Best way to send money to South East Asia | finder Canada

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Send money to South East Asia

Safe, secure and cost-effective transfer options when you need to send money to South East Asia.

Expatriates from Southeast Asia who currently reside in Canada might have any number of reasons to send money back to one of the eleven 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.

Send money to Southeast Asia with WorldRemit

An online money transfer service with cash pick-up, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.

  • Choose how you want to send your money - via bank transfer, cash pickup or mobile money
  • Instant money transfers available

Compare international money transfer services

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 150 1 day CAD 15.00 38.413 PHP
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 45+ currencies.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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

Banks vs money transfer companies/services

You will find a number of 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 like 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 an additional $20 to $100 on top of international transfers. If you’re looking for a more affordable option, you might like to consider the services of an online money transfer provider like TorFX or World First.

Case study: 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 $45 fee per transfer. She decides to compare two 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
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 $5) in the exchange rate with the second money transfer option, with an additional $10 in fees. If Pakpao sends money every month, this amounts to almost $180 over the course of one year.

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. Exchange rates are often the most important thing to consider when trying to figure 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 the [currency of your choice] 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 be sure you’re getting 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) or other money transfer services that take longer (between 1 – 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 with your next money transfer.

How to send money to Southeast Asia from Canada

Southeast Asia is made up of 11 countries include 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 looking to send money to Southeast Asia.

  • Bank transfers. Canadian banks can easily organize wire transfers to many countries in Southeast Asia, but most are much more expensive than a run-of-the-mill money transfer option. Alternatively, you can order an international cheque or draft from your bank and send overseas using snail mail.
  • Money transfer companies. Money transfer providers like TorFX and XE Money Transfer can offer convenient and affordable international transfers to Southeast Asia. Cash pickup options like Western Union and MoneyGram can also offer easy and fast cash transfers to the region but the fees and exchange rates will typically be higher than a bank-to-bank money transfer option.
  • 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 are all companies that can send a cash transfer 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 be able to purchase a travel insurance policy to cover loss and theft while on vacation.


The Government of Canada recommends that Canadian travellers take normal security precautions in many Southeast Asian countries (as of 15 September 2018). That being said, 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 and be cautious when withdrawing money from ATMs.

Steps to send money to Southeast Asia

The basic steps you’ll need to follow when sending money to Southeast are as follows:

  1. Sign up for an account. Once you’ve chosen a transfer company, you can usually 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 you can use to monitor the progress of your funds. Keep this reference number in case you have any problems.

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