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Best Ways to Send Money Internationally from Canada

Written by Jessica Steer
For many people, figuring out how to send money to different countries can be quite overwhelming, but it is not as difficult as it seems. There are a lot of people that need to send money abroad for many different reasons and, because of that, there are multiple different ways to go about it.
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    Because we live in a technology-focused world, there are quite a few options online or the more traditional methods of sending money. Whether you are more tech-savvy and like to do things yourself or prefer to go to a bank or other institution, there is an option that will work for you.

    How can you transfer money internationally from Canada?

    There are many different methods to transfer money internationally and each one works a little bit differently. There is the traditional route of going through your bank or credit union, but you can also go through money transfer services as well as cheque-cashing services. There are even businesses that work specifically with currency exchange.

    The fantastic thing is that it is not necessary to do this in person. Most places also give you the option to send money online, by email, or even by phone. You can also use multiple methods to pay such as:

    • Cash
    • Cheque
    • Money order
    • Debit card
    • Credit card
    • Prepaid credit card

    Any of these methods work great but it is important to remember that if you send the money using a credit card, in most cases this is considered to be a cash advance which can be quite high in interest. The plus side is though, commonly the exchange rate that you pay goes by the credit card exchange rates and not the company who is sending the money’s exchange rate. Once the money has been sent it can take anywhere from a few minutes to 5 business days to process.

    Ways to transfer money internationally from Canada

    When you go to transfer money to a different country, there are a few different methods that you can use.

    Bank Transfers

    Many traditional banks and credit unions offer global or international money transfers that you can use when logged into mobile banking or through the mobile app using your debit card. You can also go directly into the bank and provide the information needed to complete an international transfer. You will need the recipient’s address, banking information, and full name in order to send the transfer which should take no longer than 5 days to go through.

    The advantage to sending money through bank transfer is that the money is trackable. The risk of sending money internationally is high so it can be very reassuring to send it through a source that is trackable and secure.

    Some of the banks that offer this service online are:

    • RBC
    • TD Canada Trust
    • CIBC
    • Scotiabank
    • BMO

    Other banks and credit unions may offer international wire transfers through the branch, or they may not do international bank transfers at all. It may be best to discuss your options with your financial institution.

    Digital Money Transfer Services

    When it comes to these kinds of services there are quite a few to choose from. These companies can have low fees and can be accessed anywhere. The great thing about them is that they provided the convenience needed when sending money internationally. The two most recommended are Currencies Direct and XE Money Transfer.

    Currencies Direct

    Currencies Direct has been in existence for over 20 years. They started small and now conduct over $9 billion worth of transactions annually. They have millions of clients and are considered to be one of the best online money transfer services. This company has a few key features that make them stand out from other money transfer services.

    1. There are no transfer fees.
    2. There are no account maintenance fees.
    3. There is a live exchange rate that can be found on their website.
    4. They confirm the exchange rate before the transaction.

    This company is safe and secure to use. They have a relatively fast transfer time as well. The money can arrive in anywhere from 1-3 business days.

    XE Money Transfer

    This is another well-known money transfer company that Canadians use to transfer money internationally. XE money transfer currently deals with over 130 currencies in 200 different countries. They are known for the speed at which they send their money which is usually no more than 2 days but can be there in a minimum of 2 hours.

    Just like currencies direct, they have no transfer fees, show a live exchange rate, and are a safe and regulated company. One thing they do differently is lock in your exchange rate at the beginning of your transaction.

    Western Union

    Western Union is one of the first ways to send money internationally. You can go to any of their locations to wire money, but you can also send it directly online. They are very transparent with their fees and can give you an estimate directly online. All you must do is select which country you are sending the money to and enter the amount in Canadian dollars. The system will then give you an estimate from sending the money.

    The great thing about using western union is that they have multiple locations around the world which allow the recipient to receive the money as cash, instead of putting it directly into their bank account. It also allows you to track your transfer, so you know when the recipient has gotten their money.

    PayPal (Xoom)

    PayPal offers a new service called Xoom. It allows you to send money internationally but in a fast, flexible and secure way. They periodically give you text updates so you can track the transfer. They also give you access online so you can track it.

    Xoom is only meant for international transfers, but it does connect directly with your PayPal account. You can’t use your PayPal balance to send money with Xoom but your payment information and everything else are accessible. The only thing that doesn’t show is the Xoom transaction in your PayPal account.

    The last feature of Xoom is that the recipient does not need to have a PayPal or a Xoom account. This makes it easy and convenient to use. While sending to a PayPal account is an option, so is sending to an international bank.

    Cheques and Money Orders

    If you aren’t a fan of technology or you just prefer to work with paper, another way to send money internationally is by using cheques and money orders. In some ways, these can be more complex to use, but in other ways, they aren’t.

