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

If you bank with Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and need to make an international bank transfer you might be wondering what your options are. This guide has you covered with all you need to know about RBC international money transfers and international wires, including the costs, rates, limits and delivery times.

RBC is a huge operation spread across almost 20 countries, and serving over 10 million customers in Canada alone. That doesn’t mean it’s always the best way to go 

if you’re sending an overseas transfer. Specialist services like Wise and OFX may be able to offer a cheaper, faster and more convenient option. More on that coming up.

Learn more

RBC international money transfer comparison

When you transfer money abroad with RBC there are a few different costs to consider:

  • Transfer fee - online transfers may have a relatively low transfer fee, but in branch services are pretty costly

  • Exchange rate markup - a percentage rolled up in the exchange rate - often the highest of all the fees you’ll pay 

  • SWIFT fees - intermediary fees paid to third parties involved in processing your transfer

To give an idea of how RBC 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 RBC and a few specialist services.

ProviderTotal costTransfer time
RBC10 CAD + exchange rate markup + any relevant intermediary bank fees

1 - 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

Royal Bank of Canada international money transfers up to 2,500 CAD/day can be made online for convenience. But for higher value payments you’ll need to visit a branch, and pay a far higher transfer fee. Whichever option you choose, you’ll also face an extra fee wrapped into the exchange rate, plus intermediary charges which can be deducted as the transfer is processed. This pushes up costs overall.

Specialist services like Wise and OFX tend to have charges which are easier to understand, and are also straightforward to use online and in-app.

Send money with Wise
Send money with OFX

RBC international transfer fees

You can send an RBC international payment online for a relatively low upfront fee, but only for sums of up to 2,500 CAD. For higher value payments you’ll need to make an international wire which comes with hefty charges and can only be arranged by visiting an RBC branch. Here’s what you need to know about RBC international remittance fees:

Transfer typeRBC international transfer fee 
International money transfer 

6 CAD - 13.50 CAD + exchange rate markup + any relevant intermediary bank fees

International wire transfer in branchFrom 45 CAD + exchange rate markup + any relevant intermediary bank fees
Receiving an international payment

Free to receive payments under 50 CAD 


17 CAD fee to receive higher value wire transfers

RBC exchange rate

When you send an international money transfer with a traditional bank, one of the highest overall fees can also be the trickiest to spot - the exchange rate markup. That’s an extra charge which is added into the exchange rate used. To see how much the cost is, you’ll have to compare the RBC international transfer exchange rate for your currency against the mid-market rate you can get from Google.

Bank exchange rate markups are often around 3%. Doesn’t sound too bad - but this can quickly push up costs, especially on higher value payments:

  • Sending 1,000 CAD - a 3% exchange rate markup adds 30 CAD to the total

  • Sending 5,000 CAD - a 3% exchange rate markup adds 150 CAD to the total

  • Sending 50,000 CAD - a 3% exchange rate markup adds 1,500 CAD to the total

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:

  • RBC: 10 CAD + exchange rate markup + any relevant intermediary bank fees 

  • Wise: 8.58 CAD

  • OFX: 15 CAD + exchange rate markup

  • WorldRemit: 3.99 CAD + exchange rate markup

RBC additional fees

RBC international payments are processed through the SWIFT network. This is a reliable process which has been in operation for over 50 years. However, it’s not cheap, as several banks can be involved in a single payment. Intermediary banks which help to process a transfer can deduct a service fee as the transfer passes through the network, meaning your recipient gets less than expected in the end.

RBC also has one other fee to watch out for - an extra 35 CAD charge if you try to arrange a wire transfer without the full details including SWIFT BIC code for your recipient. More on that later.

How long does a RBC international money transfer take

RBC international transfers usually arrive within about 5 working days. That's not likely to be the fastest service out there. Here are some comparisons with the providers we looked at earlier:

  • RBC: 1 - 5 working days 
  • Wise: 80% of payments arrive in 24 hours

  • 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 RBC

Pros:

  • Online or in branch options

  • Impressive global reach

  • Relatively low transfer fee for online transactions

Cons:

  • Exchange rate markups and SWIFT fees push up costs

  • In branch wire payments are expensive

  • Low online transfer limits

Instead of using Royal Bank of Canada 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 RBC

You can transfer money overseas with RBC online, via your mobile device, or in a branch. If you’re sending a payment using your mobile divide you’ll first need to register the recipient through the online banking service.

Here’s the core process for sending a payment through the RBC online banking service:

  • Log into your online banking

  • Open the Accounts Summary page

  • Under Quick Payments & Transfers, select International Money Transfer

  • Follow the on-screen prompts to add your recipient or select an existing recipient

  • Enter the payment amount and currency

  • Check everything over, confirm, and your money is on its way

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

You’ll be able to follow the online prompts which will tell you what information to enter to get your RBC payment moving. In most cases you can expect to need:

  • Beneficiary full name

  • Beneficiary bank account number or IBAN

  • Additional information based on the country - SWIFT/BIC code or ABA for example

It’s important to note that you may be charged up to 35 CAD extra if you don’t provide the full information for your payment, including the correct SWIFT code if required.

Transfer limits and available countries

Under RBC international transfer limits for online payments you can send up to 2,500 CAD per day. This total can be split into as many separate transactions as you like. Higher value transfers must be made by wire, which involves higher fees and can only be done in a branch.

You can send an RBC international money transfer to over 200 countries and territories worldwide.

Receiving money from abroad with RBC

To receive an international payment into your Royal Bank of Canada account, give the sender:

  • Your RBC account number

  • RBC Royal Bank institution number: 003

  • RBC Royal Bank Routing/ABA number (if funds coming from US): 021000021

  • RBC Royal Bank SWIFT BIC for all other international payments

  • Your RBC Royal Bank branch phone number, address and transit number

RBC SWIFT code

SWIFT/BIC codes are issued to most banks around the world which facilitate international transfers. They’re like postal codes, used to guide money from one bank to another - even if it’s being sent to a country on the other side of the world. To make sure your money arrives safely, give the sender the correct RBC SWIFT code - and don’t forget to use the right SWIFT code when sending your outward payment with RBC, or you could face extra charges.

The RBC SWIFT/BIC code is: ROYCCAT2

Conclusion

RBC international money transfers are reliable and familiar - but may not be the fastest or the cheapest way to make your payment. If your destination country is covered by an online specialist like Wise or OFX it’s worth comparing the costs and delivery times available - you might find you can save significantly, and get your payment where it needs to be quicker, too.

Send money with Wise
Send money with OFX

FAQ

How much does an RBC international transfer cost?

RBC international transfer fees are up to 13.50 CAD online, but from 45 CAD in a branch. Exchange rate markups and intermediary fees also apply.

How long does an RBC international money transfer take?

RBC international transfers can take up to 5 days to arrive.

How to transfer money internationally with RBC?

Send an RBC international transfer online by logging into online banking or for higher value payments you can send an international wire by visiting a branch.

By Ileana Ionescu
Updated August 22, 2022