Money Transfer Companies in Canada

Canada flag

The time might come when you need to make a foreign currency transfer from Canada to another country around the world. Perhaps you need to make a transfer from Canada to the US for a family member. Or you’re making a large purchase overseas and would like to make a currency transfer from Canada to Australia.

Whatever the reason, you’ll have the choice on who you want to make your Canadian international wires with; either some of the largest Canadian banks or specialist international money transfer companies in Canada. These transfer services are now offering the service cheaper with the added bonus of multiple products and hedging capabilities that can drastically improve the exchange rate you achieve.

Our focus is on sending money to Canada from the UK, USA, Australia and the EU (including countries such as Italy or Spain) as well as sending money from Canada to make international wire transfers such as overseas purchases and foreign investments. Typically, they are bank-to-bank transfers that move from one bank account to another but you can exchange your own funds too.

In this article, we’ll determine Canada’s best money transfer services available today, the different products they have to make a foreign currency transfer from Canada and explain if it’s possible to transfer money from Canada to the US for cheap. You will learn how to get the best CAD exchange rates from some of the best money transfer companies in Canada.

Canadian Bank International Wire Transfer Fees & Spreads

Bank Markup* % Source
RBC – Royal Bank of Canada 2.60% RBC Exchange Rates
TD – Toronto Dominion Bank 2.64% TD Bank Exchange Rates
BMO – Bank of Montreal 2.65% BMO Exchange Rates
CIBC – CIBC Bank 3.34% CIBC Foreign Exchange Rates
Scotia – Scotia Bank 2.88% Scotia Bank Foreign Exchange Rates
HSBC – HSBC Bank 2.10% HSBC Foreign Exchange Rates
Desjardins 2.49% Desjardins Foreign Exchange Rates

Source: https://www.knightsbridgefx.com/comparefxrates/, on 21/09/2020.

*Calculated on buying $10,000 USD.

What we can see here, is that out of the leading Canadian banks, HSBC offers the most competitive spreads on international wire transfers from Canada at 2.1% when customers are looking to buy $10,000 USD. The most expensive bank to buy the same amount ($10,000 USD), is easily CIBC bank who charges a 3.34% markup. In all cases, the banks charge a higher markup than specialist money transfer services would for payment of the same size.

If we use the money transfer firm WorldFirst as an example, who offer fee-free international payments for private clients, then we can get a feel for the amount you could save compared to using a bank. If you made just one transfer of $10,000 USD, you would be charged a markup of 0.5%.

A significant saving on even the cheapest bank markup of 2.1% and huge savings when compared to the most costly FX providers. It’s easy to understand how important the spread markup is, especially when you have to make larger international wires from Canada.

Neither Currencies Direct or WorldFirst charge international wire fees when you make a money transfer from CAD to any other country. TransferWise does, but it’s always one of the lowest fees out there and is largely driven by its completely transparent aim to offer one of the lowest exchange rate markup available – this makes TransferWise particularly good for low-value international money transfers from Canada. Uniquely for a bank, HSBC also offers fee-free international payments providing there is an FX conversion, however, the payment has to be under $10,000 CAD.

Let’s look at a completely superficial scenario 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. According to Royal Bank at 1:18 am GMT on April 1, they had a CAD/USD rate of 1.3627. At this price, you’d need to come up with 13,627 CAD. However, you could get a much better rate through an online money transfer provider. On internationalmoneytransfers.org, the worst rate offered by money transfer services operating in Canada was 1.3300 – this means you could buy 10,000 USD for 13,300 CAD.

We will introduce you to three money transfer services in more detail – one charges flexible currency rate margins (Currencies Direct) and the other two have a fixed payment structure so you can clearly understand the rate you’ll be charged (WorldFirst and TransferWise). In most cases, customers who need to make sizable or regular currency transfers prefer the former option of Currencies Direct as they can negotiate a bespoke fee structure, based on the amount of money they are sending. Whilst customers who need to make a one-off or less frequent Canadian currency transfers may prefer one of WorldFirst or TransferWise.

Our Top 3 Money Transfer Companies for Canada Transfers

Best For Transfers From Canada - Currencies Direct
  • Local Office in Canada
  • Team of Currency Exerts
  • Flexible Currency Margins (Great for payments of $100,000+)
  • Deal with an account manager on the phone or make easy transfers online or via the app.
  • FINTRAC Regulated

Currenciesdirect logoCurrencies Direct has been around since 199 with the international payments firm starting its overseas growth in 1999. Now, Currencies Direct has over 20 branches across 4 continents, including a locally-based Canadian office. 

