9 Best Ways To Transfer Money Internationally From Canada In 2022

A lot has changed in recent years when it comes to sending money abroad.

With many fintech companies on the rise, you can send money to family and friends abroad incredibly cheaply, quickly, and conveniently, simplifying a process that’s been notoriously known as tedious and expensive.

With my recent travels and move from Canada to the UK, it’s safe to say that I’ve tried nearly all of the options on this list and countless others over the years.

Drawing on my recent experiences crossing borders (and my background in banking), today’s post vets out the nine best international transfer services options out there, weighing them in terms of costs, convenience, and transfer time. We’ll then conclude with the ultimate winner.

Let’s get started!

best ways to transfer money internationally from canada

Online Options

You can use many online services to send money internationally from Canada in today’s day and age. The convenience factor of most of these online services is high, costs are low, and transfer times are relatively quick.

But they may not be the best option for you if you’re planning on sending large sums or need help from a representative during or after the transfer.

Here are the five best online services for transferring money internationally from Canada.

These platforms differ from one another when it comes to fees, transfer times, services offered, and the type of transfers they support best (in terms of size and destination.) You will find these points summarized at the top of each list item for convenience.

1. Wise (formerly TransferWise)

Our Verdict
Wise (Formerly TransferWise)
10/10Our Score

Wise

Online International Money Transfer and Banking Service

  • Extremely cheap international money transfers.
  • Over 50 different currencies available
  • Borderless Visa card
  • Transparent FX costs: No hidden fees

 

Cost: low
Convenience Factor: high
Transfer Time: short
Best For: small to medium-sized transfers

If you’ve read the Wise Personal or Wise Business account reviews on Wealth Awesome, you might already know that we are a big fan of this service for various reasons.

The company offers mid-market exchange rates with no mark-up, has low and transparent fees, good customer support, offers services in more than 60 currencies and sports a one-of-a-kind borderless account that lets you hold more than 50 currencies at once.

In addition, the funds will hit the receiving account within a matter of seconds or minutes with most of their transfer options.

Wise is one of the only foreign exchange companies that use the mid-market exchange rate and are notoriously known for their low fees and speed.

A few of the downsides to Wise, however, is that they do not allow for transfers to be funded by cash or cheques (like WorldRemit and PayPal.)

The recipient must also have a bank account, which might not always be the case for those living in countries that mostly operate with cash.

If these will hinder your ability to use this service, don’t fret, there are other options on the list that you can use.

All in all, Wise is one of the cheapest and quickest ways you can send money from your bank account across borders. You can sign up for a Wise personal or business account here.

2. WorldRemit

WorldRemit

Cost: medium
Convenience Factor: high
Transfer Time: short
Best For: small to medium-sized transfers

WorldRemit stands out from other services because it allows users to send and receive cash, mobile money, and airtime top-up (used to top up prepaid phones).

This makes it much easier to send money to those who might not have a bank account or don’t use regular banking for their day-to-day transactions.

Despite the convenience of such options, WorldRemit adds a mark-up to the mid-market exchange rate and charges additional transfer fees.

You can get a quote for how much your transfer will cost before actually completing the transaction, but do note that there may be cheaper options out there.

The charge amount will depend on your transfer destination and how much money you sent.

3. Remitly

Remitly

Cost: varies, medium to high (depending on destinations country and currency)
Convenience Factor: high
Transfer Time: short
Best For: small Transfers ($0-$200)

Remitly is a good option for those sending small sums of Canadian Dollars overseas.

The cost per transfer will be just a few dollars and reaches the end destinations just as quickly, if not faster than the other online transfer options on this list.

However, Remitly’s fees rise quickly over just a few hundred dollars, and their exchange rate is unclear on their website.

Other online services seem to trump Remitly when it comes to fees for medium to large transfers and fee transparency.

If you’re sending larger sums overseas, we would recommend another option such as Wise. Otherwise, Remitly is great for quick and cheap transfers.

4. PayPal

paypal logo

Cost: high
Convenience Factor: high
Transfer Time: short
Best For: sending any sum

PayPal may have high fees and a 4% mark-up on top of the mid-market exchange rate, but they do offer options for cash pickup or delivery, bill payments, and mobile top-up with their newest transfer service, Xoom.

These services, especially the international bill payments, are a rare offering with the other services on the market and come with the convenience of funding your transactions with your PayPal balance.

If you are already a regular user of PayPal (for instance, if your side hustle income gets paid into there), the higher costs may be worth incurring for the convenience of not having to move money around too much.

With PayPal’s Xoom, the recipient of your transfer does not need a PayPal or Xoom account to receive the funds, which is also great.

5. OFX

OFX

Cost: low
Convenience Factor: high
Transfer Time: medium
Best For: large transfers (minimum $500)

OFX is a good option for larger international money transfers. Unlike Remitly, sending more money with this service makes things even cheaper.

The company also has no transfer fees and a fair exchange rate. They offer their services in more than 50 currencies and can assist you in sending money to over 190 countries. Their minimum transfer amount is $500.

The biggest downside to OFX may be their speed as they rely on banking hours for their transfers.

