Transferring Money From Canada to USA

By 
Russell Gous
Last Edited Oct 06, 2023

Need to send money from Canada to the USA? We’ll explain where you can find the best CAD-to-USD exchange rates and lowest transfer fees in this guide.

Each year, huge volumes of currency move between Canada and the USA. In 2022, US goods and services trade with Canada totaled an estimated $908.9 billion.

Roughly 660,000 Americans live in Canada and many of these have a requirement to transfer their salary back to the US.

Each year, around 10,000 Canadians emigrate to the US and have a requirement to transfer money to the US to buy property or pay an overseas mortgage.

In short, there are countless reasons why individuals and SMEs frequently send money from Canada to the USA.

With all this in mind, it raises the important question – what is the cheapest way to transfer money to the US?

We’ll run you through the various options now.

Currency Exchange Rates

CAD to USD

Current Rate: 1.3791 CAD

Estimated Bank Rate (2.5% markup): 1.3446 CAD

Provider Rate (0.6%): 1.3708 CAD

Indicative rates only. 2.5% was applied as the bank margin and 0.6% as the provider rates, but we don’t guarantee either.

USD to CAD

Current Rate: 1.3791 CAD

Estimated Bank Rate (2.5% markup): 1.3446 CAD

Provider Rate (0.6%): 1.3708 CAD

Indicative rates only. 2.5% was applied as the bank margin and 0.6% as the provider rates, but we don’t guarantee either.

 

Transfer Money From USA to Canada

In Canada, you have a slightly smaller sample of providers to select from compared to places like the UK and Australia, but nevertheless, there are still a number of options which are reputable, safe and efficient.

These companies, known as money transfer organizations, focus solely on international bank transfers. Often making them cheaper and more specialized than banks.

Once you set up an international transfer with one of these organizations, you simply make a local transfer from your Canadian bank to fund the deal, have the provider convert the money, and pay out to the beneficiary. More on this later.

Cheapest Way to Send Money Canada to USA [4 Steps]

When you use these four easy steps to start a transfer with a money transfer expert, we believe you’ll benefit from lower fees and significantly better FX rates than what banks offer for money transfers from Canada to the US.

Step 1: Choose a Service That Transfers Money Between the Countries

Forgetting banks for now, there are three other types of money transfer organizations that can help you send money to the USA. They consist of:

  • Remittance Companies (for when the recipient in the US is required to collect physical cash)
  • Online Money Transfer Companies (for small volumes sent to a bank account in the US)
  • Currency Brokers (for large volumes sent to bank account in the US or when the sender prefers to access a range of currency hedging tools)

Finding the best way to transfer money to the USA from Canada is thus based on a number of factors like the size of your transfer and the individual preferences of you and the recipient.

Remittance companies are your only choice if the recipient requires cash. They’re more popular for sending money to developing nations, but it’s possible to send money for a cash pickup in the US too. The recipient will be able to collect cash from certain Walmarts or banks like Capital One or Chase.

We’ll explain later why we believe online money transfer companies to be the best option for individuals or businesses who are sending smaller amounts from Canada to the USA, and are happy to manage the process on their own.

Likewise, we’ll tell you why currency brokers are best for people who want to move larger amounts to the US, and are more likely to require bespoke guidance and a greater variety of payment solutions.

The overwhelming majority of the 90+ money transfer services we have reviewed to date support CADUSD transfers, but only about 10 of these services are actually open to Canadian residents.

We’ll reveal more about the different types of providers below, highlighting the best options within each category.

