Transferring Money From USA to Canada

By 
Russell Gous
Last Edited Oct 05, 2023

Have an upcoming requirement to send money to Canada from the US? Discover how to find competitive USD-to-CAD exchange rates and low transfer fees in this guide.

A huge amount of currency is traded between the US and Canada. In fact, the two countries share one of the largest trading relationships in the world. In 2022, more than $3.4 billion flowed between the two countries each and every day.

What’s more, an estimated 780,000+ Canadians live in the US and a reported 660,000+ Americans live Canada. Many of these expats frequently send money from the USA to Canada.

Yet, despite these numbers, a huge proportion of individuals are still unaware that there are significantly cheaper alternatives to banks.

These alternatives are known as dedicated money transfer organizations.

We’ll walk through all of the available transfer options here.

Currency Exchange Rates

USD to CAD

Current Rate: 1.3814 CAD

Estimated Bank Rate (2.5% markup): 1.3468 CAD

Provider Rate (0.6%): 1.3731 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.

CAD to USD

Current Rate: 0.7239 USD

Estimated Bank Rate (2.5% markup): 0.7058 USD

Provider Rate (0.6%): 0.7196 USD

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 Canada to USA

The US has fewer money transfer organizations than the likes of the UK and Australia, but none-the-less, there are still plenty of options that are reputable, safe and efficient.

These online fintech companies, or currency brokerages, do not replace your bank account but are in fact supplementary.

You’ll be able to make a local transfer in the US to fund your deal, have the provider convert the money, and pay out to the beneficiary. More on this later.

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

By following these four simple steps to initiate a transfer with a money transfer specialist, we’re quite sure you will enjoy fewer fees and receive substantially better FX rates when compared to a bank for transferring money from the US to Canada.

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

In addition to banks, there are three types of money transfer organizations that can help you send money to Canada. They are as follows:

  • Remittance Companies (for when the recipient needs to collect physical cash)
  • Online Money Transfer Companies (for when you’re sending small volumes to a bank account in Canada)
  • Currency Brokers (for when you’re sending a large volume to bank account in Canada or would like to access currency hedging tools)

The best way to transfer money to Canada is thus based on your and the recipient’s own requirements and needs.

Remittance companies are more often used to send money to developing nations, but if the recipient requires cash, you can choose from a handful of these types of companies to send money from the US to Canada.

We recommend online money transfer companies for individuals or businesses who are sending smaller amounts to Canada and are happy to manage the process on their own. Fees are low and the service is fast.

We recommend currency brokers for people who want to move larger amounts, and are more likely to appreciate a more bespoke type of service. Fees are lower on larger transfers, bespoke guidance helps to better hedge your currency risk and direct access to an account manager provides important reassurance.

Virtually all of the 90+ money transfer services we have reviewed to date support USDCAD transfers, but only about 15 of these services are actually available to US residents.

We’ll expand on the different types of providers below, recommending the best options within each category.

⭐ Best Way to Send Money From USA to Canada ⭐

Based on Security, Speed and Cost; companies operating in USA

#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 with offices in the USA.

Currencies Direct, moneycorp and OFX are excellent currency brokers who support transfers from the USA to Canada. In-house specialists provide tailored guidance on aspects like timing your trade, how to optimize payments and whether to hedge your currency exposure.

Bespoke guidance is available to each and every client.

Wise is a purely digital specialist that we recommend for smaller amounts.

These companies will support both businesses (from sole traders to SMEs all the way to corporations) as well as private clients.

Here is more about how they are categorized:

Different Providers Offering USA to Canada Transfers:

US Banks / ProvidersAdvantagesDisadvantages

Bank of America

Chase

Citibank

✔ 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 US

✖ 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

Your bank may seem like the obvious choice to send money to Canada, but the truth is, they aren’t that bothered about your business.

Banks prioritize large corporations and financial service companies, like hedge funds, who trade around 99% of all global FX volumes.

That’s not to say the remaining 1% is not a huge market in itself, just that it’s easy to see why banks have their attention turned elsewhere.

Based on extensive research about international money transfer fees, we know that US banks charge high payment fees, as much as $50, and provide lousy exchange rates.

When converting USD to CAD, the ‘bank rate’ has an embedded markup of around 2.6% – 3.7%.

Currency brokers, such as Currencies Direct, moneycorp and OFX don’t have any wire fees and charge FX spreads which typically range anywhere from 0.2% – 2%.

Step 2: Register With Your Service of Choice

When signing up with a new money transfer provider, you’ll need to verify your identity to pass the necessary compliance checks.

You’ll be required to provide personal information, and occasionally, the origin of your money, much like a bank’s expectations for substantial transactions.

Nowadays, the majority of the ‘Know Your Customer’ procedure is typically digital, involving document uploads and facial recognition verification. This tends to be more efficient and streamlined than opening an account with a fresh bank.

