If you’ve just moved to Canada, you probably still have a bank account with money in it back in your home country. Once you’ve settled down, you want to bring that money with you. There are a few options for doing this, and some of them can be expensive. Learn more about your options and what you need to watch out for.
Transferring Money: The Basics
The first thing you need to know is your annual limitation of funds you can transfer out. You can find this information form at your home country bank. Once that amount is known you can proceed with the rest of the process.
There’s always a Point A and a Point B when sending money to Canada. In most cases, both Point A and Point B can either be a physical location where you send or pickup money, or it can be a bank account. In general, transferring from bank account to bank account is the most convenient method of transferring money.
Depending on the system used, a money transfer can be almost instantaneous, or it could take up to a week for the funds to arrive. This is an important consideration when you’re thinking about how to send your money. If you don’t need the money right away, you might be able to save on the cost of sending by selecting a service that has a longer time frame.
Transferring Money: The Cost
There’s almost always a cost associated with moving your money to Canada. When you’re transferring large sums of money, you need to be hyper-aware of these costs because you could end up paying too much.
The first cost associated with money transfers is the conversion rate. This is the rate that you get when converting your money from the home currency to Canadian currency. You can look up the current rates online, but you won’t find those exact rates through any company that’s going to convert your currency because they always build in a little bit extra for profit.
In general, the more convenient it is to exchange your currency, the worse the conversion rates are. For instance, currency exchange shops in airports or in tourist areas tend to have poor conversion rates. If you were to take your cash directly to a bank, you’d probably get a better rate (though you’d likely need to have an account at the bank).
The other cost to watch out for is the service fee. This is the cost of sending your money, and there’s wide variation. Bank transfers are generally quite expensive, typically costing well over $50. Online transfers tend to be less expensive. Many offer services for less than $10 a transfer.
Transferring Money: Banks vs. Money Transfer Services
You can usually transfer money from your bank account to another bank account by walking into the bank and initiating the transfer. As we mentioned, this can be one of the more expensive methods, but it’s also the most traditional way of sending money, so a lot of people feel more comfortable doing it this way.
An alternative is using a money transfer service. Western Union, Paypal, or Money Gram are some of the most well-known companies that do this, but there are newer players in the market, such as World Remit, TransferWise, or Paysera. These services tend to be cheaper, and they can often send money more quickly. Make sure you choose a company with high ratings and be sure to check out fees and exchange rates before you make a decision.
Some of the Best Methods of Moving Money to Canada
First of all, you can usually access the money in an account in a different country by using the ATM machine. To do this, your foreign bank card has to have the proper marking as the Canadian bank machine.
If the bank from your home country has a relationship with a Canadian bank, you may not even have to pay an ATM fee to withdraw the cash. This method usually has the most favourable exchange rate, but your bank may have a limit on how much you can withdraw each day. If you have plenty of time and aren’t charged a fee for these withdrawals, the best way to transfer your money may be to withdraw the maximum allowable amount on a daily basis, then deposit this money into your Canadian account.
If you plan to travel to your home country in the near future, you may also be able to get favourable terms by carrying cash — or a cashier’s cheque to be safer — into the country. If you’re travelling with less than $10,000, you don’t have to declare it at customs.
If that’s too risky for you and/or you need to transfer a lot of money quickly, it’s probably best to use a money transfer service. Check out some of the top players to compare exchange rates and fees. Since rates can vary based on the country of origin, you may want to ask any others you might know from your home country who live in Canada how they transfer their money.
While you do need to go through some steps to get your money into Canada, if you pay careful attention to the amount that companies are charging for their service, you can get a good deal and access your funds quickly.