9 Best Ways to Send Money Abroad from Canada

By Heidi Unrau | Published on 03 Nov 2023

Coins pouring out of a phone to reach another phone in another part of the world

To send money abroad from Canada without stress and hidden fees, ditch the bank. Instead, consider digital platforms and alternative providers like Wise, OFX, WorldRemit, and others. Even cryptocurrency is a great way to move money around the world on the cheap. These methods can offer considerable savings and unique features to meet various needs and preferences. But it’s crucial to compare the fees, exchange rates, and transfer times of these services to find the most affordable and accessible option for you. Here’s everything you need to know about the best ways to send money abroad from Canada.

At a Glance: Best Ways to Send Money Abroad from Canada

Service ProviderBest For
WiseReal Exchange Rate & Transparent Fees
OFXTransfers Over $10,000
RemitlyCash Pick Up in Various Countries
WorldRemitMobile Wallet Delivery in a Wide Variety of Countries
PaysendLow Fixed Fees
Cryptocurrency ExchangesNear Instant Transfers & Low Fees
MoneyGramSpeed & Number of Destination Countries
PayPalOnline Payments
Western UnionPhysical Locations

Wise (formerly TransferWise): Best for Real Exchange Rate & Transparent Fees

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Fee typeFee valueTimeline
Sending transfer fee0.5% – 2.5%Card: Usually instant
Intermediary bank feeNoneBanks: 1-3 business days; sometimes more, 80% of transfers occur within 24h
Exchange rate markupReal exchange rate
Recipient transfer feeNone

Known as TransferWise until 2021, Wise is one of the world’s most popular money transfer solutions. Wise has its own payment network, which allows it to provide cheaper and faster international money transfers compared to the payment system used by traditional banks. With Wise, you can send money abroad from Canada to over 160 countries directly to the recipient’s bank account. The platform supports ACH, Wire, and SWIFT transfers.

Transfer times on Wise vary by currency and destination country. In some situations, bank transfers can take longer because money is only moved during banking hours. For example, a bank transfer will likely last longer if the recipient is in a country where there’s a national holiday.

A good thing about Wise is that it provides a simple and transparent fee structure. For example, when you enter the amount you want to send or the amount you wish the recipient to receive, Wise will show you the fees, exchange rates, and estimated arrival time.

Better yet, receiving money does not entail fees in most situations, except when receiving US dollars by SWIFT or domestic wires, which cost $4.14 per transaction. Learn more about Wise in our full review.

OFX (formerly UKForex): Best for Large Transfers Over $10,000

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OFX is an international payment and money transfer service designed to make it easier and more cost-efficient for individuals and businesses to send or receive payments in foreign currencies. It offers competitive exchange rates, no fees on transfers over $10,000 CAD, same-day payments in some currencies, and different options depending on how quickly you need funds to arrive. With OFX, sending money between countries is convenient, secure and fast.

Some handy features include the ability to set up notifications that alert you when the market reaches your desired exchange rate, the ability to set up future transfers that automatically send when the market hits your desired rate, and the ability to lock in a current rate to apply to a future transfer.

OFX doesn’t post customer fees on the site. You need to create an account and log in to see how much your transfer will cost. You’ll be given an estimate based on the current market rate, how much money you want to transfer, how often you transfer money, and where you’re transferring money.

Remitly: Best for Cash Pick Up in Over 50 Countries

Best way to send money abroad from Canada if you want cash pick up service in a wide range of destination countries
$0 – $499.99Express fee: $4.99
Economy Fee: 2.99
4 banking hours
3 to 5 business days
$500 or moreExpress Fee: 4.99
Economy Fee: $0.00
4 banking hours
3 to 5 business days
Exchange rate markupVaries. About 35% of the total fee comes from the exchange rate margin

Remitly is a good option for sending money abroad fast at a relatively low cost. With Remitly, you can send money from Canada and several other countries to over 50 countries worldwide.

You can send money only with Remitly via bank transfer, credit card, or debit card. You can send up to $999 per day without financial verification or over $6,000 per day if you justify the source of the funds. The recipients can retrieve from their bank account, a digital wallet, or in-person pick-up.

When sending money with Remitly, one needs to pay special attention to the recipient’s currency. For example, Remitly may charge additional fees if you send money to a recipient in a country that does not have USD as the national currency, but the recipient’s account is USD.

In addition, those sending money from Canada need to be aware that they will be charged a processing fee if the transfer is funded with a credit card or a bank account. These fees depend on the credit card company or the bank, not Remitly.

Transfer fees vary by the amount of money being sent, the recipient’s location, payment method, transfer method, and currency. The following table provides more information about fees and transfer times. Because the fees vary by country, we will use one example: sending money from Canada to the Philippines.

WorldRemit: Best for Mobile Wallet Delivery in Over 130 Countries

best way to send money abroad from Canada for mobile wallet delivery in over 130 Countries
Receive methodFeeTimeline
Cash pickup$7.99 + hidden exchange rate feesLess than 3 minutes
Airtime top up$0 + hidden exchange rate feesLess than 10 minutes

WorldRemit is yet another relatively popular solution for sending money abroad. The company provides a global network of cash pickup locations in over 130 countries and multiple options for sending and receiving money. Like in the case of Remitly, the platform’s fees are hidden mainly in the exchange rates.

When you send money from Canada with WorldRemit, you can choose several payout methods, including bank deposit, cash pickup, mobile money, and airtime top-up – which allows the recipient to make calls or send SMS text messages.

