Review: RBC international money transfers

Send money overseas at an affordable fee using RBC's online banking or mobile app.

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Quick verdict

Good for
  • Reasonable fees
  • Many currencies
  • Mobile app
  • Secure transfers
Not so great for
  • Competitive rates
  • Fast transfers
  • Large amounts

RBC exchange rates and fees

RBC charges a flat fee of $13.50 for all money transfers made through their online platforms. The rest of their profit comes from adding a margin of around 2-5% to the mid-market rate, which is the rate that the banks trade at.

If you send a wire transfer in person at a branch, the cost increases to $45 per transfer, with the same margin applied.

Take a look at RBC’s exchange rates in more detail

Available currencies

RBC lets you send money 24/7 to over 200 countries in the world. Some of the more popular currencies include:

  • USD US dollar
  • GBP British pound
  • EUR Euro
  • JPY Japanese yen
  • PHP Philippine peso
  • INR Indian rupee
  • AUD Australian dollar
  • THB Thai baht

What types of transfers can you make with RBC?

RBC can send money directly to your recipient’s bank account so long as you know their banking information, including bank name, account number and SWIFT or IBAN code.

If your recipient doesn’t have a bank account, RBC can sometimes send funds to an international branch where your recipient can collect your transfer in cash with proof of ID. Just make sure that you double-check that the branch in question offers this service before you send money.

RBC doesn’t offer any forex options like forward contracts or limit orders, which would allow you to lock in a favourable exchange rate for the future. They also don’t offer regular transfers. They can, however, save your recipient’s information so you don’t have to enter it every time you send money.

How long does a transfer with RBC take?

Transfer time depends on what currency you’re sending. As a general rule, it’ll be anywhere between two and five business days.

What payment methods does RBC accept?

You can only pay for your transfer with RBC through a bank transfer. Funds can be sent from either your chequing or savings account but you won’t be able to send money from a US dollar account, or the RBC High Interest eSavings account.

Most online transfers have a $2,500 daily limit, but you can apply to increase your limit to $10,000 if you successfully complete an additional authentication process. Your limit will be higher if you opt to go into your branch to send a wire transfer, but your fees will also triple.

Transfers typically takeClock icon for transfer speed

2-5 days

Is RBC safe to use?

  • Security and regulation. Government-regulated, can enable 2-factor authentication
  • Established. 1864
  • Number of customers. 16 million*
*According to RBC on 6 March 2019.

RBC can enable 2FA, meaning that when you log in, you’ll need to go through two levels of verification to access your account. RBC also stands behind every transfer made through its online banking and mobile app, so you’re protected in case of fraud.

How does RBC make money?

RBC makes money by charging fees and a margin on the exchange rate. Fees sit at $13.50 across the board for online transfers, but you need to be mindful of hidden charges for things like cancelling your transfer or forgetting to include your recipient’s IBAN. If you send a wire transfer in person at a branch, fees start at $45 per transfer.

The rest of RBC’s profit comes from adding a margin to the mid-market rate, which is the rate that the banks trade at. This is why the rate you’re quoted when you make your transfer will be different from bank to bank, and from the rate you can see on Google or Reuters.

For example, a provider may quote you CAD$1= INR 50.18 for a money transfer to India, while the rate you can see on Google is CAD$1 = INR 52.21. This difference is the margin and it’s how providers cover their own costs.

How to register an account

To get an RBC bank account, you’ll need to register online or in-branch. For online registration, you simply fill out some personal info like your name, address, occupation and contact details. You’ll also need to agree to be checked out by the credit bureau. If you don’t feel comfortable with a credit check, you can go into a branch to ask about opening an account.

Once you’ve opened your account, you can register for RBC’s online banking or mobile app, which is where you’ll carry out money transfers. You can also visit your branch if you want to send a wire transfer, which costs more.

For online banking, simply sign in and on the right side of the Accounts Summary page under Quick Payments & Transfers, select “International Money Transfer”. Then just follow the on-screen instructions.

For the mobile app, you’ll need to tap on “Send Money”/”Move Money” and select “International Money Transfer”. From there, you can respond to additional prompts from the app.

What is RBC?

Royal Bank of Canada began as the Merchants Bank of Halifax in 1864. Today, it’s expanded to 36 countries around the world and holds the title of Canada’s largest chartered bank.

In a nutshell

Pros

  • Reasonable fees for online transfers. RBC charges a flat fee per transfer regardless of the amount sent.
  • 24/7 access. Transfers are sent through an online platform that you can conveniently access at any time of day.
  • Many countries. You can send money to over 200 countries.
  • Secure. They’ll reimburse you for any transfers made fraudulently on your account.

Cons

  • Poor exchange rates. RBC adds a larger margin to the exchange rate than specialist money transfer services.
  • High fees for wire transfers. You’ll end up paying triple the amount in fees to send a wire transfer.
  • Hidden fees and charges. You may find unexpected charges for things like cancelling your transfer or forgetting to include your recipient’s IBAN.
  • Limited to account holders. You can’t transfer money unless you sign up for a bank account.
  • Maximum limits. You can only send $2,500 per day for online transfers, but you can apply for a $10,000 limit.

How does RBC compare to other providers?

RBC is just one among many banks and specialist companies offering international money transfers. Use our calculator below to see how RBC stacks up against the competition.

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
USD 150 1 day CAD 15.00 0.748 USD
3,729
Exclusive offer: Discounted exchange rates for your first and ongoing transactions. $0 transfer fee.
A higher exchange rate applies to non-finder customers. Send money in 45 currencies.
Go to site Show details
CAD 0 Within an hour CAD 3.99 0.753 USD
3,760
Use code FINDERCA and pay zero fees on your first transfer. Conditions apply.
An online money transfer service with cash pick-up, bank account to bank account and airtime transfers available.
Go to site Show details
CAD 1 1 - 2 days CAD 45.00 0.756 USD
3,744
Make online transfers with transparent exchange rates, low fees and low minimum amounts. Go to site Show details
CAD 0 1 day CAD 0.00 0.748 USD
3,740
Send money in more than 60 currencies. Fee-free international money transfers with a global brand. Go to site Show details
CAD 2,000 1 day CAD 0.00 0.748 USD
3,740
TorFX guarantee to beat any competitor's exchange rate for a transaction. Conditions apply.
Send money overseas in 45 currencies.
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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