⭐ Best Way to Send Money From Canada to USA ⭐

Based on Security, Speed and Cost; money transfer companies operating in Canada

#1
UK EU USA Currencies Direct: Best Overall for International Money Transfers
Headquarters:
1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AA, UK
97.8% Editorial rating
7,500 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£100 / €100 / $100 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • 96% Positive Feedback from Customers, Since 1996
  • Service Oriented - Specialising in Large Transfers - Friendly Dealers
  • Very Competitive Rates, No Wire Fees
+Read more
1
Currencies Direct
Currencies Direct: Best Overall for International Money Transfers
97.8%
Editorial rating
#2
UK EU Australia USA UAE moneycorp: Oldest and Most Reputable Foreign Exchange Service
Headquarters:
Zig Zag Building, 70 Victoria St, Westminster, London SW1E 6SQ, UK
93.2% Editorial rating
7,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£50 / €50 / $50 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • Providing FX Services since 1979
  • Very Recognisable Brand with Excellent Reputation - £36.9in Transfers Annually with Offices in Every Continent
  • Business Specialists
+Read more
2
Moneycorp
moneycorp: Oldest and Most Reputable Foreign Exchange Service
93.2%
Editorial rating
#3
Australia UK EU USA New Zealand OFX: The Publicly-Traded Money Transfer Company from Down Under
Headquarters:
Level 19, 60 Margaret St, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
90.4% Editorial rating
1,500 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
£100 / €100 / $100 or equivalent
Why Them?
  • Traded Publicly in Australia
  • £20bn Turnover per Year
  • Ultra Professional
+Read more
3
OFX
OFX: The Publicly-Traded Money Transfer Company from Down Under
90.4%
Editorial rating
#4
EU UK USA Australia Wise (Previously TransferWise): Valued at £10bn
Headquarters:
17 Avenue Marnix, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
86.8% Editorial rating
32,000 Client Reviews
Minimum transfer:
No Minimum
Why Them?
  • Largest Money Transfer Provider of its Kind
  • Fully-Online Journey
  • Transparent Pricing
+Read more
4
Wise / TransferWise
Wise (Previously TransferWise): Valued at £10bn
86.8%
Editorial rating

These firms are the best rated companies on MoneyTransferComparison which are authorized by FINTRAC to operate a money service business in Canada.

Currencies Direct, moneycorp and OFX are incredibly well revered, and in our opinion, right up there when it comes to being the leading currency brokers across the world. Internal experts offer customized advice on topics such as timing your trade to achieve a better rate, how to speed up transfers and how best to mitigate currency risk. These firms cater to entities ranging from individual entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises, up to large corporations, and also to individual customers.

For smaller sums, we suggest using Wise, a fully online payment provider.

Let’s take a closer look at the different categories of money transfer organizations.

Canadian Companies Offering Transfers to the USA:

Canadian Banks / ProvidersAdvantagesDisadvantages

Royal Bank of Canada

Bank of Nova Scotia

Bank of Montreal

✔ Use existing bank

✔ Safe & secure

✔ Handle all payments

✔ Branch network

✖ No currency hedging for private/SMEs

✖ Expensive fees

✖ Wide FX Spreads

✖ No currency specialist

Currencies Direct

OFX

Moneycorp

✔ Hedging tools

✔ Currency specialist

✔ Trade online/phone

✔ Handle all payments

✔ No fees

✖ Smaller FX spreads than banks

✖ Fewer brokers in Canada

✖ No branch network

PayPal (Xoom)

Wise (formerly TransferWise)

✔ Fast online payments

✔ Lower FX spreads

✔ Lower fees

✖ No hedging tools

✖ No currency specialist

✖ No branch network

Western Union

Moneygram

Remitly

✔ Cash pick-up

✔ Online or local branch

✖ Wide FX spreads

✖ No hedging tools

At first, you might think your bank provides the most simple solution to make a transfer to the US happen. There’s no need to register with another provider and you can setup a transfer with online banking.

Just be warned, the reality is, they just aren’t bothered about having your business.

Canada’s biggest banks prioritize mega corporations and financial conglomerates, who trade 99% of global FX volumes. They offer a variety of different solutions to these companies and ultra-thin margins.

This isn’t the case for individuals and SMEs who fall into the remaining 1%.

For smaller clients, banks provide minimal service and ultra-wide foreign exchange margins.

In fact, our research on international bank transfer fees demonstrates that Canadian banks charge payment fees which are as high as $25, and provide lousy exchange rates. When converting CAD to USD with Scotiabank, the exchange rate had an embedded markup of 3.02%.

The currency brokers we’ve already mentioned – Currencies Direct, moneycorp and OFX – charge no wire fees and apply FX spreads which typically range anywhere from 0.2% – 2%.

Step 2: Register With Your Service of Choice

Upon registering with a fresh currency exchange service, confirming your identity is crucial for mandatory regulatory assessments.

They’ll ask for your details, and sometimes, the source of your funds, akin to what banks demand for significant dealings.

In modern times, most of the account opening process is largely online, encompassing document scanning to prove your address and selfie taking identity verification. This often proves swifter and smoother than initiating an account at a new banking institution.

Step 3: Format the Details of Your Wire Transfer From Canada to the US

After your account gets approved, you can start a wire transfer.

If the destination account is yours, consult your bank for precise information on what you need to provide to receive an international transfer.

When sending to another person, it’s advisable to request an official bank letter from them.

You can either input the sum of CAD you want to convert, or the USD amount you want to receive.

Be meticulous when entering information to avoid errors.

