Sending Money Abroad Through Canadian Banks

I noticed that Canadian banks have recognized the need of service to allow newcomers to send money overseas.

Honestly I’ve never sent money to the Philippines directly from any of my Canadian bank accounts. So far I’ve used:

Tip: You can also send money abroad through shipping company on which you send balikbayan boxes.

But it’s just me. Maybe others are already sending money abroad through Canadian banks.

So in this post, I’ll reveal what the Canadian banks can do in terms of online remittance or a branch visit.

We’ll figure out if it’s worthwhile to avail the service of the bank compare to money transfer companies.

Tip: The goal is to send money overseas while the exchange rate is high while paying low transaction fees. But remember security is the top priority.

Send Money Abroad Through Canadian Banks (Big Five)

I’ll focus on the Big Five, the five largest banks dominating the banking industry of Canada. You may probably have an account in one of these Canadian banks.

Or if not, you may consider to open a chequing account so you can send money from Canada or avail other banking services.

1. Bank of Montreal (BMO)

You have two ways to send money overseas from a BMO bank account: Wire Transfer and Western Union Money Transfer.

Option #1: Wire Transfer

Through Global Money Transfer of BMO, you can send money via branch, ATM, online, or by phone. BMO clients can also receive money from overseas by providing the BMO customer information.

Transaction Fees:

Incoming (3rd party bank charges are the responsibility of the sender) $14.00
Outgoing (of wire value) 0.20%
Minimum charge $15.00
Maximum charge $125.00
Plus: Communication charge $10.00

The transaction fees are way too high and what is a communication charge anyway. The second option might be a better deal for BMO clients.

Option #2: Western Union Money Transfer

This second option is more convenient. It allows you to send money online within Canada and abroad to more than 200 countries and territories connected to the Western Union network.

Transaction Fee: $9.00 + 1% of the amount being remitted. The fee is added to the total transfer amount.

2. Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)

Similar to BMO, you can  also send money to family and friends anywhere through Western Union Money Transfer. The Scotiabank customers can transfer the money in different ways:

  • Scotia OnLine
  • Mobile Banking
  • Scotiabank branch

Transaction Fee: $9 + 1% of the money transfer

Daily Limit:

  • $999 a day through Scotia OnLine and Mobile Banking
  • $7,499 a day through a Scotiabank branch or Contact Centre

Note: The receiver must show ID and provide details about the money transfer in order to pick up funds.

If you haven’t tried this service before, you can use the simulator to learn how easy it is to send money via Western Union.

Sending Money Abroad Through Canadaian Banks

3. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

I was intrigued when I saw the ads of CIBC Global Money Transfer that allows customer to send money abroad with NO transfer fee.

Is it for real? Why is CIBC, the only Canadian bank out of the Big Five, not charging their customer in sending money overseas?

If you have a CIBC account and tried Global Money Transfer, share your experience in the comment.

How to Send the Money via Global Money Transfer:

Clients can send money through the CIBC Online Banking or the CIBC Mobile Banking App.

The transaction will go smoothly if the correct recipient’s information is provided: bank account number and official name and location of the recipient’s bank (including country, city, province or state, postal code or area code).

Transaction Fee:

This is the third time I’ll mentioned it. CIBC Global Money Transfers is free for the clients. But, here’s a catch, a Global Money Transfer counts towards the allowable transaction limit of a CIBC account. If the total transaction exceeds the limit, bank account transaction fees may apply.

Processing Time: within 1-3 business days

Refer and Earn:

This is also one of the features I haven’t seen in other Big Five banks. If you refer a friend, both of you can get a $25 credit when they complete a CIBC Global Money Transfer for the first time.

Should I be a CIBC Client?

I am already asking myself why I don’t have a CIBC account. Because it’s a great deal; all you have to do is to open an account.

The CIBC Everyday Chequing Account has the lowest monthly fee of $3.20 with 12 transactions every month. The fee is waived

This account is almost similar to TD Minimum Chequing Account but TD Canada Trust doesn’t offer free money transfer overseas from Canada.

The only question I  have is how competitive the exchange rate is; otherwise, I’m totally sold out in giving it a try.

4. Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

The International Money Transfer of RBC allows the customer to transfer money online through mobile app and online banking. The funds are received in most local currencies and in US and Canadian Dollars if permitted.

Daily Limit: You can exceed the maximum daily limit up to $10,000 CAD per day  if you successfully complete an additional authentication process.

Processing Time: 2-5 business days
Transaction Fee: $13.50 per transfer but other fees maybe charge
  • Excess debit transaction fee may also apply depending on the account
  • Additional service fees by any intermediary and receiving bank
  • Currency conversion fees
The RBC International Money Transfer has the highest daily limit and offer more convenience to the customer paying an average transaction fee among the Big Five banks.

5. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)

The Visa Direct allows anyone with a personal TD Canada Trust bank account to send money online (via EasyWeb not in mobile app) to the recipient’s Visa Debit Card, a Visa Credit Card, or a Reloadable Visa Prepaid card.

You can make international money transfers in more than 150 currencies to over 170 countries except to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. Visa does not currently issue cards in these countries.

During the process, a guaranteed exchange rate will be displayed.

The recipient doesn’t have to pay anything because transaction fees and charges are paid by the sender:

$8.95 for international transactions up to $1,000
$12.95 for transactions greater than $1,000.01 up to $2,500
$1.50 for all domestic transactions

Limits for Visa Direct:

Per Transaction Minimum Limit: $10 (CAD/USD)
Per Transaction Maximum Limit: $2,500 (CDN/USD)
24 Hour Rolling Limit: $ 2,500 (CAD/USD)
7 Day Rolling Limit: $ 10,000(CAD)
30 Day Rolling Limit: $ 25,000 (CAD)

The total dollar value should not exceed the maximum dollar amount allowed in associated period.

Processing Time:

  • Within 24-48 hours of the transfer
  • 30 minutes if the recipient’s Card issuing bank is Fast Funds enabled (service offered by Visa)

What do you think so far about Visa Direct?

It is a convenient way of sending money abroad to a Philippine bank account or credit card for a fee that is at par with remittance centers in Canada. Your family can use the funds right away without a trip to the bank.

Final Thoughts

It would be nice to compare the exchange rate of all the banks to see which bank offer a competitive exchange rate. That wouldn’t be possible unless you have an account with all the Big Five.

I have one bank account I opened within 3 days of arriving in Canada as part of the essential newcomer routine (getting an SIN and health card). During those times sending money abroad through Canadian banks isn’t known to the public if there was such service.

Now, newcomers can open a chequing account then avail the money transfer service.

Not considering the exchange rate, the Canadian bank has an advantage over remittance companies when it comes to convenience and security.

With that in mind, if you have an account in any of the Big Five banks, take advantage of paying a low transaction fee (TD) or none (CIBC) at all.

Have you send money to your family overseas in any of the Canadian banks or do you still prefer remittance companies?

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About Pwede Padala Gal

Pwede Padala Gal loves to share tips on how to save in Canada and the Philippines. Someday she'll finally teach her Aspin at least one dog trick and keep a cactus alive. Chat with her on Facebook and reddit.

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