BMO international transfer: Fees and Rates Revealed [CA] 2022

Looking to learn more about making a BMO international bank transfer? You’re in the right place. This guide covers how to send money overseas with BMO, the BMO exchange rate and fees, and the available countries and currencies.

BMO is one of Canada’s Big 5 banks - and has been around for over 100 years. However, when it comes to sending an overseas transfer, BMO might not be your best bet. Specialist services like Wise and OFX may be able to offer a faster service, with lower overall fees.

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BMO international money transfer comparison

Before you transfer money abroad with BMO it’s important to know there are several different potential fees:

  • Transfer fee - upfront fee, paid to BMO - often the smallest charge levied

  • Exchange rate markup - a percentage rolled up in the exchange rate 

  • Third party fees - paid to other banks involved in processing your transfer through the SWIFT network

To give an idea of how BMO compares with other payment services, let’s look at an example. Here’s what you’d pay if you were sending a standard online transfer of 1,000 CAD to a USD denominated account, with BMO’s Global Money Transfer tool compared to a few specialist services.

ProviderTotal costTransfer time
BMO5 CAD + exchange rate markup + any applicable third party fees

2 - 5 working days

Wise8.58 CAD80% of payments arrive in 24 hours
OFX15 CAD + exchange rate markupMost transfers arrive within 24 hours
WorldRemit3.99 CAD + exchange rate markup90% of transfers are completed within the same day

BMO international money transfers made through the Global Money Transfer service have a pretty low upfront fee of 5 CAD. However, it’s useful to know you’ll also be paying an exchange rate markup which pushes up costs - and further fees may be deducted by intermediaries as the payment is processed. This can mean your recipient gets less than you’re expecting in the end.

Specialist services like Wise and OFX tend to have more transparent charges which can work out cheaper overall, and are also easy to use online and in-app.

BMO international transfer fees

There’s no BMO transfer fee for sending money overseas online with the Global Transfer service to accounts held by BMO Harris Bank in the United States, or if you have one of the following bank plans:

  • Premium Plan

  • Platinum Plan

  • Performance Plan under the NewStart® Program

  • Bank at Work

However, even if you’re covered by either of these fee waivers you’ll still need to pay the exchange rate markup, and any relevant third party costs will be deducted from the transfer amount while it’s being processed.

Here’s a full rundown of BMO’s standard international remittance fees:

Transfer typeBMO international transfer fee 
BMO Global Money Transfer (online)5 CAD + exchange rate markup + any applicable third party fees
Wire payment

0.2% of transfer value - minimum 15 CAD, maximum 125 CAD + exchange rate markup + 10 CAD communication charge + any applicable third party fees

Receiving an international payment14 CAD

BMO exchange rate

All international payments arranged through BMO will use the standard BMO exchange rate. That’s not necessarily the same as the mid-market exchange rate - which is the one you’ll see if you use a currency converter tool or a simple Google search. 

While banks buy currency themselves with the mid-market rate, they don’t normally pass this rate onto customers. Instead, they’ll add a markup to calculate the retail rate used when sending an international money transfer. Markups vary by currency but can be in the region of 3%. That doesn’t sound too bad, but quickly mounts up - here’s an example:

  • Sending 1,000 CAD - the exchange rate markup adds 30 CAD to the total

  • Sending 5,000 CAD - the exchange rate markup adds 150 CAD to the total

  • Sending 50,000 CAD - the exchange rate markup adds 1,500 CAD to the total

As you can see, the exchange rate markup can quickly become the highest fee you’ll pay - especially when sending higher value amounts.

Here’s a reminder of the total costs - including exchange rate markups - from the providers we looked at earlier. This is what you’ll pay with each if you set up your payment online and send 1,000 CAD to a USD denominated account:

  • BMO:  5 CAD + exchange rate markup + any applicable third party fees

  • Wise: 8.58 CAD

  • OFX: 15 CAD + exchange rate markup

  • WorldRemit: 3.99 CAD + exchange rate markup

BMO additional fees

BMO international money transfers are processed using the SWIFT network. This can mean some extra costs creep in, which are levied by intermediaries involved in processing the payment. Any charges are deducted as the payment passes through the SWIFT network, which can mean the sender gets less than you expect in the end.

It’s also worth knowing that Global Money Transfer transactions count toward the monthly transaction limit which is covered by your bank plan - that may mean fair usage costs apply if you go over your plan amount.

