What’s the cheapest way to transfer money internationally?

Need to send a payment from Canada? No matter where you’re sending funds to, you’ll want the cheapest way to transfer money internationally. Read on for all you need to know.

What is the cheapest way to send money from Canada?

It used to be the case that banks would be your only option if you wanted to send money internationally. However, there’s now plenty more choice on the market, with specialist international money transfer services offering fast, cheap ways to process overseas payments, often online and via apps.

Banks vs Online transfer Providers

You’ll need to compare a few different banks and online money transfer services to see which suits you best - here are a few key features of each to help you decide:

Banks:

  • You can often set up your payment online, by phone, or in person in a branch

  • Banks tend to support payments to a good range of countries and currencies

  • Payments are secure, familiar and reliable

  • Exchange rates usually include a markup, and transfer fees can be high

  • Delivery times may be 3 - 5 working days

Online transfer providers:

  • Open an account and make payments online or using a convenient app

  • Exchange rates may be better than those from banks, with transparent fees

  • Some payments arrive instantly, and average transfer times are usually among the best on the market

  • No in person service offered - support is usually provided by phone or text chat

  • You can’t usually pay in cash - bank transfers or card are more common

How can you find the cheapest money transfer option? 

The cheapest way to send your payment from Canada will depend on a range of factors, including where you’re sending money to, how you want to pay, how you’d like the funds to be collected and how quickly you need to transfer to arrive. However, specialist online and app money transfer services can often be the cheapest way to send money internationally, with better exchange rates and lower fees compared to traditional banks.

To find the cheapest money transfer option for your payment you’ll want to compare a few providers, looking at rates, fees and delivery times.

Find the cheapest provider for your transfer

What should you consider when transferring money abroad from Canada? 

When you’re transferring money abroad you’ll need to look at the overall cost of your payment - but also the speed, security and convenience of different providers.

Calculating the overall cost of transferring money abroad can be a bit trickier than it looks. Depending on the provider, you may come across different fee types:

  • Variable transfer fee - this may change based on how you fund the transfer. Paying via your online banking is usually cheapest, and credit cards typically the most costly
  • Exchange rate markup - this is a percentage fee added to the rate used to convert your funds, and can push up the overall price significantly
  • Third party costs - such as SWIFT fees or cash advance charges if you pay with a credit card

Factors which influence the cost of your transfer include where you’re sending money to, the value of the payment, how the transfer is received, and how fast you need it to be. 

Finding the best way to send your payment doesn’t need to be a headache. Check out our international money transfer pages for provider reviews and comparisons, which only feature safe, convenient and trusted providers which we’ve picked out just for you.

What app is the cheapest to send money from Canada? 

Sending money with an international payment app is a convenient option you can manage on the move. International money transfer services usually offer apps for convenience, with transfers set up in the app costing the same as it would to make the payment via the provider’s desktop site.

The cheapest app to send money will vary a bit depending on the details of your payment, and which services are available in your region. However, some great options to look at include:

Conclusion

When transferring money abroad, it's important to consider all of the associated costs in order to find the cheapest option. Comparing providers is the best way to ensure you're getting the most for your money. Additionally, many providers offer convenient apps which allow you to manage your payments on the go.

FAQ

Is it cheaper to transfer money internationally through PayPal?

PayPal is super easy and convenient for online shopping and domestic payments - but it’s usually a pretty expensive way to send international payments, with a transfer fee and currency conversion cost to take into consideration. 

PayPal’s fees do vary based on the type of account you hold and where you’re located - but to give an example from a recent comparison, if you were sending 1,000 USD to the UK your recipient may get almost 50 GBP more in the end if you use our top international money transfer provider, rather than PayPal. That’s nearly an extra 5% for no extra cost to you.

Can I send money abroad for free?

There are costs involved in processing international transfers, which means it’s not usually possible to send money abroad for free. Even when transfer services state they have no transfer fee, they’re probably adding a change into the exchange rate they use, to cover their costs and make sure they generate a profit.

Look for a provider which uses the mid-market exchange rate - usually the best rate available - and has low, transparent fees. Some providers even offer new customer promotions which may mean you pay reduced fees to try out their service.

What fees do I pay when sending money instantly?

Sending money instantly can cost more than making a standard transfer, it really depends on the provider you select, and the way you pay. 

Some providers offer an express service which can get your money moving faster. There may be a higher fee for this, and it’ll often be necessary to pay by cash or card. If you choose to pay with a credit card there may also be a cash advance fee from your own card issuer which pushes up the overall fee even more.

Most international money transfer services have a delivery estimate you can see before you confirm your payment, so comparing a few on cost and speed is the best way to get a good deal.