To get the best price next time you send money overseas you need to compare the cost of sending an international money transfer – but there are many factors to consider, and it can be a lot of work.
That’s why theCurrent decided to do the work for you. We dug through costs, exchange rates, and hidden fees at major Canadian institutions to find out once and for all who provides you with the safest, and cheapest way to send an international money transfer from Canada.
How much does it cost to send an international money transfer?
The cost of sending an international money transfer depends on where you are, where you want to send money, and the company you choose.
Things to consider when sending money:
- Exchange rates
- The transfer cost
- Hidden fees and markups
How much is the transfer cost?
Most banks charge between $25 and $50 for an international money transfer, but currency exchange specialists often charge much less. RBC, CIBC, TD, and Scotiabank’s international transfer costs are all available online.
Transfer Cost (As low as)
|RBC||As low as $25**|
|TD||As low as $40**|
|Scotiabank||$9 +1% of total transfer**|
Scotiabank charges just $9 plus an extra 1% tacked on, while TD charges the most at $40 (of course, depending how much money you plan on transferring, Scotiabank could end up being the most expensive). RBC and CIBC are comparable at $25 and $30 respectively, but the clear winner is Continental.
Do exchange rates affect international money transfers?
Yes, exchange rates affect international money transfers. When you send money abroad from Canada you are also exchanging currency, and the usual currency exchange rates still apply.
Many overlook currency exchange rates, but they are an important factor to consider when calculating and comparing the cost of sending funds abroad.
Compare international money transfer exchange rates
Since currency exchange rates still apply to international wires or money transfers, you have to compare the rates offered by different companies to find the best deal.
If two currency exchange providers each charge $20 for a money transfer, but Company A offers an exchange rate that is 1% lower than Company B, you stand to save a lot of money by using Company A. Using the real life exchange rates, you can see that exchanging $1000 with the banks would cost between $1025 and $1028, but exchanging $1000 with Continental would only cost between $1002 and $1012.
|Company||Exchange Rate||Cost of Exchanging $1000||Savings on Exchange Rate|
|Continental||0.2-1.2%||$1001 to $1012||$16 to $27|
Beware of hidden fees and markups
Almost every bank offers international wires and money transfers, but they may also charge hidden fees, commission or excessive exchange rates. As you can see above, the big banks generally charge marked-up exchange rates. Be sure to ask about other hidden fees. As we have verified, Continental never contains hidden fees or charges commission on any of their services.
The verdict: Where is the best place to send an international money transfer from in Canada?
Taking into account exchange rates and transfer costs, we calculated how much it would cost to send US$1500 from Canada.
(As low as)
|Exchange Rate||Cost to Send US$1500 from Canada||Savings|
|RBC||As low as $25**||2.6% (Source)||$1982||–|
|TD||As low as $40**||2.6% (Source)||$1997||–|
|Scotiabank||$9 +1%**||2.8% (Source)||$1989||–|
|Continental||$10*||0.1-1.2%||$1919-$1940||$42 – $78|
*Based on lowest available costs
**Sources: https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/wire-transfers-what-banks-charge/ http://www.rbcroyalbank.com/products/deposits/wire-payments.html https://www.cibc.com/ca/small-business/fees/additional-services-charges.html http://www.scotiabank.com/ca/en/0,,4298,00.html
***Exchange rates change, please call your local bank or currency exchange service.
We used publically available information, taken from first and third party sources to calculate the cost of sending international wires and money transfers around the world. We compared some of Canada’s largest institutions including RBC, TD, ScotiaBank, and Canada’s Foreign Exchange Experts – Continental Currency Exchange.
The best place to send international money transfers in Canada
Continental Currency Exchange is the least expensive option for sending international wires and money transfers. Compared to the big banks, on a $1000 CAD transfer, Continental could save you between $42 and $78.
Learn more about international wires and money transfers with our in-depth FX 101. For more on Continental’s general services, check out ‘Our Services‘ or receiving wires. Finally, find out all about our great ‘10 on 10’ savings!
Note: All estimates are based on live rates and fees as of 12:23pm, 06/10/2016; for current prices please contact your local bank or foreign exchange retailer.
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