To send money from Canada to a US bank account you must supply:

  1. a full legal name of the beneficiary account and address
  2. bank, branch number, and sometimes address of branch
  3. an account number
  4. a SWIFT code

Format: The format is simple and consists of 11 digits – the first 4 letters represent the bank code in USA, the next two letters will always be US (which stands for USA), the next two digits stand for location and then the last 3 digits are the branch code (where XXX stands for the head office). If the SWIFT code you have has only 8 digits, it refers to the bank’s primary office.

See our guide to US bank SWIFT codes to learn more.

Once you accept the exchange rate, you enter a legal agreement to convert currency at that rate.

Step 4: Settle the Deal and Wait for Funds to Hit the Account in the USA

After confirming your deal to send funds from Canada to the US, you must forward the amount due to your service provider in order for them to conduct the currency conversion and subsequent payment.

They’ll share their local CAD bank account details, allowing you to either wire the money by bank transfer or use a debit card.

A transaction from Canada to the US typically completes within a business day. That is, if you pay today, it should reach by the next day at the latest.

⭐ Best Way to Transfer Money: Canada to USA ⭐ [For Each Use-Case]

Here are some ideas for who we believe to be the best way to transfer money, based on a number of different purposes.

Best For Real Estate and Mortgage Transfers

Currencies Direct assists thousands of individuals in acquiring international properties annually.

The firm presents a comprehensive range of hedging tools, crucial for significant endeavors like property acquisition.

You have the option to activate rate notifications for specific CADUSD thresholds or even establish automatic trades at desired exchange rates. These tools can capitalize on favorable rate shifts or shield against unfavorable ones.

You also have the flexibility to secure current exchange rates for future transactions, a feature highly favored for international property purchases due to its budget predictability.

For recurring transactions, like foreign mortgages, you can automate them at either the current rate or the prevailing rate when payment is due.

On top of this, a devoted account specialist stands by to offer insights on the CADUSD rate and the best hedging strategies tailored to your needs.

Best for Freelancers, Expats and Newcomers to the US or Canada

There are many situations where the Wise Account emerges as the top pick.

The Wise platform offers 10 domestic bank accounts in all major currencies, encompassing both CAD and USD.

For independent professionals with Canadian clientele who favor CAD payments, Wise provides an online banking solution affiliated with a Canadian institution, facilitating local CAD transactions. The same holds true for the US, making invoicing and receiving payments in a local USD account straightforward.

For regular travelers or those who’ve recently moved to the US, the Wise Account boasts a distinct perk: access to a debit card. This allows you to deposit money in USD or CAD, maintain balances, and transact in either currency via the Wise debit card.

Switching between balances is a breeze, and currency swaps come with minimal, clear-cut charges.

Best For B2B Payments to the US

moneycorp is a recognized veteran in the corporate foreign exchange sector. With widespread operations across the Americas, encompassing both Canada and the US, they do cater to both personal and corporate clients in Canada, but are renowned as a preferred B2B solution.

As a specialized business forex broker, they extend services that cater to both multinational giants and smaller enterprises.

moneycorp excels in performing currency audits for businesses who have overseas exposure. Pinpointing instances where past transfers might have incurred extra costs or faced adverse currency shifts due to absent strategies. They then guide in devising plans for enhanced outcomes in future dealings.

Moreover, they present a broad array of currency protection instruments and can seamlessly merge with financial software for bulk payment processing.

With a legacy spanning half a century in the international money transfer field, moneycorp is celebrated for its expert approach. A devoted point-of-contact is always within reach via phone, positioning them as a prime option for enterprises regularly transferring funds to the US or other international locales.

Best for Canadian Companies who want to Employ in the US

Papaya Global is a payroll and payments company that’s designed for a global workforce. They are capable of recruiting staff for your enterprise – acting as an employer of record – and overseeing the entirety of salary distribution, societal perks, and associated worker amenities.

They assist enterprises of various scales and have a presence across the world.

With a headquarters in the US, this is a market they know particularly well from both a legal and operational perspective.

What is the Cheapest Way to Transfer Money from Canada to the USA?

Through continued and in-depth research into the different CAD-to-USD providers, we have identified these two firms:

  • For Amounts Below $20,000: Purely from a cost perspective, Wise often presents the most attractive exchange rate and minimal charges. Yet, its self-service nature could mean you might not capitalize on the optimal trading moment or utilize various forex instruments that could secure a more favorable rate.
  • For Amounts Above $20,000: Currencies Direct stands as a top-tier international brokerage. Typically, brokers become more cost-effective for transactions surpassing $20,000, potentially offering more competitive rates than Wise. They also deliver an all-encompassing service tailored for high-value transfers.