BMO international transfer: Fees and Rates Revealed [CA] 2023
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.
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.
|Provider||Total cost||Transfer time|
|BMO||5 CAD + exchange rate markup + any applicable third party fees||2 - 5 working days|
|Wise||8.58 CAD||80% of payments arrive in 24 hours|
|OFX||15 CAD + exchange rate markup||Most transfers arrive within 24 hours|
|WorldRemit||3.99 CAD + exchange rate markup||90% 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.
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:
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 type||BMO 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 payment||14 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
Send money online or in a branch
Low transfer fee for online payments
Send to over 50 countries and regions
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:
Hong Kong (SAR)
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
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.
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.
BMO international transfers take 2 to 5 working days to arrive.
Send an BMO international transfer online or on the go by logging into online banking or by visiting a branch.