📖 Are money transfers in Canada too expensive?
Canadian banks remain the most popular way to send money internationally from Canada.
By opting for one of Canada’s largest financial institutions, you’re going down a safe and secure route with a high degree of certainty the money will reach its destination (provided that you input the correct bank details).
All deposits are insured by the CDIC and you don’t have to go through the trouble of opening up a separate account just to send money internationally.
Sounds good, right?
Well, it’s not all rainbow and unicorns when you make payments with a Canadian bank!
The exchange rates offered by Canadian banks for sending money overseas are not competitive.
With an average 2.5% FX markup (based on our fee research) on the currency exchange, you could be paying as much as 2,500 dollars on a 100,000 transfer.
Additionally, some banks make it incredibly difficult or impossible to transfer large amounts of money from Canada online and will require your physical presence at the branch (which may be impossible if you are located abroad).
For those reasons, more Canadians have decided to step away from the banks, consider a designated money transfer service, with lower fees and higher quality of service.
What are money transfer companies?
Money transfer companies are financial institutions whose sole purpose is to transfer money across borders and currencies.
This is an outline of the process with most companies:
Is It Safe? 🏦
Safety is a major concern when using a non-bank Fintech.
To demonstrate the safety of the process let’s delve into the ins and outs of one of our top 3 selection for best money transfers from Canada, namely OFX.
OFX is a very well known provider with headquarters in Australia but offices across the globe, including Canada.
It was previously known as CanadianForex and has established local presence.
That Canadian presence include local CAD accounts in Canada and staff based in Canada, available in Canadian hours.
Needless to say, it is registered and authorised by FINTRAC with registration number M08560392.
It is also approved by many other regulators around the globe including American FinCEN, British FCA, and Australian ASIC.
OFX is a publicly traded company (trading in the Australian ASX) with more than 25 of experience, and trading volumes of $20bn annually.
It is the recipient of countless industry awards, and has several thousands of customer reviews across the globe which are unanimously positive.
To summarise, OFX is a very safe choice and so are many other options – you just have to pick right!
Canada’s Best International Money Transfer Services
- 96% Positive Feedback from Customers, Since 1996
- Service Oriented - Specialising in Large Transfers - Friendly Dealers
- Very Competitive Rates, No Wire Fees
- Global Leader in International Money Transfers - £10bn in Annual Turnover
- 20+ Global Offices
- Very Friendly Online Platform
- Multi-Lingual Website and Staff
- Fully-Functional App
- Forward Contracts Available
- Will Handle Transfer of Any Size
- Fund Transfers via Domestic Bank Transfer or Debit Card
- Accepts Clients Globally (USA - depending on state)
- OFX is 100% Safe - Large Well Known, Publicly Traded, Corporation with Offices Worldwide
- Best Overall Online Platform - Comfortable, Reliable, No Transfer Fees, Excellent Exchange Rates (ALWAYS beating Canadian banks significantly), Functional App
- Deals with 100+ Currencies and Able to Onboard Customers of All Sizes from Most Countries
- Large Transfers Are Eligible for Dedicated Account Dealer Support
- Operating Since 1970 - First Commercial FX Firm
- Corporate FX Specialists
- Very Friendly North American Support and Guidance, Large Transfer Specialist Brokerage
- Many Consumer and Business Awards
- Newly Revamped Website and Online Platform
For corporate clients (not accepting private customers)
- Very Tight Spreads
- Great Multi-Currency Account with Many Tech Integrations
- Specialist in Assisting Online Sellers and Approved by Amazon as a Payment Partner
- Authorized by 6 Global Regulators
Still considering your bank for international transfers? 💀🏦
How much can it cost to send money abroad with a Canadian bank?
The direct transfer fees you’ll incur will vary hugely depending on who you bank with but the more important ‘hidden fees’ are high, regardless of who you bank with in Canada.
|Bank||Direct Transfer Fees||Currency Exchange Markup (Buying $10,000 USD)*|
|Bank of Montreal (BMO)||$5||2.65%|
|Bank of Nova Scotia / Scotiabank (BNS)||$1.99||2.88%|
|Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)||$30 < $10,000, $50 $10,001 – $50,000, $80 > $50,000||3.34%|
|Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)||$6 <$1,000, $10>$1,000||2.6%|
|TD Bank Group (Toronto Dominion-Bank)||Up to $25||2.64%|
*Source: Publicly available information which has been collated by KnightsbridgeFX – www.knightsbridgefx.com/cibc-bank-exchange-rates/
The direct payment fees for international wires are by far the best if you bank with Scotiabank (just $1.99) and by far the worst if you bank with CIBC (ranging from $30-$80 depending on the amount sent).
The average markup taken by Canadian banks for a $10,000 USD transfer was 2.82% and in all cases a Canadian bank charges a higher markup than specialist online money transfer services or currency brokers in Canada.
CIBC again proved the most expensive with a whopping 3.34% foreign exchange markup.
In other words, transfer $10,000 with banks and be hit with as much as $334 in fees.
RBC offered the best markup on international wire transfers from Canada but even they charged 2.6%. So that means
To view the current rate offered by your bank, you may need to log into your online banking platform. For more information on the associated fees and FX rates of Canada’s largest banks see:
How much money can you save circumventing bank foreign exchange in Canada?
Let’s look at a typical example to see what kind of savings you could make by opting for a money transfer service in Canada.
Let’s assume you found an attractive bungalow near Fort Myers, Florida you wanted to buy.
To purchase it, you need to move 10,000 USD for the down payment.
The interbank exchange rate at 11:17am EST on 15 Nov was 0.7532.
The average spread applied by Canadian banks was 2.82%. At this price, you’d need to come up with 13,659 CAD.
However, you could get a much better rate through an online money transfer provider.
From our sampling, the lowest rate offered by money transfer services operating in Canada at the time was 1.2%.– This means you could buy 10,000 USD for 13,438 CAD.
That means a minimum of potential saving of $221 on that transfer, and keep in mind the best rate was twice as good (i.e. saving more than $450 on the transfer).
Sending Money From / To
View all routes on our sending money abroad guide
What is the selection of currencies and countries
Obviously you can use a money transfer service to transfer money from Canada to USA, or Canada to UK, or any of those super-popular routes.
But what about somewhere more ecxsotic? say transfer money to Sweden, or even better from Sweden back to Canada?
The top 5 money transfer companies featured on this page can handle almost any currency and any customer location.
Those are highly globalised companies with offices in each continent, supervised by multiple regulatory bodies and employing hundreds or thousands of people.
There are absolutely no issues sending money to anywhere you want.
If you are based in a different country, consider looking at our other country guides: