3 Smart Ways to Make International Money Transfers to Family

transferring money overseas to familyIt can be tricky working out the best way of making overseas money transfers to family. We’ve compiled this guide so you can learn about the various ways to send money to friends and family overseas, and decide which way is best for you and your circumstances.

What will we cover in this article?

We’ve all found ourselves needing to help our loved ones at one time or another, and sometimes this help is financial. If your family is overseas, this can become difficult and it can be overwhelming.

We’ve put together a short article to help you decide. Here we will explore the different ways to pay money overseas:

  • Credit or Debit card
  • Paying into a bank account using a Canadian bank
  • Using dedicated currency providers

Using a credit or debit card

You can use your credit or debit card to transfer money overseas, but usually, this incurs higher costs along with a higher exchange rate. There are companies that will provide a service to allow you do this of course, as listed below:


Their minimum online transfer is $250CAD.

Western Union

No minimum.


No minimum. They accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express.

Because they use percentages rather than fees, it can be costly. Paypal is great if you are transferring $200CAD or less, and is a lot faster and convenient that a lot of other companies. Do look at the fees and charges before completing a transaction.

Cash Pick-up

Not to worry! Some people don’t have bank accounts, and sometimes there are occasions where friends or family members can’t access their accounts from where they are. MoneyGram and Western Union both offer the ability to pick up the cash sent via them at over 350,000 locations worldwide.

Paying into a bank account using a Canadian bank

Each bank has different charges to send money abroad. Using your bank account might provide ease and convenience, but it is one of the more expensive ways to send funds overseas. The big banks in Canada are as follows:

Royal Bank of Canada

You need to be registered via your Internet banking and have a cheque or savings account with RBC to be able to transfer money overseas, so do check this first.

Royal Bank of Canada charge a flat fee of $13.50CAD per transfer, and you can transfer up to $2,500CAD per day. This is open to an increase if you’re eligible.

Find out more about Royal Bank of Canada here.


Type of Transfer Transfer Fee
Internet Banking or Direct Online $13.50CAD
Phone or Branch $13.50CAD

Bank of Nova Scotia

You must be registered for Internet banking to be able to transfer money internationally. You can pay via Internet banking or in a branch.

Bank of Nova Scotia uses Western Union to make international transfers. You can transfer up to $1,000CAD online with Scotia Bank and up to $7,500CAD in a branch. The fee remains the same.

Find out more about the Bank of Nova Scotia here.


Type of Transfer Transfer Fee
Internet Banking or Direct Online $9CAD + 1%
 Branch $9CAD + 1%

Bank of Montreal

You’ll need to have an existing account with Bank of Montreal and be registered with online banking in order to use their transfer services if you’re looking at sending money to family overseas.

Bank of Montreal also uses Western Union to make wire transfers internationally. So the same fees as Bank of Nova Scotia apply.

To find out more about Bank of Montreal, you can visit their website.

The fees:

Type of Transfer Transfer Fee  
Internet Banking or Direct Online $9CAD + 1%
Branch $9CAD + 1%

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

CIBC offers international transfers to their existing customers who old an account and use internet banking.

Aside from their exchange rate, CIBC boasts that they do not charge a transfer fee and transfers are generally made within 3 business days.

You can find out more about CIBC on their website, here.

The fees:

Type of Transfer Transfer Fee
Internet Banking or Direct Online Nil
 Branch Nil
  • TIP: Note that some countries vary in what you need to include with your international payment. While Canada and the USA use your recipients account number rather than an IBAN (International Bank Account Number) code, the United Kingdom requires an IBAN code that you will need to acquire from the bank you’re sending the funds to.

Using Dedicated Currency Providers

Currency providers act as an intermediary between you and your recipient. Like your banks or other companies, you take into consideration the additional costs: transaction fee and exchange rate. You will however likely get the best exchange rate going through these providers and the fees are considerably less than companies such as MoneyGram, and your banks.

Like your bank, you will need to set up an account if you wish to transfer money through them. You would be given an exchange rate live from that day, and would need the recipient’s bank details. Once confirmed, you’re good to go.

Some companies that offer this are:

Need some help?

If you want to talk to someone about your situation, call us on 1800 004 930.

We also offer free personalised advice via phone, email or even face-to-face if it all seems a bit overwhelming. Get in contact to arrange a chat with one of our local consultants, you’ll be surprised by what’s out there.

So whether you’re an importer paying a supplier in a foreign currency, an expat sending money home, or a holidaymaker looking for the best deal on Travel Money, avoid the hassle of shopping around and get in touch today.

You can use our comparison table to compare the rates and fees of different currency transfer providers through our comparison table, here.

Case Study

After Fred’s sister moves to London to complete her Master’s degree, Fred spots the opportunity to buy her old laptop from her. She gives Fred a sibling-special deal and asks for Fred to simply send her $150CAD to her for it – this will help fund a few beers at the local pub for a few nights at least! Fred agrees and decides to do it through his bank. As he banks with Bank of Nova Scotia, he knows they can make the transfer quickly with Western Union. As he’s already registered for Internet Banking, Fred completes the transaction quickly and easily, and lets his sister know it will be her within 1-2 business days.

You can read our article about PayPal here.

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