Top 6 Canadian Money Transfer Options
Domestic and International
including USA, India, Australia and Philippines
Domestic transfers in Canada are fairly straightforward.
Click here for International (below)
Here are your easiest options for transfer within Canada.
Most commonly you can send funds directly from (1) bank to bank or (2) Interac e-transfers simply by logging in and providing what is required.
Your other options for domestic transfers within Canada are wire transfers (fastest and great for large amounts) and money orders (if the recipient doesn’t have a bank account).
However, wire transfers are typically more expensive as they go through the SWIFT network and you need to decide beforehand who pays the service fees (you or the recipient).
Money orders, though less expensive ($7.50 CAD per money order), require a bit more leg work. You need to visit the post office, purchase a money order, and then fund the amount with cash, a credit card, or a debit card. They are also limited to $999. You will also need a valid government ID with you as well.
International transfers to or from Canada are a whole different ball game.
Fortunately a whole bunch of services exist that are much cheaper then banks, who can charge up to 8x the amount money transfer services do in fees!
For example, we regularly use Wise (was TransferWise) ourselves from Canada for amounts below $9500 and our fees are below 0.9%. Click for more information below.
Jump Links – International
1. The amount you are sending
2. The other country involved
Note: $9500 CAD is approximately $7000 USD
The amount you are sending makes a big difference.
Some services are designed for smaller amounts and some for larger amounts.
For smaller amounts (below $300) – Typically, transfers of smaller amounts also require cash pick-up, so remittance institutions that have a physical presence in the desired location are the best options.
For smaller amounts (below $9500) – When cash is not required and you need a reliable service that offers great exchange rates Peer to Peer (P2P) services (wiki) can be great but a few others work well in this category. Generally they are cheapest (fees ranging from 0-1% of the total amount), have a great online experience as well as good online customer support which tends to be fine for smaller amounts. The biggest we compare here: Wise VS CurrencyFair.
Above $9500 – When you’re sending large amounts, we think it’s best to opt for more traditional (but far better than old school banking) transfer services. These services typically reduce the percentage fees as the amount goes up and become your best option around the $9500 point. Moreover, they have other benefits important to large transfers which makes them a clear choice. (See table below)
Sending Cash Below $300
If you’re sending money to family and friends, they may need to withdraw it in cash.
In such cases, remittance companies like Western Union, Money Gram, or WorldRemit are your best options. However, since they do have a physical presence, the fees can tend to be on the higher side. But physical presence also makes transfers hassle free (you only need to carry a valid government id proof instead of waiting for an account approval) and the rates are lower if you pay in cash at their outlet.
WorldRemit (review) is a relative newcomer and growing like crazy because it reduces the fees you pay by partnering with bank and other businesses for cash pickup.
Remitly (review) is another great service in this category and designed for immigrants who are working in developed countries and want to send money back home. They also make cash pickup is possible and have numerous ways to fund the transaction.
The great thing about these services is that they can be super-fast (amounts can be received within minutes) and there’s no minimal limit on initiating a transfer.
The recipient usually needs to provide identification to collect the money.
Bank to bank below $9500 CAD ($7000 USD)
If all your amounts are below about $9500 CAD and you’d rather transfer bank to bank, Wise money transfers are hard to beat.
Wise in most situations costs just a fraction of what a bank charges. This is because they always convert your money at the mid-market rate and don’t add any mark ups.
But what we really love about Wise is their outrageous transparency. You can see exactly what they will send and the fees before you even sign up. Their widget on the homepage breaks down the cost in an easy to understand way (check it out using the button below).
You can make payments directly into your friend or family’s bank account and pay via bank transfer or using your debit card.
However, there are a few limitations that you need to keep in mind.
- They support bank to bank transfers only and don’t do cash transfers.
- While Wise offers the best exchange rate, they lose their competitiveness on fees on higher amounts as other providers will typically provide bespoke lower rates for very high value transfers, whilst Wise offer a fixed low % each time.
Use Wise if cash pick isn’t essential or if you’re not transferring large amounts.
Another good reason is the sign up process on these services are generally have less requirements.
Bank to bank above $9500 CAD ($7000 USD)
As the amounts increase anti-money laundering laws require that money transfer services and banks have to follow more rules to handle your money.
This is where traditional services tend to shine as they get a lot of the regulatory compliance requirements out of the way from the outset which avoids potentially freezing your account which happens occasionally with services that are better at smaller amounts.
In addition to this they have strong phone support and the percentage you pay in fees reduces as the amounts increase.
For amounts above $9500 CAD or higher, OFX rates and fees are very competitive and they have great reviews.
They are regulated by FINTRAC in Canada and have a physical presence in Toronto as well, which makes telephone support particularly awesome (if required).
Benefits of OFX:
- Their fees become cheaper as the amount increases (For example, when you choose OFX, there are no fees on transfers over $10,000. You could pay a flat fee of $15 for anything below, or click here to have this fee removed.
- The sign-up process pre-approves you for for larger transactions.
- Strong telephone support to help you navigate potential bottlenecks with banks and keep track of your money can be very helpful. This is especially important in Canada as each bank (CIBC, TD, Scotia, BMO and Royal) all have different policies on amounts and ways they allow you to transact.
Also worth mentioning if you are the type of person who highly values premium customer service or simply want your hand help each step of the way then Currencies Direct (Review) is recommended (unfortunately not Quebec).
