Review: Scotiabank international money transfers

Send fast cash transfers overseas using Scotiabank's online or mobile banking app.

Last updated:

Quick verdict

Good for
  • Fast transfers
  • Cash pick-up
  • Many currencies
  • Online app
Not so great for
  • Competitive rates
  • Reasonable fees
  • Large amounts
  • Bank-to-bank transfers

Scotiabank exchange rates and fees

Scotiabank uses Western Union to send money transfers overseas and, unlike many other banks, doesn’t offer wire transfers. Transfers with Western Union cost $9 plus 1% of your transaction amount.

There will also be a margin of around 2-5% added to the exchange rate, so you’ll pay more than you would with a specialist money transfer service.

See Scotiabank’s foreign currency exchange rates in more detail

Available currencies

You can send cash overseas to over 200 countries with Scotiabank’s online transfer service. Some of the more popular currencies include:

  • USD US Dollar
  • GBP British pound
  • EUR Euro
  • JPY Japanese yen
  • PHP Philippine peso
  • INR Indian rupee
  • MXN Mexican peso
  • LBP Lebanese pound

What types of transfers can you make with Scotiabank?

You can only send transfers with Scotiabank through Western Union, which acts as an intermediary to the bank. To send a transfer, you’ll need to provide your recipient’s information, including name, address and nearest pick-up location. They’ll usually receive the transfer in as little as 30 minutes, so it’s a convenient option if you need to get cash overseas quickly.

Unfortunately, there is no bank-to-bank transfer service available at the time of writing. There are also no forex options like limit orders or forward contracts on offer from Scotiabank to help you save money by locking in a favourable exchange rate for the future.

How long does a transfer with Scotiabank take?

Transfer times vary based on what currency you’re sending, but typically it takes around 30 minutes for your cash to arrive.

What payment methods does Scotiabank accept?

You can only pay for your transfer with Scotiabank through a bank transfer from either your chequing or savings account. There’s a maximum transfer limit of $999 if you’re transferring online. To send more money, you can visit your bank to arrange transfers up to $7,500.

Transfers typically takeClock icon for transfer speed

30 minutes

Is Scotiabank safe to use?

  • Security and regulation. Government-regulated, can enable 2-factor authentication
  • Established. 1832.
  • Number of customers. 25 million
*According to Scotiabank on 9 March 2019.

Scotiabank can enable 2FA, meaning that when you log in, you’ll need to go through two levels of verification to access your account. Unlike many other banks, Scotiabank doesn’t offer fraud protection for sending money overseas with Western Union.

How does Scotiabank make money on my transfer?

Scotiabank makes money on international transfers by charging fees and a margin on the exchange rate. To send money online with Western Union, you’ll pay $9 plus 1% of the transfer amount. In addition, you’ll pay around 2-5% more on exchange rates.

Most banks trade at the mid-market or interbank rate, which is the rate you’ll find on Google or Reuters, and then add a margin. For example, if a bank trades with other banks at a rate of CAD$1 = USD$0.751, they might offer you a rate of CAD$1 = USD$0.732. This means that they get to keep $0.019 on every dollar you exchange.

This might not seem like much but if you send a transfer of $1,000, it adds up to $19. If you throw in the $9 plus the 1% fee charged on top of that, you’ll find that you’re paying the bank an extra $38 to send your money overseas.

How to register an account

To apply for an account with Scotiabank, you’ll need to visit your local branch. Don’t forget to bring a piece of government-issued ID (like a passport or driver’s license), a secondary piece of ID (like a birth certificate or credit card), proof of address and, if you’re a non-resident customer, a reference letter or a current account statement from a reputable bank.

Once you’re all set up, you’ll be able to register for Scotiabank’s online banking or mobile app, which is where you’ll carry out money transfers.

To send a Western Union Money Transfer, first sign in to your mobile or online banking. Click on the “Transfers” tab, and below that click “Western Union Money Transfer”. Fill in your recipient’s personal information, specify the amount you wish to send and which account you’d like to pay from and include a destination country. You can also track your transfer history through the online app.

What is Scotiabank?

Scotiabank was founded by a group of prominent merchants in Halifax over 185 years ago. It’s the 3rd largest bank in Canada by assets and has offices in Canada, the United States and overseas.

In a nutshell


  • Fast transfers. Your transfer will arrive to your recipient in as little as 30 minutes.
  • Cash pick-up. It’s easy to send money to 550,000+ Western Union agent locations around the world.
  • Many currencies. Western Union operates out of over 200 countries, so you can send money to just about anywhere.


  • Poor exchange rates. Scotiabank adds a larger margin to the exchange rate than specialist money transfer services.
  • High fees Fees are based on a percentage of the amount you send in addition to a flat rate, which can add up quickly.
  • Limited to account holders. You can’t transfer money unless you sign up for a bank account, which has to be done in person.
  • No bank-to-bank transfers. Scotiabank only offers online transfers to a Western Union agent location, so it can be a hassle for your recipient to pick up cash.
  • Maximum limits. You can only send $999 per day with online transfers but you can send up to $7,500 if you transfer money at your branch.

How does Scotiabank compare to other providers?

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

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
GBP 3,000 1 day CAD 0.00 0.754 USD
Go to site Show details
USD 150 1 day CAD 15.00 0.754 USD
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 0.759 USD
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 0 1 day CAD 0.00 0.758 USD
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 0.754 USD
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.

Frequently asked questions

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