    The one thing about sending a cheque internationally is that you must convert the currency before you write the cheque. This can be done at your bank. You also need to remember it is likely the recipient will be charged a fee for cashing the cheque.

    Money orders are a little bit different. They can be obtained from banks or even places like western union. While they are similar to a cheque, money orders specify the payer as well as the recipient and both must sign for it to be valid. You purchase one by prepaying the amount that is stated on the money order and will only be received once the recipient has signed for it.

    While money orders are convenient, safe, and guaranteed, there are no downfalls to them.

    1. For one they tend to be slower than any other type of transfer. These are often mailed which can take more time depending on the country.
    2. Money orders usually have higher exchange rates. This can impact how much the recipient receives out of what you have sent.
    3. Lastly, they tend to be more expensive with the extra fees that are attached. It is also common for the recipient to have some fees as well.

    How long do international transfers take?

    Knowing how long it will take for the recipient to receive their transfer mostly depends on how you have chosen to send the money. If you are sending the money online or via bank transfer. It can take anywhere from 1-5 business days depending on the institution.

    If you do the transfer through a wire transfer, transfer speeds can range from 1 day to a week. This may not be the best option if you are hoping to get the money there immediately.

    Lastly, cheques and money orders can take the longest to be received. They can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on the country. They are sent by mail, so they tend to be the slowest, even though this is one of the safest ways to send money internationally.

    Which countries are the easiest to send money to?

    While it is easy to send money to different countries, minus the few that have restrictions, the easiest to send money to from Canada is the US. It’s one of the most common countries to send money to, therefore, there are more services that allow you to transfer.

    Many banks are catching on that their customers are sending money to the US and have made it as simple as logging in online. While that is available for some other countries as well, the US seems to be the first one that is added before different countries.

    Which countries are the most difficult to send money to?

    While there are many countries that allow money transfers, there are a few that have some restrictions.

    1. Somalia
    2. Iran
    3. Cuba
    4. Sudan
    5. Syria
    6. North Korea

    These countries have these restrictions to help make sure that the money being sent there is legitimate. It is important to do your research before sending any money to verify that you are following the rules and are able to get the cheapest rate.

    What’s the cheapest way to send money internationally?

    We discussed multiple ways to send money internationally and, while many of them can be relatively cheap, bank transfers tend to be the cheapest. The downside is that they do tend to be slower than other methods. If you are not in a rush to send the money, using a bank transfer can save you a lot in fees. There are no hidden fees, and they are very transparent with their charges. The money is sent directly to the recipient’s bank account, and you are able to track it.

    Canada’s top 5 banks have relatively low global transfer fees and lower exchange rates. They typically at 2% to the mid-market exchange rate on currency exchange services. The transfer fee is anywhere from $0.00 to $10.00 per transfer, depending on who you bank with and how much you are sending. Scotiabank has the cheapest rates at a flat fee of $1.99 per transfer, but they do tend to take 5 business days instead of just one.

    What’s the best way to transfer large sums of money?

    If you are looking to send a large sum of money internationally, the cheapest way is a foreign exchange broker. By going this route, you get personalized service usually in the form of phone calls and emails that are provided to help guide you through the process. These foreign exchange companies, also known as “forex brokers” or “FX brokers”, specialize in transferring money on behalf of their clients.

    It is important to remember that just because you use a broker, doesn’t mean your money is more protected. You should do your research before selecting the broker you want to use. This will also help you get the best rate to spend less of your money on exchange rates and fees.

    Here are a few examples of some foreign exchange brokers:

    • OFX – This company is based out of Australia and has been around for over 20 years. Not only is there digital access, but they also have 24/7 service. They are one of the world’s largest foreign exchange companies and are known for their customer service.
    • Halo Financial – Halo is based out of the United Kingdom. They have been around since 2004 and are known for great customer service and cheap rates. All of the money is held in the UK and they only offer services in English.
    • Currencies Direct- As discussed above, currencies direct is one of the most recommended money transfer services.
    • Currency Solutions- Currency Solutions is highly rated with Trustpilot and allows money to be sent through their website or they can be reached by phone. They also have a currency converter online for transparency.

    These are just a few of the foreign exchange brokers in Canada. While there are many to choose from, take a look at each one and decide if any of them will work for you. Each platform has a different focus so it makes sense to check and see if that will work for you.

    Can Spring Financial help?

    While spring financial does not deal with sending money abroad, we do specialize in personal loans. If you need money for any reason, we are here to help. We specialize in personal loans for all different credit types. Whether you need $500 or $35,000, we can help. You can apply in as little as three minutes, and we could have the money E-transferred to you in as quick as just a few hours. Apply online or give us a call at 1-888-781-8439.

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