Currencies Direct will help you send money to Canada from the most popular destinations like USA, UK, Australia, Germany, Italy, France, Austria, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand (overall over 50 locations worldwide). However you want to get in touch, Currencies Direct is available to answer your questions and help you make a foreign currency transfer from Canada to the UK or anywhere in the world you require.

They offer a range of FX services, all available through an expert team. Products are usually tailored depending on your specific needs. So whether you want to exchange at today’s rate, lock today’s exchange rate for a payment in the future or set a target rate that you would like to deal at in the future, you can do it all with Currencies Direct. 

For example, if you want an exchange rate higher than the market currently offers, you can simply tell Currencies Direct to target the exchange rate and they’ll either buy the currency on your behalf when that target is hit or let you know by phone or email so you can make a  decision on whether or not you would like to trade. Similarly, you can get set up with rate alerts, so you’ll receive an online update if your currency rate is hit.

If you prefer to make one-off transactions just whenever you need then Currencies Direct may not be the best fit, although it is still perfectly capable of delivering on these needs cheaper than a Canadian Bank. However, for customers who feel they would benefit from having a currency expert on their side, due to making regular or high-value payments, then that’s where Currencies Direct can come into its own and you’ll be able to discuss a personalised hedging strategy built around your own trading requirements and risk appetite.

Visit Curencies Direct For a Free Quote
Best For Transfers to Canada - WorldFirst
  • Deals with over 130 different currencies
  • Transparent margins that improve the more you send (from 0.15% to 0.5%)
  • Excellent Client Reviews (4.8 / 5 on TrustPilot)
  • FINTRAC Regulated

WorldFirst-logo review pageWorldFirst offers one of the most simple and transparent pricing schemes available of any money transfer service or Canadian bank today. The simple fee structure prices international wires from Canada between 0.15% – 0.5% depending on your annual transfer volumes.

Customers can easily stay updated with live streaming rates through a 24/7 full-service online platform when you can find both spot and forward rates. The money transfer firm allows payments across 130 currencies globally without limitation of a cap imposed on your maximum daily or weekly volumes.

What’s more, customers can open free global multi-currency accounts (including CAD, USD, GBP and EUR), allowing you to make or collect payments locally from overseas marketplaces and customers, or pay suppliers with same-day or next-day processing.

Visit WorldFirst For a Free Quote
Best Online Money Transfers to Canada - TransferWise
  • Fast, low-cost, and secure online money transfers from Canada to the United States
  • Easy-to-understand, transparent fee structure
  • FINTRAC Regulated

TransferWise has been around for a decade now and has taken the online money transfer industry by storm. As an online only offering, it is ideal for international wire transfers no matter the size. What’s pleasing is whether you make a payment for CAD$100 or CAD $100,000 the markup charged is exactly the same. 

A $10,000 CADUSD transaction is charged a 0.65% markup and $3.02 CAD international wire payment fee. In fact – whether you send $100, $100, $10,000 or $100,000 you’ll know that you’ll be charged a 0.65% markup. Better than the banks and offers a big saving against most of the online money transfer industry for low-value international wires from Canada.

Nowadays, the online platform is used by over 8 million customers, and the firm moves over $5 billion USD every month. To TransferWise’s calculations, they reckon that’s a $3 million saving in hidden fees each day. The platform is completely safe to use and can be accessed by individuals, freelancers and businesses.

Worth noting: The Canadian dollar is a G10 currency with easy access to liquidity so you won’t have any problems in exchanging it for any number of other currencies around the world by working with these money transfer companies in Canada. With all three being regulated by the FINTRAC, you can rest assured that your money is safely kept and transacted.

Visit TransferWise For a Free Quote

The Guide’s Topics:

  • Most Popular Reasons to Move Funds into Canada

Cheapest Way to Send Money to Canada 

For low-value transfers, it would appear WorldFirst offers the lowest available spread that is immediately applied to your trading account. At 0.5% it’s very fair and will only improve should you trade enough volume throughout the year to 0.25% and even 0.15%. You will find rates under 0.5% on other TransferWise currency corridors, such as GBPUSD, but for CAD payments they come out a touch more expensive than WorldFirst.

