Take advantage of the best possible exchange rates and fees when you send money from the United States to Canada.
While we like to poke fun at our northern neighbors for everything from their accents to their unfailing politeness, Canada is one of our closest friends. In fact, there are more than one million Canadian Americans throughout the country, while in June 2015 alone, more than 3.3 million American tourists visited Canada.
This means that if you need to send money to Canada, there are plenty of banks and money transfer companies willing to offer their services. It’s up to you to compare the features of a range of providers and find one that offers safe transfers, convenience, and value for money.
Compare Money Transfer Services
Banks versus money transfer services
While banks are capable of handling international wire transfers, they typically offer higher fees and unfavorable exchange rates compared to specialist money transfer providers.
Using the services of a global money transfer provider will generally mean that you’ll benefit from larger cost savings.
Robyn has scored her dream job in New York and left her family behind in Toronto, but that doesn’t mean she’s forgotten her roots. She wants to send $2,000 to her younger sister back in Canada as a birthday gift, but the thought of paying her bank’s expected $50 transfer fee seems exorbitant. Robyn decides to compare the services of two specialist money transfer companies to see if she can find a better deal.
|Money transfer company 1||Money transfer company 2|
|Exchange rate||1 USD = 1.30||1 USD = 1.27|
|Transfer method||Bank account deposit||Cash pickup|
|Processing time||1 business day||10 minutes|
|Amount received (in CAD)||2,600 CAD||2,540 CAD|
As you can see, while Robyn can send an extra 60 CAD and save more than $80 in fees by using the first company. However, the second company does allow her to send an urgent transfer if she needs to.
How to compare transfer companies when sending money to Canada
- Exchange rates. Look for a company that offers higher exchange rates than its competitors, but remember to check whether those rates come with higher fees attached.
- Fees. Robyn’s example above shows just how widely fees can vary between providers. Make sure you’re aware of all the fees that apply to a transaction.
- Transfer methods. As well as online transfers or in-branch transfers, can you place a transfer request over the phone or using a dedicated mobile app?
- Transfer options. While some companies only offer one-off transfers, others offer the convenience of scheduling regular transfers. Forward contracts and limit orders are also available to help you take advantage of changing market conditions.
- Turnaround time. Compare the processing times offered by different companies; some can send your money in minutes but others will require you to wait multiple working days.
- Minimum amount. If a company imposes a minimum transfer limit, check that the limit is not too high for your transfer needs.
- Pickup methods. Can the cash be picked up from an agent or is it transferred to your recipient’s bank account? How big is each provider’s agent network?
- Customer service. Will phone, email, and live chat support be offered if you have a problem with a transaction?
How to send money to Canada from America
- Bank transfers. Most US banks offer safe and secure transfers to Canada.
- Online money transfer providers. These companies, for example WorldRemit and USForex, offer convenient and affordable transfer options.
- Money transfer companies with cash pickup options. Western Union, MoneyGram, and Ria are the three largest providers of these transfer services.
- PayPal. PayPal is not just for eBay purchases; it can also be used to send international money transfers.
- Checks. Ask your bank for an international guaranteed check and send it to Canada the old-fashioned way.
Emergency cash transfers in Canada
Sometimes you might need to send an urgent transfer to Canada, but make sure you review the details of your transaction before placing a transfer request. Emergency transfers often attract high fees and less-than-impressive exchange rates, so read the fine print and ensure you’re aware of what you’re paying.Back to top
Cash pickup locations in Canada / Western Union / MoneyGram branches
Western Union and MoneyGram operate extensive agent networks around the globe, allowing your recipient to visit a location in person and collect the cash you transfer. Just make sure that your recipient takes along the transaction reference number and proof of ID when they go to pick up the funds.
Western Union – Toronto
VancouverFirst York Community Credit Union
30 Bond St Ste 2050
Toronto, ON M5B 1W8
Open 8am to 4:30pm seven days
241 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M5B 1N8
952 Granville St
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1L2
Open 9am to 9pm Monday to Saturday, open 11am to 5pm Sunday
970 Burrard St
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2R4
Open 9:30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, 10am to 5pm Friday
MoneyGram – Toronto
VancouverShoppers Drug Mart
220 Yonge St
Toronto, On M5B 2H1
Open 9:30am to 9pm Monday to Friday, 11am to 5pm Saturday, 12pm to 4pm Sunday
Toronto Adelaide PO
31 Adelaide St E
Toronto, On M5C 1J4
Open 8:30am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday
710 Granville St
Vancouver, Bc V6Z 1E4
Open 8am to 9pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 6:30pm Saturday and Sunday
City Park Express
349 Georgia St W
Vancouver, Bc V6B 4Z3
Open 9:30am to 6pm Monday to Saturday
Tips for picking up cash in Canada
Even though Canada is one of the safest tourist destinations in the world, it still pays to take some precautions when picking up cash. Bring along a friend for extra security, keep your money concealed, and deposit any large amounts of cash into your account as soon as possible.Back to top
How to send money to Canada
There are many options to choose from when you send money to Canada, and most providers require you to sign up for an account before you send your funds. This means you will need to supply:
- Your name and address
- Your email address and phone number
- A valid form of photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport
It usually only takes a few minutes to send money and to receive a transaction reference number once you’ve finalized your transfer. Use this to track the progress of your transfer online.