How To Send Money Overseas From Canada

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How To Send Money Overseas From Canada

Written by Chrissy Kapralos
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood

Updated June 29, 2021

How To Send Money Overseas From Canada

Categories

Banking Money Transfer

Canada has a high immigration rate, with immigrants making up roughly 21.5% of the population. Fuelling both the economy and culture, immigration has made Canada the multicultural society it is today. Whether your family immigrated here a few generations back or more recently, chances are you might have family outside the country. 

It’s common for those who have immigrated to Canada to send money overseas to relatives abroad, for groceries, tuition, and bills in general. If you’re looking for the best ways to send money to family outside of Canada, we have all the information you need.

Are you new to Canada? Learn how to establish your credit as a new immigrant.

Ways You Can Send Money Overseas From Canada

Luckily, there are many options for sending money overseas. 

Bank & Credit Unions Transfers

Most financial institutions can safely wire money internationally. Since they rely on their connections with international banks, they might not have as many options for countries to mail money to, and they also have more expensive rates. 

Do you need to send or receive multiple currencies? Then you should consider getting a foreign currency bank account.

Online Money Transfers Companies

Some companies specialize in money transfers, so they offer a more affordable service, with lower fees and exchange rates. With this option, you can conveniently manage your transfers online at home. 

Want to send money through online money transfer apps? Check out the best international money transfer apps in Canada.

Paypal Transfers

Paypal is a popular, online payment company that allows you to send money to many different countries, in many different currencies. While they might not have the same affordability as an online money transfer specialist, they still offer more competitive rates than a bank. Since Paypal calculates its fee by using a percentage of your transfer amount, it’s more expensive to send large amounts of money overseas. 

Check out Xoom; an international money transfer service that is owned and operated by Paypal.

Cheque Cashing Businesses And Money Orders

A traditional but slower option, international cheques can be sent via Canada Post overseas. This option also costs more money than many other money transfer options, since you have to buy the cheque. 

Check out how you can send money using a money order.

Cash Pick-Up 

Some financial services companies like Western Union, WorldRemit, and MoneyGram offer a cash pick-up service. Within minutes, your recipient can access the cash you send them overseas at an agent location in their country. These services are convenient but pricey. 

Check out more money transfer services with a cash pick up option.

How To Send Money Overseas From Canada?

Different countries might have varying processes to send money overseas. Whether you’re transferring money from a bank or an online money transfer service, you’ll need to take these general steps:

  1. Register or log in to your bank account or money transfer service. You’ll usually need to provide some sort of identification or verify your birthdate and other personal information. 
  2. Confirm your transfer limit. Many money transfer services offer large limits on outgoing transfers, but some banks might have more modest limits. Make sure you’re aware of the company or bank’s limits before beginning the process. 
  3. Provide the bank and personal details of your recipient. Depending on the service, you’ll need a variety of information which may include a recipient’s:
  • Name, address, and contact information
  • Bank address and name
  • Account type and number, or international bank account number (IBAN)
  • SWIFT or BIC Code (offered by the recipient’s bank)
  1. Input money transfer details, including the amount and currency. 
  2. Review money transfer details. Ensure the transfer amount and fees look accurate before you send your money. 
  3. Pay for your transfer amount and applicable fees. Fees may include an outgoing transfer fee and exchange rates. You can usually pay via credit card, debit card, cash, or through your mobile wallet. 
  4. Monitor and wait for your transfer. Most institutions will give you a tracking number to see where your money is. Wait times range between a few business days to a week. 

Best Online Money Transfers Services

No Fee?Amount LimitsTransfer Time
$0.01 – $40,0000 – 5 days
Yes*$1 – $9990 -1 day
$1 – $9901 day
$1 – $1,500,0001 – 2 days
$150+1 day
Yes$1 – $500,001 day
Yes*$3,000+
Up to $75,000*0 – 4 days
Yes*$1 – $20,000Up to 3 days
Yes*$50 – $50,0006 or more days
2 – 5 days
Yes*$1 – $2,9990 – 4 days
$10 – $2,9992 – 5 days
Up to $3,0000 -3 days

*certain conditions may apply

The Cost of Sending Money Overseas

When it comes to sending money overseas from Canada, there are two main expenses you need to take into account.

