Sending money to someone in another country

From Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

 

Transferring money to someone in another country is also known as sending a remittance.

A business or financial institution in Canada sends the transaction details to an agent, business or bank in the other country. That agent, business or bank gives the money to the person you're sending the money to (the recipient).

Depending on the service, the money may be given as:

  • cash
  • a deposit into a bank account
  • a credit to a credit card, debit card or prepaid card

Finding a money transfer service

You can send money to other countries through a variety of businesses and financial institutions including:

  • bank
  • credit unions
  • money transfer businesses
  • cheque cashing businesses
  • currency exchange

Some money transfer businesses also have outlets located in:

  • post offices
  • grocery stores
  • pharmacies
  • convenience stores

Make sure the business is trustworthy

Before you hand over your money, do your research:

Setting up a money transfer

Depending on the service you choose, you may be able to set up the transaction in different ways, such as:

  • online
  • by telephone
  • by email
  • in person

You may be able to make your payment by:

  • cash
  • cheque
  • money order
  • debit card
  • credit card
  • prepaid card

If you use a credit card to send money, the transaction may be considered a cash advance.

This can make it much more expensive to send money, since:

  • there is no interest-free period for cash advances
  • interest is charged right away with these transactions
  • the interest rate is usually higher than for regular credit card purchases

Find out how interest is applied to cash advances and understand other credit card fees.

Get a confirmation the transfer is complete

Ask how you can confirm that the transfer was completed and the money was delivered. Check to see if there is any kind of protection or guarantee.

Always get a receipt and a transaction number for the money you send. This way you can trace the remittance if you need to.

Cost of sending money transfer

Before you choose a money transfer service to send money, think about the costs. 

Fees 

Information on fees 

Banks and other federally regulated financial institutions in Canada must tell you how much they will charge you to sending money abroad. This fee does not include any charges that might apply in the country where the money will be received.

Fees can make it expensive to send money to another country. Shop around and compare fees.

The amount you'll pay in fees may be very different from one business or financial institution to another. Some businesses and financial institutions charge a flat fee for sending money. Others may charge different fees depending on the amount you send.

Fees may also be different depending on the payment method.

In some cases, there may be a discount for repeat business. Some businesses may also offer a reduced rate if you send a large amount of money.

If there is a financial institution with locations in both Canada and the country where you want to send money, check if it charges less for transferring money.

Exchange rate

Some businesses make a profit on money transfers by charging a higher than usual exchange rate. Ask about the exchange rate and compare it to the rate of other currency exchange businesses to confirm if it's reasonable.

Changes in the exchange rate can also affect the amount the recipient will receive.

Ask if the amount the recipient will receive depends on the exchange rate:

  • when you pay for the transfer
  • when the recipient collects the money

Amount of time it takes for a money transfer to get to its destination

The amount of time it takes for the money to arrive may vary from a few minutes to a few days.

You may have the option of sending money faster, but this service usually costs more. Consider if paying more for faster delivery is worth it.

Cost to receive a money transfer

The person you're sending the money to (the recipient) may have to pay a fee or tax to collect the money. These fees are on top of the fees you paid to send the money.

If you transfer money using a prepaid card, the recipient may have to pay fees to use it.

Find out more about prepaid card fees.

Collecting the money transfer

Make sure the recipient can collect the money. For example, it may not be practical if the person can't collect the money at a location close to where the recipient lives.

The recipient may also need to provide identification to collect the money.

Making a complaint about a money transfer service

Problems can occur with money transfers. For example, it may take a long time for the money to arrive. Make sure you know what steps to take and who to contact if there’s a problem.

Federally regulated financial institutions, such as banks, must have a complaint-handling process that you can follow to resolve your problem.

Find out the steps to take to make a complaint.

Other money transfer businesses may be provincially regulated.

Find a list of provincial and territorial regulators.

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