Money Transfer Services in Canada
|Service Name||Minimum Amount ($CAD)||Phone/ Online Service||Locations||Fees + Conditions||Special Offers/ Reviews||Transferring $5000 to USA (see *Note)|
|My Bank In Canada||None||Branch Only Over $2500||Canada||$20 - $45||None||$4,330*|
|OFX||$250||Online/ Phone||Canada, UK, Australia, US, NZ, Hong Kong||Under $10,000 it is $15. See Offers >>||No Fees if you Register through Transumo||4,541.08*|
|Wise||$0||Online/ Phone Troubleshooting||Online focus. 59 Supported Countries Including AUS, CAN, UK and US||Fees depend on route (eg. AUD>USD is 0.7%)||Wise - Full Review||4,563.78*|
|XE - Full Review||$0||Online/ Phone Troubleshooting||Online focus. Transfer in 60 currencies to over 170 countries. US, UK, CAN||A small fee for low value transfers||Fee free transactions||TBA|
|WorldRemit - Full Review||$1||Online/Phone||UK, US, Canada, Australia, NZ, Japan||Ranges from $3.99 to $24.99||Start by choosing the country you are sending to|
|Currencies Direct - Full Review||$100||Phone + Online||US, UK, Europe, South Africa||No fees||Click to get exchange rate||TBA|
If you have your savings in Tangerine, check out the Tangerine Wire Transfer page.
If you are looking to send money from Canada to USA we recommend our Transfer Money Canada to USA page.
Transferring money between USA and Canada is generally hassle-free, and Canada’s lack of gift tax makes it even more convenient to receive fairly large amounts from friends and family in the US.
Here are our recommendations for facilitating fund transfers between the two countries:
- For smaller amounts opt for Wise (see above)
- For larger amounts, OFX (low fees) is our pick. (see above)
There are many services that’ll enable quick fund transfers to India from Canada.
But before you initiate a transfer, here’s something you should factor in: if you’re not an Indian resident (or a non-resident Indian), a 12.36% government commission tax will be added on to the fees charged.
This makes choosing a money transfer service with low fees all the more important, which we will help you to do now.
If you need to send cash quickly, Western Union and WorldRemit should be your usual suspects. The fees for World Remit transfers are generally significantly lower compared with other cash pick-up services.
Western Union and MoneyGram typically have their own pick up outlets and WorldRemit can fulfill same day transfers to the following Indian banks:
- Bank of India
- ICICI Bank
- HDFC Bank
- Union Bank of India
- Punjab National Bank
- Bank of Baroda
- Yes Bank
- IDFC Bank
- Axis Bank
- Canara Bank
- Federal Bank
- State Bank of Travancore
- State Bank of Hyderabad
For bank to bank transfers amounts below $9500, Wise is our top pick (see above). They also have the ability to pay with a card for an additional fee.
For large bank to bank transfers over $9500, OFX (see table above for a fee free option) should be your go to service with customer service “traders” in Toronto available to guide you.
Sending money to Australia?
Here are your best options:
- Wise (see above) offers great exchange rate and low fees for transfers up to $9,500 CAD.
- For larger amounts OFX (see table above for a fee free option) is our top pick as it is regulated with physical presences in both countries and customer service in both as well.
Lastly, please remember that you may need to provide additional documents to the money transfer service if you’re sending amounts over $10,000 CAD. Typically this will already have been gathered up front by companies like OFX.
As part of money laundering laws the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) requires all financial institutions and money transfer services to report any transactions over $10,000 AUD in and out of Australia.
If you’re looking to save big and send money safely to Philippines from Canada, here are your options:
WorldRemit has branches all over Philippines and offer fast and easy cash transfers and is low cost as well. You recipient will ideally need to carry a government id proof, the reference number of the transaction, as well as the name of the sender.
- Bank to bank transfers of amounts below $9500 are best sent through Wise (see above).
- For larger transactions, OFX our top pick (see above).
To sum up: Other countries and tips
Apart from the listed countries, you can use any of the recommended services to send money to other countries as well.
Before initiating a transfer, research whether the service is regulated in both Canada and if possible the target country to ensure a smooth transfer.
Can also be helpful to know the tax regulations with respect to fund transfers in those countries to avoid any hidden fees.
Bring Money into Canada
There is no limit to the amount you can bring into Canada as far as the government goes. However the money transfer services and the banks you use do have limits. Typically these limits are very high for money transfer services like OFX, XE which are designed for large transfers. However some services may have limits for individual transfers and volume. Much more likely is the bank you use to fund the transaction and possibly the receiving bank. This is one reason why we recommend services with great telephone customer service because they will be able to figure out how to make transfers works as smoothly as possible.
Reporting and Taxation
All “Electronic Fund Transfers” of $10,000 CAD or more are reported to both FINTRAC and the CRA simultaneously through the money transfer service or other financial institution that you use.
Canadian tax laws are complex and capital gains and income may be taxed.
Cost is definitely one of the key variables to consider when zeroing in on a money transfer service. If you need cash to arrive WorldRemit may be your best option. Amounts below $9500 and Wise is going to be hard to beat. Amounts above $9500 and OFX comes into focus with its fee structure that actually gets cheaper as amounts increase and its focus on online and telephone support which can be extremely helpful to navigate the banks.
Service is another important factor especially for larger amounts. Good service not only involves quick troubleshooting, but also practical advice for your chosen banks as well as ensuring a fast and stress free experience. If you want stellar telephone support with no surprises (for example, providing additional documents, account hold ups, etc.) when transferring large amounts, choose OFX.
Others have great customer support too, but sometimes having a human on the other side (like OFX’s 24×7 phone support) is more reassuring than waiting on a chat or email response.
Transaction speed typically depends on the method you choose to fund your payment as well as the currencies involved. Typically, small cash transfers can go through in hours or at least the same day. Apart from this how you fund the transaction (like with a debit or credit card) will often save a day or two although this comes with additional fees.
Safety and Security
All the listed services are registered with and regulated by FINTRAC in Canada. As a result, they are required by law to follow safety guidelines when your money and sensitive data circulate through their systems. Rest assured, your money is in good hands with any of these services.