Fees

You’ll usually have to pay some sort of fee to send money overseas, but this doesn’t include the fee your recipient will likely pay upon receiving the money. Some companies have a flat fee for each outgoing transaction, while others have a tiered structure. Some even base the fee upon a percentage of your transfer amount, like Paypal. Your payment method might also affect the fee. If you’re using a transfer company for the first time, ask about fee discounts for first-time customers. Shop around and compare fees from different services to get the best deal.

Watch out for these bank withdrawal fees.

Exchange Rates

If you’re sending money in a different currency, you will be subject to the cost of the exchange. For example, if you have Canadian money and you’d like to send a relative in Portugal Euros, you’ll need to pay the exchange rate, which can vary depending on the currency market. For example, currently, 1 euro is worth 1.47 Canadian dollars.  

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Features To Consider When Choosing A Money Transfer Service

With so many methods of sending money internationally, it’s important to consider all of a service’s features to make sure it’s the best route for you. 

Transfer Limits

Some companies have strict, modest limits. If you’re sending a lot of money at a time overseas, you might prefer a company with a more generous limit. Some services also have minimums, just make sure you understand any transfer amount restrictions before choosing the company you want to work with.  

Find out if an e-transfer can be cancelled after it’s been deposited.

Fees

Assess a company’s fee structure before sending money overseas, and evaluate how suitable it is for your situation. For example, if you plan to send large amounts of money, you would likely benefit more from a flat fee structure than one that is percentage-based. 

Learn more about the different types of bank fees to watch out for.

Exchange Rates

While exchange rates for different currencies are ostensibly the same everywhere, some companies might heighten the exchange rate to make more money. Make sure you compare the company’s exchange rate to other companies’ exchange rates before making a decision. 

Same Currency Transfer

If your recipient’s country uses a different currency, you might face more fees to convert the money. However, some companies offer better rates and lower fees if you transfer the money in your home country’s currency, and have your recipient convert the money upon arrival. 

Are you working in Canada as a foreigner? Check out your rights and responsibilities as a foregin worker.

Transfer Time

While most services take between a few days to a week, some companies might offer a quicker service at a higher price. 

Forward Contracts

Forward contracts ensure money transfer exchange rates are locked at a fixed rate. For example, if an exchange rate changes between the date of transfer and arrival, the forward contract binds the company in charging you the rate of exchange on the date of payment. 

Lookout What Does “Any Credit Accepted” Really Mean?

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Money Transfer FAQs

What’s the difference between SWIFT and IBAN?

A SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) number identifies a bank and branch location. You can find it on a bank statement, online bank system, or by inquiring directly with the bank. This number is alphanumeric, and usually 11 characters long. An IBAN (International Bank Account Number) number identifies a bank account, bank, and country. These numbers can be up to 34 characters long, as they vary depending on the country. 

Can I cancel a money transfer after placing an order? 

It’s possible, but you may be subject to fees for doing so. Additionally, you might not be able to cancel if the money has already reached the destination, or if your recipient has collected it. In those cases, you would need to contact your recipient and have them transfer the money back to you. 

Can I transfer a small amount of money? 

Yes, but you should be conscious of fees. Some services like Paypal charge fees based on a percentage of the transfer, which would make it wise to transfer a smaller amount. However, some money transfer companies have flat fees that might encourage you to transfer more money, to get more out of the transaction. 

Learn more about the best international money transfer companies in Canada.

Final Thoughts

The digital era has made it easy to send money overseas within days, and sometimes even minutes. Like all companies, however, competition exists for a reason. Make sure you compare rates, fees, and services to find a money transfer service that’s suitable for your needs. 


Rating of 5/5 based on 1 vote.

Chrissy is a Toronto-based communications advisor. With an English degree from the University of Toronto and editing courses under her belt from Ryerson University, she has continued her lifelong passion for writing and editing. In addition to working for Loans Canada on a variety of financial topics, Chrissy has a few years of resume writing and editing under her belt, and takes great pleasure in helping people find work that fits with their experience and passions. When she isn't working, you can find her practicing yoga, hanging out with her dog, reading up on financial and real estate news, or planning her next trip abroad.

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