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

Once your account is authorized, you’re ready to initiate a transfer.

If you’re transferring to an account in your name, speak to your bank to get the exact beneficiary details.

If you’re paying someone else, it’s better if you ask the beneficiary to provide an official letter from their bank.

Pay close attention when inputting details to mitigate any mistakes.

To send money from the USA to a Canadian bank account, you’ll need to provide:

  • Beneficiary Name
  • Beneficiary Address
  • Beneficiary Account Number
  • Beneficiary Branch Routing Number (3-digit Canadian financial institution number and 5-digit branch transit number)
  • Beneficiary Bank SWIFT BIC
  • Beneficiary Bank Address

Format: Canadian SWIFT codes are either 8 or 11 characters long. The first 4 characters are the bank code, using letters only. The next 2 characters are the country code, using letters only. The following 2 characters are the location code, using both letters and digits. The last 3 characters are the branch code, using both letters and digits.

See our guide to Canadian SWIFT codes for more information.

In terms of the amount you’re looking to send, you can either input the amount of USD you want to convert, or the CAD amount you want to receive.

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

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

Once you’ve agreed to make a payment from the USA to Canada, you’ll need to transfer the money to your provider so that they can exchange the currency and make onward payment.

Your provider will send you the details of their local bank account in the US and you’ll be able to either send money to this account or pay using a debit card.

A transfer from the US to Canada should take no longer than one working day. I.e. pay today and it should arrive no later than tomorrow.

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

Here are some indication on who we think is the best way to transfer money to:

Best For Real Estate and Mortgage Transfers

Currencies Direct helps thousands of individuals buy property overseas every year.

The company offers a full suite of hedging capabilities which are important when doing something as important as buying a property.

It’s possible to set up rate alerts that notify you when a certain USDCAD rate is met, or, you can even set up limit orders which automatically execute your trade when a certain exchnage rate is met. These can be used to take advantage of positive movements in the exchange rate or protect against any negative trends.

You can even set up forward contracts to lock today’s exchange rate for the future. These are incredibly popular for buying property overseas as they provide certainty around the budget.

If you have a requirement to make regular transfers for something like an overseas mortgage, you can also set these up to execute automatically. Either with today’s exchange rate or the going exchange rate at the time the payment is required.

All of this is supported by a dedicated account manager that will provide guidance around the USDCAD exchange rate and how to hedge correctly for your situation.

Best for Freelancers, Expats and Newcomers to Canada

There are numerous scenarios where the Wise Account stands out as the optimal choice.

The Wise account provides 10 local, in-country bank accounts available in all major currencies, including CAD and USD.

For freelancers with US clients, who prefer payments in USD, the Wise Account offers a digital bank account that is held with a US bank and accepts local US transfers. The same applies for Canada. It’s easy to invoice customers and get paid into a local CAD account.

For those who frequently travel or have recently relocated to Canada, the Wise Account provides a significant advantage: eligibility for a debit card. This enables you to transfer funds to your Wise account in USD or CAD, run balances and make payments in either currency using the Wise debit card.

It’s easy to convert one balance into another, and currency exchange is done at low, transparent fees.

Best For B2B Payments to Canada

moneycorp is a seasoned player in the corporate FX arena.

With expansive offices in the USA, their primary focus is on B2B payments.

As a dedicated business currency broker, they provide a range of services beneficial to both large corporations and SMEs.

moneycorp is experienced at conducting currency audits, identifying areas where you might have overpaid on past transfers or suffered from unfavorable currency fluctuations due to a lack of strategy. They then assist in crafting strategies for improved results in subsequent transactions.

Additionally, they offer a comprehensive suite of currency hedging tools and can integrate with accounting software to facilitate batch payments in large volumes.

With over 50 years of experience in the money transfer sector, Moneycorp is renowned for its professionalism. A dedicated representative is always just a phone call away, making them an ideal choice for businesses that frequently need to transfer money to Canada or any other global destination.

Best for US Companies who want to Employ in Canada

Papaya Global is a payroll company that can hire employees on behalf of your business and manage all aspects of payroll, social benefits, and related employee services.

They help businesses of size and operate worldwide, including in both Canada and the US.

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

These are our findings, based on extensive and continual research of the money transfer industry:

  • For Transactions Under $20,000: Based solely on costs, Wise is likely to offer the most favorable exchange rate and lowest fees. However, it’s a do-it-yourself approach, which might mean you aren’t executing your trade at the best possible time, or taking advantage of different currency tools which might help to achieve a better exchange rate.
  • For Transactions Over $20,000: Currencies Direct is one the most reputable brokerages across the globe. Generally, brokers tend to be competitive for deals exceeding $20,000 and might offer rates that better those offered by Wise. Additionally, they can provide a comprehensive service that’s especially beneficial for large-volume transactions.