Sometimes transferring money between banks in Canada can feel more complicated than it should be.
Many other countries have more straightforward methods and third-party apps in place that are frequently used for these types of transactions, but Canada is a bit different.
When I worked in the banking sector, I was responsible for overseeing some of these options, as well as helping customers with their issues and giving financial advice.
So, today I’m going to list out all of the best ways on how to transfer money between banks in Canada and detail how long the money will take to arrive with each option, their convenience, cost and how to get started.
Let’s get into it!
Top Ways To Transfer Money Between Banks In Canada
From online banking to transferring money between bank accounts the old-fashioned way, here are all the methods you can use to move your money from one financial institution to another.
I’ll also outline some of the key pros and cons of each to help you decide which best fits your needs.
1. Interac e-transfer
How long the money takes to arrive: Zero to two hours
How-to: Log into your online banking using a desktop computer or mobile application (more details below)
Interac e-transfer is one of the quickest, cheapest, and most convenient ways of sending money between banks in Canada (or even between different account holders in the same bank or credit union.)
Many Canadian financial institutions offer free Interac e-transfer services with most accounts or charge less than $1 per transaction.
All you need is desktop access or your bank’s mobile application, along with the recipient’s phone number or email address – no account numbers or other confusing details are needed.
Once you have these two things set, all you need to do is log in to your online banking, choose the amount you want to send, set up a security question (if the person does not have auto-deposit set up), enter the recipient’s phone number or email, and hit send!
Once received on the other side, the person will have to answer the security question, or, if they have auto-deposit set up, they will get the funds directly into their account, and no action will be necessary.
Please note that there are certain limits to sending and receiving Interac e-transfers, which are usually somewhere around $2500 to $3000.
For more details on this caveat, head to this post: Interac E-Transfer Limit In Canada: $1,000, $2,000, Or $3,000?
- Convenience: Interac e-Transfers offer a fast and easy way to send money within Canada using just the recipient’s email or phone number.
- Speed: E-transfers are processed within seconds.
- Accessibility: You can initiate transfers through your online or mobile banking app.
- Security: Interac e-Transfers are secure and use encryption for data protection.
- No Need for Account Details: Unlike traditional transfers, you only need the recipient’s email or phone number, eliminating the risk of sharing sensitive account information.
- Notifications: Both sender and recipient receive notifications when a transfer is sent and received.
- Fees: Financial institutions might charge fees for sending or receiving e-Transfers, especially if you exceed a certain number of transactions.
- Limits: There are usually limits on the amount you can send per transfer and per day.
- Processing Delays: Though e-Transfers are quick, there might be processing delays if the recipient’s financial institution isn’t part of the Interac network.
- Recipient Setup: Recipients must have online or mobile banking access to receive e-Transfers.
- Transaction History: E-Transfers might not include detailed transaction information on bank statements, which can complicate record-keeping.
- Reversals: Once a transfer is accepted, it’s typically irreversible, so be cautious about sending money to the wrong recipient.
2. Standing Order
How long the money takes to arrive: One to two business days
Convenience: Medium-High (very high for recurrent payments)
How-to: Go into your bank branch or give your bank a call. You will need to provide the payee’s banking details, payment amount, and payment frequency.
A standing order is a regular payment that you can set up at your bank (in-person or online) to deposit funds into a different account at intervals (for instance, once a week, month, year, etc.) until they are cancelled.
So, how do they work?
A standing order is a transaction set up by the payer, who will need to contact their bank to set this up.
The payer will need the payee’s banking details, such as the institution number, transit number, and account number, along with payment details (how much and how frequent the payments will be.)
Standing orders are incredibly useful for paying rent, mortgage/loan payments, sending friends and family money regularly, or even charity donations.
But it’s incredibly important to be careful about having sufficient funds in your account at the time the payment hits your account at the specified time.
Otherwise, you may be subject to hefty NSF (non-sufficient funds) fees by your financial organization.
- Automated Payments: Standing orders allow for automated, recurring transfers, making them ideal for regular payments like rent or utility bills.
- Timely Payments: Payments are made automatically on specific dates, reducing the risk of missing deadlines.
- Convenience: Once set up, standing orders require minimal manual intervention, providing convenience over manual transfers.
- Budgeting: Standing orders can aid in budgeting by ensuring consistent payments to savings accounts or creditors.
- Control: You have control over the frequency, amount, and recipient of the transfers.
- Lack of Flexibility: Standing orders involve fixed amounts and schedules, which might not be suitable for variable payments.
- Difficulty in Alterations: Changing the payment amount or schedule requires contacting the bank, which might involve delays and administrative processes.
- Missed Funds: If your account lacks sufficient funds on the payment date, the transfer may fail, leading to missed payments.
- Inefficiency for One-time Payments: Standing orders are designed for recurring payments; using them for one-time transactions can be cumbersome.
- Limited Recipient Options: Standing orders are limited to accounts within the same bank, restricting your ability to transfer to accounts in different institutions.