How long does a BMO international money transfer take

BMO international transfers tend to take up to 5 working days to arrive. That’s common with regular banks which process transfers through SWIFT. Specialist services can often get your money moving faster - here’s how they compare:

  • BMO: 2 - 5 working days 
  • Wise: 50% of payments are instant

  • OFX: most payments arrive within 24 hours

  • WorldRemit: 90% of transfers are completed within the same day

Pros and cons of transferring money abroad with BMO

Pros:

  • Send money online or in a branch

  • Low transfer fee for online payments

  • Send to over 50 countries and regions

Cons:

  • Exchange rates include a markup

  • SWIFT fees may apply

  • Deliver times are slow

Instead of using BMO, take a look at specialist online services like Wise or OFX, which may be able to offer an easier and faster online or in-app service.

How to make an international transfer with BMO

You can transfer money overseas with BMO online, via your mobile device, or in a branch. If you’re in a branch the service team will guide you through arranging your transfer - but higher fees will apply compared to sending your money online with the Global Money Transfer service. 

Here’s how to set up your payment on the BMO online and mobile banking service:

  • Sign into your BMO banking service

  • Select Pay & Transfer

  • Select Global Money Transfer

  • Enter the details of the recipient, currency and amount you want to send

  • Confirm and your money is on the way

What information do you need to make an international transfer with BMO?

When you arrange your international payment with BMO you will need:

  • Beneficiary full name

  • Beneficiary bank account number 

  • Beneficiary bank SWIFT code

  • Additional information based on the country - such as the recipient’s phone number, address or government issued ID

Transfer limits and available countries

BMO international transfer limits can vary depending on your account type. You’ll be able to send amounts from 100 CAD online, but you’ll need to check the applicable upper limit for your account by logging into online banking.

Here’s the full rundown of countries and regions served by BMO global money transfers:

  • Austria

  • Bangladesh

  • Belgium

  • Colombia

  • Cyprus

  • Czech

  • Denmark

  • Dominican Republic

  • Egypt

  • Estonia

  • Finland

  • France

  • Germany

  • Greece

  • Guatemala

  • Hong Kong (SAR)

  • India

  • Ireland

  • Israel

  • Italy

  • Jamaica

  • Japan

  • Kenya

  • Latvia

  • Lithuania

  • Luxembourg

  • Malta

  • Mexico

  • Monaco

  • Morocco

  • Netherlands

  • Philippines

  • Poland

  • Portugal

  • San Marino

  • Slovakia

  • Slovenia

  • South Africa

  • South Korea

  • Spain

  • Sri Lanka

  • Sweden

  • Thailand

  • Uganda

  • United Kingdom

  • USA

  • Vietnam

Receiving money from abroad with BMO

To receive an international payment into your BMO account, you’ll need to give the sender:

  • Your account number

  • Your BMO branch phone number, address and transit number

  • Your bank’s name: Bank of Montreal

  • BMO’s institution number: 001

  • The BMO SWIFT/BIC code

BMO SWIFT code

When you send or receive an international transfer you’ll usually be asked to use a SWIFT code. This is a unique identifier assigned to banks around the world which is used to guide payments to the right place - like a postal code for your international payment. Always remember to pass the BMO SWIFT/BIC code to anyone sending you a payment from overseas to avoid delays in receiving your money.

The BMO SWIFT/BIC code is: BOFMCAM2

Conclusion

BMO international money transfers can be made online, in the BMO mobile banking app or by visiting a branch. The cheapest and most convenient way to send money is online or in the app - but even then you’ll need to pay an extra fee rolled up into the exchange rate applied, plus any relevant third party charges.

Overall, you might find you’re better off choosing a specialist service like Wise or OFX instead of using your normal bank. Transfers are usually significantly faster, and can work out much cheaper, too. 

Send money with Wise
Send money with OFX

FAQ

How much does an BMO international transfer cost?

BMO international transfer fees when sending money online with the Global Money Transfer service are 5 CAD + exchange rate markup + any applicable third party fees. In branch payments cost more - 0.2% of transfer value (minimum 15 CAD, maximum 125 CAD) + exchange rate markup + 10 CAD communication charge + any applicable third party fees.

How long does an BMO international money transfer take?

BMO international transfers take 2 to 5 working days to arrive.

How to transfer money internationally with BMO?

Send an BMO international transfer online or on the go by logging into online banking or by visiting a branch.

By Ileana Ionescu
Updated August 22, 2022