their identity verification document.
- Transfer code. When you initiate the transfer, you will be given a unique number code. This code must be shared with your recipient in order for them to collect the money. They should also know your name, general location, phone number and the amount of money sent.
- Bank transfers. If a bank-to-bank transfer is a better option for you, you’ll need to have accounts set up in both Canada and your home country, or your recipient will need an account in the destination country.
- Fees. There could be fees charged from the recipient bank. This is something you will need to investigate before committing to this method of transferring money.
Expect to receive a receipt at the end of your transaction, showing your name, the recipient’s name and the amount transferred. Keep this receipt until your recipient has safely received the funds, in case you must present it if there are any issues.
Figuring out how to transfer your money from Canada to Southeast Asia is an important decision you should take into consideration before you make a move. Explore the options you have thoroughly and pick the one that provides the most convenience for the least amount of money.