3. Wire Transfer
How long the money takes to arrive: One to five business days
How-to: Go into your branch with one to two pieces of a government-issued ID and payee details
Although wire transfers are usually associated with making international transfers, they can also be a good way to transfer money domestically, especially if you are sending large sums (over $3,000 or $5,000, for which Interac e-transfer would not be an option.)
The only downside associated with wire transfer is the high cost. However, these fees usually remain the same regardless of the amount you are sending.
That is, you don’t have to pay more fees if you are, say, sending $50,000 to someone. So that is another reason why wire transfers can be great for one-off, large transfers.
In order to send a wire transfer, you’ll need to go into your bank and provide the teller with the recipient’s full name and address, bank and branch name and address, account number, institution number, and transit number (note that different information may be needed for international transfers).
Also, don’t forget to bring your ID to the bank, especially if you are sending more than a couple hundred dollars. The recipient should have the funds in one to five business days.
- Speed: Wire transfers are one of the fastest methods for transferring money internationally, often reaching the recipient within the same business day.
- Security: Wire transfers are highly secure, with encrypted communication and strict verification processes.
- Global Reach: Wire transfers can be used for both domestic and international transfers, making them suitable for cross-border transactions.
- Certainty: Once initiated, wire transfers are typically irrevocable, providing assurance that the funds will reach the recipient.
- Direct Transfer: Wire transfers involve direct bank-to-bank transfers, minimizing intermediary involvement.
- Fees: Wire transfers are associated with fees, including initiation fees and potential intermediary charges, which can be relatively high.
- Delays: While international wire transfers are generally quick, some delays may occur due to time zone differences or intermediary bank processing.
- Complex Process: Initiating a wire transfer can be more complex than other methods, requiring detailed recipient information and potential paperwork.
- Limited Reversibility: Wire transfers are often irreversible, so rectifying the situation can be challenging if there’s an error or fraud.
4. Online Payment Services (such as PayPal or Wise)
How long the money takes to arrive: Instantly to one business day
Cost: Free to a few dollars
How-to: Make an account with the payment service, link your bank account and enter recipient information
Online payment services such as Venmo are not yet available in Canada. However, options such as PayPal or Wise can act as alternatives.
The only downside? Both users need to be PayPal users. That is, you aren’t necessarily sending funds to someone’s bank account but to their PayPal account instead. From there, the recipient can move the funds to the bank account of their choice.
Wise is another good option for this, although the application is usually associated with international transfers. Local transfers are certainly an option with Wise, and they are very quick and cheap to complete.
If you are an existing Wise user for international transfers, I would definitely recommend checking out their local transfer options as well.
You might already know that I’m a big fan (and user) of Wise myself. I have nothing but good things to say about the company.
- Transparent Fees: Wise offers competitive exchange rates and transparent fees.
- Real Exchange Rates: Wise uses the mid-market exchange rate, providing better value.
- Low Transfer Fees: Transfer fees are often lower compared to traditional banks.
- Bank Accounts Only: Wise primarily supports bank-to-bank transfers.
- Not Always Instant: Transfers may take a day or two to complete.
- Widespread Acceptance: PayPal is widely recognized and accepted globally.
- Ease of Use: It’s user-friendly and convenient for sending and receiving money.
- Speed: Transfers within the same country are generally quick.
- Fees: Fees can be high, especially for cross-border transactions.
- Exchange Rates: Exchange rates might not be as favourable as other Wise.
- Hold Periods: Funds can be held temporarily (and sometimes indefinitely), affecting immediate access and causing big problems.
5. Cheque or Draft
How long it takes: One to seven business days to clear, depending on the amount
Cost: Varies – a chequebook can be free or cost about $20-$25; drafts cost anywhere between $5-$10 (per cheque)
How-to: Write a cheque or go into your bank branch to obtain a draft to give to the recipient
Although seen as a bit old school, cheques or drafts are a good option for transferring money between banks in Canada.
If you’re using a cheque, all you have to do is write one out to the recipient. Once deposited by the recipient, the cheque should clear in a few business days.
If you’re writing one out to yourself, you may not even have to leave your house for this transaction.
Using the mobile deposit feature that most banks provide, you can write the cheque and deposit it into your other bank account in minutes. Otherwise, you will have to physically give it to the recipient so that they can deposit it themselves.
On the other hand, drafts must be issued by a bank teller and can be seen as an official cheque. This means that the funds come out of your account when you get the cheque printed at your bank branch.
Giving a draft to someone proves to the recipient that the funds are legitimate and that the cheque will not bounce (unless it’s counterfeit.)
Drafts are usually used for larger sums, but not always. They just cost about $5 to $10 per cheque, which can add up pretty quickly.
Regardless, they are a straightforward way to transfer money between accounts, especially if you don’t want to buy an entire chequebook.
Note that when you go to your branch to obtain a draft cheque, you will be asked to show government-issued identification. If the cheque is for a large sum, you may also be asked the purpose of the draft.
