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How to keep your money transfer safe

Learn how to track cash transfers, SWIFT transfers, wire transfers and more.

Some money transfers can take up to five days or more to arrive to your recipient, and that’s a long time to be stressing about your money’s safe arrival. Many money transfer companies and banks offer end-to-end tracking so you can monitor the progress of your payments. However, each company has a different procedure for tracking transfers. To help you understand the differences, here’s a look at how the major transfer companies handle tracking your cash.

Send money internationally with XE and have it tracked the whole way

XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools.

  • Send money overseas in just one day
  • More than 40 different currencies available
  • Low transfer fees
  • Keep track of your transaction 24/7 online

How can I track my transfer?

With most companies, you can track your transfer using the confirmation number that came with your receipt. You should be able to view the steps of your progress, from sending to receiving, either online or by contacting them by telephone. A few transfer services also offer the option of text or email notification at each stage of your transaction.

In general, to track a money transfer:

  1. Complete your transfer. After sending a transfer, you can start tracking it.
  2. Check your receipt. Look for a reference, confirmation, order, transaction or similarly named number.
  3. Contact the sending company. Call, go online or visit a physical location of the company you sent your transfer through and provide your tracking number.
  4. Sign up for notifications. When possible, opt-in for notifications on each step of your transfer.

Track a Western Union transfer

Tracking a Western Union transfer requires an MTCN, which is Western Union’s tracking number. If you don’t know the MTCN, you still have options, but you’ll need to know:

  • Sender’s phone number OR both the sender and receiver names
  • Receiver’s country
  • Send amount OR receive amount
  • Date of transfer

Learn more about how Western Union tracking works or contact Western Union directly for further help.

Track a MoneyGram transfer

MoneyGram tracking is fairly straightforward and requires that you provide your last name and the authorization or reference number.

  • Authorization number – This number is found in your confirmation email.
  • Reference number – This number is found in your email only after the money is ready for cash pickup.

Learn more about how MoneyGram tracking works or contact MoneyGram directly for further help.

Track a Ria transfer

Ria tracking can be done through the mobile app, online or by contacting customer service on the phone. You’ll need to provide one of the following to track your transfer:

  • Order number
  • PIN
  • Reference number

Learn more about how Ria tracking works or contact Ria directly for further help.
Screenshot of Ria money transfer tracking page

Sample tracking page for Ria.

Where is my tracking number?

Depending on the service you choose to transfer your money overseas — whether a bank or independent money transfer specialist — your transaction should come with a confirmation number or a record of your transaction.

Money tracking numbers come in many different names:

  • Authorization number
  • Reference number
  • MTCN (Money Transfer Control Number)
  • Order number
  • PIN
  • RTRN (Remittance Transaction Reference Number)
  • Confirmation number
  • …and more

What is an MTCN?

Every brand wants points for originality — and money transfer providers are no exception. An MTCN is what Western Union calls its transfer confirmation number. It stands for Money Transfer Control Number, a unique reference number assigned to your specific transfer.

If you’ve ordered a cash pickup, your recipient will need to submit the MTCN before Western Union will release your funds.

Similarly, an RTRN is the specific code used for Remit2India transactions. It stands for Remittance Transaction Reference Number, and you’ll only receive it when sending money through Remit2India.

What if I don’t have a tracking number?

Transfers come in all shapes and sizes, and depending on what type of provider you use to send your money, you may or may not have a tracking number. Don’t worry — chances are you can still track your transfer even if you don’t have a tracking number. Here’s how:

Tracking bank wire transfers

Sending money internationally through your bank typically won’t generate a tracking number, as wire transfers are a bit different from money transfer services.

  • You’ll typically use a SWIFT code to track this transfer.
  • Call your bank’s customer service or contact your bank online.

Tracking using a tracking number

Check your receipt for a highlighted number that may be called a:

  • reference number
  • tracking number
  • confirmation number

Input this website on the transfer company’s website, give it to a customer service representative on the phone or provide it at an agent location to track your transfer.

Track without a tracking number

Some services, typically those that operate entirely online, require you to track through your order history instead of through a tracking number. To do so:

  1. Log in to your account
  2. Navigate to your order history
  3. Look for order details, including specific details on arrival time and any occurring delays.

Can I track a transfer using a SWIFT code?

Yes. If your transfer isn’t delivered within the window you were promised, you can request a trace on your transaction using the bank’s SWIFT code. A SWIFT code is an ID that banks use when sending wire transfers. With this number, your bank can determine whether the deposit is on hold or in progress.

How can “on hold” be an option? One drawback of SWIFT transfers is that banks can hold on to your money until they’re able to get an exchange rate that better favors their bottom line. If your money needs to reach your recipient by a specific deadline, be sure to specify that exact date or time to avoid any bank delay.