Unlike many other online services on the market, you may not always get same-day or even next-day delivery with their services.

Despite this, they have great fees/rates and are one of the best options for sending large international transfers online.

In-Person Options

6. Wire Transfer

6.  Wire Transfer

Cost: medium to high, depending on the bank
Convenience Factor: medium to high 
Transfer Time: medium to long
Best For: medium or large-sized transfers 

Wire transfers are sent out by your bank or credit union directly to the recipient’s bank account.

Depending on your financial institution, these transfers can cost anywhere between $20-$50 per transfer and take about 1-4 business days to complete.

Wire transfer fees usually remain the same regardless of the amount you are sending, so it’s recommended that you send one large transfer instead of several smaller ones.

Similar to using Wise, the recipient of your wire transfer must have a bank account.

Depending on the country you’re sending to, you will need detailed information about the recipient such as their full name and address, bank name and address, account number, sort code, SWIFT or BIC code, IBAN, or others.

These types of transfers must be done in person and are completed by a bank representative.

I know it may feel inconvenient to physically go to the bank for wire transfers, but many prefer the familiarity of the transaction.

In addition, if you are sending more than a few thousand dollars, it may also be worth it to go this route, as your bank’s agents will directly handle any issues that might arise with your transfer.

7. Money Order, Draft Cheque or Personal Cheque

Money Order, Draft Cheque or Personal Cheque

Cost: low
Convenience Factor: medium
Transfer Time: medium
Best For: small or medium-sized transfers

Mailing a money order, draft cheque (also known as an official cheque), or personal cheque is another good (and old school!) option for sending money overseas.

However, despite the low costs and security, it may not always be possible to obtain cheques in the currency of the country you are sending them to.

For example, drafts for EUR or USD are commonplace, but getting a draft cheque for, say, Sri Lankan Rupees may be quite tricky in Canada.

Sending a cheque in the mail is safe because only the written recipient can deposit it in their account.

In the case that your mail is lost, it is also possible to cancel or put a stop order on your cheque. We would highly discourage you from sending cash in the mail as it’s untraceable and almost impossible to retrieve if lost.

8. Prepaid Debit Card

Prepaid Debit Card

Cost: low
Convenience Factor: high
Transfer Time: short
Best For: small or medium-sized transfers

A prepaid debit card may be another good way to send money abroad, including to countries that may operate primarily in cash.

All you have to do is send a reloadable card to the person of your choice (or tell them to obtain it themselves.) Once they have it in their possession, you can go ahead and load funds to this card online.

The recipient can then use this card like a regular debit at point-of-sale locations, or go to an ATM to withdraw it as cash.

We recommend that you hold off on loading any funds until the debit card is with the recipient for safety reasons.

Also, do keep an eye out for any monthly service fees, sign-up fees or reload charges. Here’s a list of some of the best cards in Canada.

9. Cash-to-Cash Transfers (such as Western Union)

Cash-to-Cash Transfers (such as Western Union)

Cost: high
Convenience Factor: medium to high
Transfer Time: short
Best For: small or medium-sized transfers

Organizations such as Western Union and MoneyGram have been around since way before fintech companies such as Wise came to the market.

These organizations can be a huge convenience for those looking to send or receive funds in the form of cash (although most also offer cash-to-bank or bank-to-bank transfers.)

Companies like Western Union have hundreds of thousands of agent locations worldwide where you can send or receive international funds – all you have to do is deposit some cash in your domestic currency, and the recipient will be able to pick it up in their home currency on the other side.

A few of the major drawbacks with cash-to-cash services such as Western Union is their fee and rate schedule. Companies like these are known to charge relatively high prices in addition to inflating their exchange rates.

Do note that cash-to-cash service organizations in Canada must adhere to stringent safety rules to curb fraud and money laundering per federal financial laws.

Therefore, be prepared to show ID and answer questions if you are sending a medium to large-sized transfer.

What Is the Easiest Way to Transfer Money Internationally?

The easiest way to transfer money internationally is through Wise (formerly known as Transferwise.) The service offers it all in terms of low costs, high convenience, speedy transfer times and the ability to accommodate relatively large transfers in more than 50 currencies.

The ease of international money transfers isn’t the only reason we love Wise, though.

We also love that we can hold money in various currencies, have a Wise debit card to use locally and on our travels, and take advantage of their good customer service.

Their business account is also excellent and is equipped with several streamlining features to save you both time and money in your internal accounting operations.

You can sign up for Wise here and read our in-depth review here.

Conclusion

Regardless of your international transfer amount, destination or method, there is a good option out there for you.

Our ultimate winner remains to be Wise, but many services come close in terms of speed, costs, and convenience. We hope that this list can be helpful in making your international transfers even smoother.

Are you looking to travel and bring your money with you across borders? Check out these 23 practical ways to save money for travel and ways to travel cheaply!

Photo of author
Selin is a seasoned personal finance and sustainable banking expert with several years of experience working in Canadian credit unions, both in the branch networks as well as the head office. A graduate of the University of British Columbia, she's also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers youth community and is either working with kids or travelling when she is away from her computer.

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