This is nothing personal and has to do with the strict anti-money laundering laws that banks are subject to.
- Record Keeping: Provides a physical record of the transaction for both the sender and receiver.
- Wide Acceptance: Cheques are accepted by various businesses and individuals.
- Convenience: You can write a cheque from your personal account and mail it.
- Processing Time: It may take several days for the recipient to deposit the cheque and access funds.
- Security Risks: Lost or stolen cheques can lead to fraud.
- Manual Process: Writing, mailing, and depositing cheques involve manual steps.
6. Cash Deposit
How long it takes: One day
Convenience: Medium to low
How-to: Deposit at a bank or give cash to the recipient so they can deposit it themselves
Want to transfer money to an account? Another option is to deposit cash at a bank. However, this may look a bit different based on whether you’re depositing into your own account or somebody else’s.
If it’s your account, this is a very simple transaction. All you will need to do is provide your banking details (or your debit card) and deposit the cash into an account of your choosing.
Some banks will also allow you to deposit cash into another person’s account, but it may not be as easy. You will need to provide the recipient’s name and address, and potentially account number as well.
Not everybody is comfortable giving this information out to others, so it might be a bit tricky or be viewed as fraudulent by the teller. If it’s an option to physically give the cash to a recipient, it might be worth going that route instead.
Nonetheless, I have seen this transaction take place many times, as depositing cash is not the same as withdrawing. You certainly won’t be able to do the latter unless it is your own account.
- Immediate Availability: Funds are usually available instantly for the recipient to use.
- No Transaction Fees: Cash deposits are often free of transaction fees.
- No Need for Technology: You don’t need an online account or technology to deposit cash.
- Inconvenience: Requires visiting a physical bank branch or ATM for the deposit.
- Security Concerns: Carrying cash can pose security risks.
- Limited Tracking: Limited electronic tracking compared to online transactions.
International Money Transfers
Need to send money internationally?
International money transfers can be tricky for larger amounts, and you’ll usually need to contact your bank to verify an international wire transfer.
You’ll need to make sure that all of the recipient’s account details are correct to avoid any errors. In some cases, your banker may advise you to set up an escrow account, where the money will be safely held by a third party.
Large amounts aside, international money transfer services like Wise and PayPal make it easy to transfer money internationally. These services can automatically convert one currency to another making money transfers seamless (although there may be a small fee).
To learn more, check out my post detailing the best ways to transfer money internationally from Canada.
The quickest and most convenient way to transfer money between accounts in RBC to those in TD is by Interac e-transfer.
This transaction is cheap and safe, and you can do it in a matter of seconds wherever you are, using just your phone or computer.
The other options you have for transferring money from RBC to TD are by standing order, wire transfer, online payment services such as PayPal or Wise, cheque, or cash deposit.
Of course, if you are transferring money to your own account (i.e. you have an account both in RBC and TD and want to transfer money between them), this will be significantly easier to do.
In this case, using a cheque can be just as convenient as using an e-transfer, as both of these institutions have mobile cheque deposit features in place on their mobile application.
If you’re using this method, all you have to do is write a cheque from your RBC account to yourself and then deposit that cheque into your TD account using your mobile device.
It’s quick, safe, and free, and the cheque should clear in about one to seven business days, depending on the amount.
The fastest way to transfer money between banks in Canada is Interac e-transfer, PayPal, or other online payment services.
Digital options such as these are the quickest for a variety of reasons, but mostly because you do not have to make a phone call or go into your bank branch to complete the transaction.
These digital options are also quite cheap, if not free, and are regulated by financial bodies in Canada, making them incredibly safe as well.
All in all, the option I would recommend using the most, though, is Interac e-transfer.
As I mentioned, it’s safe, reliable, and usually free (or less than $1) per transaction, and you can complete it through your bank (as opposed to a third party).
This way, if something goes wrong, you can go into your branch to discuss the matter with the tellers.
Internal bank transfers can sometimes look a little bit different than external transfers, which occur when you are sending money to another account within the same bank.
That is, a Vancity member sending money to another Vancity member, for instance.
Some banks and credit unions have systems in place that simplify the internal money transfer process by a mile, and it’s worth it to speak with them or research online to see whether this is the case with your bank.
But hey – if Interac e-transfers are free and unlimited with your chequing account package, this might even not be necessary. You can just send an e-transfer even if the person you are sending money to banks at the same place as you.
If you have a limited number of free e-transfers per month, though, definitely look into this option. It’s also worth noting that internal bank transfers sometimes have significantly higher limits than e-transfers.
So if you’re looking to send more than $2,500 or $3,000, this is another option to consider!
Today’s post went over all of the ways you can transfer money between banks in Canada, including how to send them and how convenient, costly and quick it is to complete each one.
As always, please only send money to someone if you are sure of their intentions and know where your money is going.
You should never have to reveal any passwords or other personal information (other than when logging into your banking) when sending money between accounts.
Are you interested in sending money abroad instead? Check out my article on the Best Ways To Transfer Money Internationally From Canada.