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How to send money to Canada from the USA
Get the best rate when transferring funds to our friendly neighbor to the north.
Digital money transfer providers can beat the rates offered by your bank. Transferring money online to Canada from the US, instead of through your local bank, will save you on fees and give you access to stronger exchange rates and faster turnaround times.
Is the border between the US and Canada closed?Yes. The US and Canadian governments agreed to close the border to all non-essential travel as of March 21. On April 18, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that both countries have agreed to extend the border closure for another 30 days beyond the original end date of April 21. Said the Prime Minister, “This is an important decision and one that will keep people on both sides of the border safe.”
Compare money transfer services that send to Canada from the US
Compare transfer speeds, minimum sending limits and more when buying Canadian dollars with US dollars.
What's in this guide?
- Compare money transfer services that send to Canada from the US
- How to send money to Canada
- What's the best way to send money to Canada?
- How to get the most out of your money transfer to Canada
- Canada's exchange rates explained
- Documents needed for sending to and receiving money in Canada
- What to watch out for
- Bottom line
How to send money to Canada
Sign up and send money with a digital money transfer specialist in four steps:
- Sign up for a free account. Pick a provider and sign up for a free online account using your contact information, proof of ID and your preferred payment method.
- Provide transfer details. Submit your recipient’s contact information and pick a delivery method. If you’re transferring to a bank, you’ll need your recipient’s Canadian bank account details.
- Confirm transfer details. Double-check your payment method, expected fees and destination.
- Save your receipt. Record your receipt’s confirmation number to track the progress of your transfer to Canada. Some money transfer providers send a text or email when your transfer is complete.
What’s the best way to send money to Canada?
Online money transfer providers typically offer the strongest exchange rates and lowest fees on money transfers to Canada. Some offer transfers straight to Canadian bank accounts, while others allow the money to be picked up in Canadian dollars in person. Banks, PayPal and other options are available but come with high fees, weak rates and longer turnaround times. Some of the best ways to send money to Canada include:
- Digital money transfer services. Companies like OFX and CurrencyTransfer specialize in foreign currencies, making them some of the most cost-effective transfers. Most offer transfers directly to your recipient’s Canadian bank account, often in as little as a day or two.
- Cash transfers. Services like MoneyGram allow you to transfer cash for pickup at a local branch in Canada— often in 15 minutes. While it’s a fast way to send money, you’ll pay for the convenience in weak exchange rates and high fees. If a cash pickup is necessary, look to digital services like WorldRemit or XE when possible.
- Best value
- Slowest and most expensive
- Exchange rates. The USD-CAD relationship fluctuates daily, so using a service that allows you to lock-in exchange prices may help you save money down the line if exchange rates take a turn for the worse in the future.
- Transfer fees. Transferring money overseas nearly always requires fees, but they might be hidden in the exchange rate. When sending large amounts, it may be cheaper to pay a flat fee to secure a stronger exchange rate.
- Transfer limits. How much you can send varies by company, and different amounts can attract higher or lower fees. Shop around for the best deal on the amount of Canadian dollars you’re sending.
- Turnaround. Transferring money through a local bank can take a business week or longer. If you need the funds delivered quickly, seek out a digital specialist that offers instant transfers to Canada.
- Maximum limits. When exchange rates are favorable, sending more money can save you money in the future. If you plan to send large amounts of money to Canada, be sure to pick a provider that won’t limit you.
- Transfer methods. Whether you want money sent to a Canadian bank account or picked up as cash at a local agent, narrow down a company that matches your preferred delivery method.
- Identification. Most services require a driver’s license, passport or other government-issued ID. Some services allow you to send transfers without ID, but they may require your SSN.
- Payment method. Your service may accept credit or debit cards, cash, bank accounts or personal checks.
- Recipient information. Senders must provide the recipient’s name as it appears on their ID, along with their phone number and, for transfers to Canadian bank accounts, account information consisting of a transit number, institutional (bank) number and an account number.
- Transfer number. The person sending you money can forward the transfer’s confirmation details — called a PIN, a MTCN, a reference number or a tracking number, depending on the company.
- Government-issued ID. A Canadian Passport, Canadian Driver’s License, Canadian-Indian Status Card or a similar government-issued ID is typically required to pick up cash.
- Amount sent. You may need to know how much was sent, usually within 10% of the total.
- Sender’s information. Take along your sender’s full name, the sending country and their address, if known.
Let’s crunch the numbers: Sending $2,000 to Canada
Let’s say you need to send $2,000 to our northern neighbors. Here’s what you might face as far as fees and exchange rates as of March 9, 2020.
|Digital money transfer service||Cash transfer||Bank transfer|
|Fee||$0||$3.99||$25 + additional correspondent bank fees|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 1.363 CAD||1 USD = 1.365 CAD||1 USD = 1.297 CAD|
|Transfer speed||1-2 day||Minutes||2-5 days|
|Amount received||CAD 2,727||CAD 2,724||CAD 2,562|
The bank option ends up being both the slowest and gets the smallest amount of money to your recipient. If you go with the digital money transfer service, your recipient ends up with CAD 95 more than the bank offers. If speed is crucial, a cash transfer can typically have your transfer to Canada in as little as 15 minutes for just a slightly higher fee.
How to get the most out of your money transfer to Canada
Weigh costs and fees against convenience, and learn how to compare money transfer providers that send to Canada to meet your needs:
Emergency cash transfer to Canada
When it’s more important to get your money to Canada quickly, look for money transfer companies that support cash pickup in minutes. You can pay with a credit or debit card for fast pickup, but fees are higher than other methods.
How to send money to Canada without a bank account
Cash transfer services can help you if you’re unbanked or marginally banked. If you don’t have a bank account, look for a local company that supports storefronts for cash payments. These services include agent locations in other countries that allow your recipient to pick up cash without a bank account.
Canada’s exchange rates explained
The exchange rate determines how much one country’s currency is worth in another country’s currency. When a country’s currency is strong, it yields more money when exchanging it in a country with a weaker currency. Canada’s exchange rate often fluctuates when compared to the US dollar, so expect exchange rates today to be different than those you’ll see tomorrow. Factors that influence the exchange rate include interest rates, economic stability and inflation.
Track how the Canadian dollar trades against the US dollar in our historical rate chart.
Documents needed for sending to and receiving money in Canada
To send money to Canada from the US, you’ll need government-issued ID and other documents, while documents needed to pick up money in Canada may be different by company.
Documents to send money from the US
To send money from the US to Canada, you’ll need documentation and details that include:
Documents to receive money in Canada
To pick up money in person, documentation can include:
What to watch out for
Most money transfers between the United States and Canada shouldn’t have any specific tax obligations attached to them, so long as they are for personal use and kept under $10,000 USD. Some circumstances may trigger a need for filing specific forms, so read up on our Canadian remittance tax guidelines to learn more about when you may need to file with the IRS.
Sending your hard-earned money to Canada shouldn’t cost a fortune. Compare transfer companies that specialize in foreign for the strongest rates, lowest fees and flexible delivery. For transfers to other countries, rely on our country specific guides the next time you need to make a transfer.
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