You should certainly not disregard Currencies Direct on its price at this point though. For larger payments Currencies Direct can certainly beat other money transfer services in Canada. In addition to a tight margin, you will also receive all of the benefits of a more tailored currency service. They can provide an update on the currency markets and what might influence the exchange rate for your currency pair in the future, which can drastically improve the rate you ultimately achieve. 

Through our earlier example, we showed that with internationalmoneytransfers.org, the worst rate offered by money transfer services operating in Canada was 1.3300 – this means you could buy 10,000 USD for 13,300 CAD. The cheapest way to send money to Canada is definitely by going online and selecting a specialist international money transfer provider. The provider you choose will depend on your own personal or business requirements but each of these firms has unique solutions depending on your international transfer requirements. With savings of more than 300 CAD that’s enough to upgrade to business class on your next flight down south!

Cheaper Rates in Canada due to Increased Competition

The Canadian personal finance ecosystem is also on an uprise. Companies like Simplii Financial and EQ bank, are online-only Canadian banks, that are taking a massive market share off its competitors. The Canadian market appears to be riper than ever before to use alternatives to big banks and as the competition increases, the rates provided to clients are getting better for international money transfers. Interestingly the service by EQ bank is actually powered by TransferWise, so you know you have a trusted provider behind it.

Why Send Money To A Canadian Bank Account

There are a whole host of reasons you may be looking to make a foreign currency transfer from / to Canada. And depending on whether you’re looking to make an international wire transfer from US to Canada for a house purchase or send a small international wire from Canada to the UK for a family member, it can impact the money transfer service that you would need. Some money transfer providers are better in certain locations and sometimes their products are simply the correct solution for what their client needs.


Sending Money to Friends and Family

When you’re making regular smaller payments – under $10,000 CAD for example – then usually you would find TransferWise to be the best option for this but in this case, WorldFirst is a touch cheaper. With TransferWise you’ll only be able to trade ‘on the spot’ so it perhaps makes WorldFirst the better option as you can access forward contracts and limit orders. Products both offered by Currencies Direct as well.

Solution – WorldFirst or TransferWise


Freelance Invoicing

TransferWise is almost always the best option for this. More specifically it’s the TransferWise borderless account you’ll need. Registering for a TransferWise borderless account provides you with local currency accounts that you can include on your invoice for your clients to pay into. You then have the flexibility to hold balances in different currencies, make and receive local payments in a wide number of countries, and convert funds back to CAD whenever you wish. World First’s World Account works in the same fashion too – it’s particularly beneficial for the repatriation of overseas income for online sellers who sell on marketplaces internationally.

Solution –WorldFirst or TransferWise


Business Transfers

If you’re a business trading internationally then a tailored hedging strategy should be implemented. Being able to understand your upcoming costs and reducing exposure to the FX markets is important if you import your stock from overseas. By working with Currencies Direct, businesses are assigned a designated account manager who will get to know you and understand your business requirements. You can choose to completely hedge trades or find solutions that can provide flexibility on the rate you want to achieve. An FX expert from Currencies Direct can provide their view on the markets and the FX solutions that are appropriate to your business. 

Solution – Currencies Direct


Buying a Property Overseas

If you’re making a large currency transfer from or to Canada then timing of your transfer could have a more significant impact then the fees charged by the money transfer provider. By speaking to a currency expert at Currencies Direct, or even WorldFirst, then both of these firms offer products such as forward contracts – allowing you to guarantee today’s exchange rate for up to two years. Timing when you agree to your forward contract and you’ll see you can have very different exchange rates one week or even day to the next. The fact you can access a dedicated currency expert which you can’t with your bank account provider is something to factor in too.

Solution – Currencies Direct


Information for Expats Relocating to Canada

If you consider moving into Canada and live there as an expat, you may find the following information helpful.

Advantages Of Moving To Canada:

  • Low Unemployment Rate: Canada has a 7.2% unemployment rate.
  • High Salary: Average household earns 28,194 USD per year.
  • Good Work-life Balance: Canadians work on average 1,702 hours per year, which is 74 hours below the OECD average.

Disadvantages Of Moving To Canada:

  • High Taxes: Ranging 20 – 30% of the paycheck.
  • High Cost of Living: two-bedroom apartment on average costs 1,800 GBP.
  • High Education Costs: Average university fees are 10,000 GBP per year.

Popular Destinations in Canada

Popular cities for business and real estate transactions from abroad, in Canada: Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Ottawa, Edmonton, Mississauga, North York, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Scarborough.