Sometimes you’ll need to know your IBAN — International Bank Account Number — for international money transfer tracking. This number identifies your bank account, your bank and your country to make international transfers faster. Transfers to and from the European Union often use an IBAN, so be prepared to use it when transferring money to and from the EU.

How are money transfers regulated in Canada?

Regulations for senders

In Canada, you aren’t taxed simply for receiving a money transfer. But you may have to pay capital gains tax if you receive money from selling or disposing of assets like stocks, bonds, real estate, inventory, vehicles, furniture, artwork etc.

Failing to declare all taxable amounts to the CRA could land you with a penalty worth a percentage of the amount you failed to report (possibly around 5-10% of that income) plus an additional percentage for each month you avoid paying taxes (possibly around 1-2% of that income). Speak with a Canadian tax professional to make sure you understand your tax obligations.

Regulations for financial institutions and transfer service providers

Financial institutions like banks, credit unions and loan companies are required to comply with Canadian laws designed to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

When processing transfers over CAD $10,000, transfer service providers must report transaction details, including your account information, to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC). FINTRAC coordinates with law enforcement agencies like the RCMP and local police to track down and prevent financial crimes. Your transfer may be declined if you refuse to provide additional information when required.

Splitting transactions into smaller amounts is referred to as “structuring,” and is considered a punishable offense when used to avoid the $10,000 reporting threshold.

How do I cancel a money transfer?

Nearly all banks and money transfer providers offer some way of canceling your transaction after you’ve set it in motion — as long as your money hasn’t yet been delivered. If you need to cancel your transfer, contact your transfer provider by phone, email or in person as soon as possible. If the funds have not been processed, you may be able to stop it. If you have an online account, you may have the option of cancelling there.

Can I get a refund for a money transfer?

If you’re able to cancel your money transfer, you should see a refund for the total you paid for it. In the rare case, a provider may deduct a cancellation fee from your refund — which might be another factor to weigh when choosing the company you ultimately go with.

If your transfer is not yet picked up or deposited into your recipient’s account, you may be able to log in to your account to cancel the transfer yourself. Otherwise, call, visit or live chat with your provider to discuss its refund process and how much you can expect to get back.

Can I change my recipient’s information if I entered it incorrectly?

Unfortunately, you’ll find that changing your recipient’s name or address is trickier after you’ve initiated a transfer. But if you haven’t entered your recipient’s details correctly, they may not be able to receive their funds at all.

If you’ve found an error with your recipient’s information, call, visit or live chat with your provider immediately. Keep any confirmation number or receipt handy to help in pulling up your transfer.

Your provider should be able to correct or modify your recipient’s details for you, even if it means adding a few more days to your delivery window as the system updates.

If you’ve discovered the error outside business hours, try logging in to your account — you may be able to make the changes yourself if your transfer isn’t yet complete.

Closing the deal

An international money transfer is a safe way to get money to loved ones and businesses worldwide quickly and easily. And with most providers, you can track your cash every step of the way to its ultimate destination.

The Internet’s opened up a world of options beyond your local bank or corner financial stores — options that typically come with stronger exchange rates, low or no fees and flexible tools that help you lock in deals on regular transfers.

Taxes and regulations on money transfers into Canada

Compare international money transfer services with easy tracking

Compare all the companies and banks that provide money transfers can be a pain. So we’ve created this table to help you make those comparisons all in one place. Just enter the amount you want to send, your country’s currency and your recipient’s currency. All the companies within this table provide tracking to help you monitor your transfer.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
$100 3 - 5 days CAD 0.00 0.779 USD
Send money without fees and at competitive exchange rates to 130+ countries. Go to site Show details
CAD 1 Same day CAD 0.00 0.779 USD
XE has fast transfers with low fees and a range of foreign currency tools. Go to site Show details
USD 150 1 day CAD 0.00 0.78 USD
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.
Go to site Show details
CAD 2,000 1 day CAD 0.00 0.78 USD
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply.
TorFX sends money overseas in 30+ currencies, with competitive rates for transfer amounts over $2,000.
Go to site Show details
CAD 10 Within an hour CAD 1.99 0.775 USD
Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
USD 10,000 1 - 2 days CAD 0.00 0.776 USD
Dunbridge Financial offers competitive exchange rates and zero fees on transfers to more than 120 countries. Go to site Show details
CAD 1 1 - 2 days CAD 90.00 0.783 USD
Wise uses the mid-market rate and transparent fees to help you send money in 45+ currencies. Go to site Show details
GBP 5,000 1 - 2 days CAD 0.00 0.78 USD
CurrencyTransfer lets you shop around for the best exchange rate on its online marketplace. 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.

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