WorldRemit does not have the most transparent transfer fees. How much you will pay will depend on where you are sending money, how much you are sending, and the chosen payout method. For example, when sending an airtime top-up, some countries apply taxes that will lower the amount of money the recipient will get. When this is the case, WorldRemit will let you know before completing the transfer.

The company does not disclose its exchange rate margin. The average transfer duration is a few minutes for cash pickup and airtime top-up and 1 business day for bank transfers. The following table provides an example of how much you pay if you send CAD 100 from Canada to Botswana. Learn more with this in-depth WorldRemit review.

Paysend: Best for Low Fixed Fees

Funding methodPayout methodTimelineFee
Credit/debit card
Paysend linkDepends on the payout method selected by the recipientCAD 3
Bank account1 or more business days

Paysend is a payment provider which allows you to send money from Canada to over 170 countries for only CAD 3. Like much of its competition, Paysend allows you to fund your international transfer with debit/credit cards. In addition, Paysend provides a digital wallet service. Payout methods include Paysend link, debit/credit card, and bank account.

One inconvenience to many users is that Paysend only allows sending a relatively small amount of money every six months, and you can only increase this limit by verifying your information, which can take some time. Without verifying your identity, you can send up to a maximum of CAD 1,000 every six months.

To confirm your personal details and increase your spending limit to $5,000, you must provide your passport, national identity card, or driving license. To increase your transfer limits to $10,000, you will also need to give the company proof of address, such as a utility bill or bank account statement. Finally, to increase your limit above $10,000, you will need to provide information on the source of your funds, such as an employer payslip.

The Paysend link is the best option to send money when you are unsure how the recipient would like to receive the money. Once you send a money transfer with this option, the recipient will see the transfer on their phone and be asked to select how they want to receive the money (e.g., bank account, card).

Unlike many competitors, Paysend provides fixed fees, meaning that you don’t pay more or less in fees depending on the amount of money you send. Nevertheless, Paysend is not transparent about its exchange rates, meaning your final payment value will still be influenced by how much you send.

When sending money to a recipient’s card, payments are processed instantly, and the money is available within minutes. Like always, bank transfers may take up to several business days. The table below provides additional details on transfer methods and timelines.

Cryptocurrency Exchange: Best for Near Instant Transfers & Potentially Lowest Fees

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A newer solution for sending money abroad is through a cryptocurrency exchange. As you might already know, cryptocurrencies are digital assets that, like traditional fiat currencies, can be exchanged for goods and services. Besides being sometimes cheaper than conventional money transfer solutions, cryptocurrency transfers are typically instant, and, in many cases, there are no limits to how much money you can send.

One of the reasons cryptocurrency transfers can be cheap is that there are no intermediaries fees. In addition, transferring the same cryptocurrency from one wallet to another means you don’t have to pay foreign exchange rates. Some crypto platforms will allow you to transfer cryptocurrencies for free, while others will charge a (usually) small fee.

If you want to send cryptocurrency abroad and you don’t yet have a crypto wallet, you will need to find a platform that will allow you to exchange fiat (e.g., CAD) for cryptocurrency. Once you have crypto, you can transfer it to a crypto wallet.

While transferring cryptocurrencies between crypto wallets is typically free from additional platform charges, you will often pay a network fee. Network fees are typically determined by the blockchain network and can fluctuate due to factors such as network congestion, but are typically quite low.

Generally, cryptocurrency exchanges charge between 0% and 1.5% per trade. The costs depend, among other factors, on whether you’re a buyer (maker) or a seller (taker).

Whether sending money abroad in the form of cryptocurrency will help you save money or not will depend, to a large extent, on the fees you will pay. The table below presents the transaction fees from some of the best crypto exchange platforms in Canada.

Platform NameTransaction Fees
BitbuyFee rates range between 0% to 1.5% for both makers and takers
NewtonThere are no direct trading fees; you pay a price spread that is up to 0.70%
NDAX0.2% fee for both makers and takers
NetcoinsFlat fee of 0.5%

MoneyGram: Best for Fast Transfers to Over 200 Countries

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MoneyGram is the second largest money-transfer provider in the world (after Western Union), covering over 200 countries. Its solutions for receiving and sending money include cash and, in some places, phone reloads.

If you want to use MoneyGram to send money abroad, you can do so through the platform’s website or mobile app in more than 20 countries. Money transfers can be paid directly from your bank or debit/credit card.

Depending on the location of the receiver, they may be able to receive money directly in their bank, prepaid card, or mobile wallet. Cash can be retrieved at any MoneyGram location.

MoneyGram is considered one of the most expensive ways to send money abroad because it tends to charge higher fees and a higher markup on the mid-market exchange rate than other platforms. You can take a closer look at MoneyGram’s fees and transfer timeline in the table below.

PayPal: Best for Online Payments

Transaction typeFees by RegionTimeline
Sending international personal transactionsEurope I, Europe II, Northern Europe, and the United States:
– CAD 2.99 for PayPal balance/bank account transactions
– CAD 2.99 + 2.90% + fixed fee for card transactions 
Other markets:
– CAD 4.99 for PayPal balance/bank account transactions
– CAD 4.99 + 2.90% + fixed fee for card transactions 
Usually instant
Receiving personal transactionsNo fee if no currency conversion is involved or fixed currency-based feeUsually instant
Withdrawing moneyStandard withdrawal: No fee when no currency conversion is involved 
Instant withdrawal:1.75% of the amount transferred 
– 1-3 business days for standard withdrawal
– Approx. 30 minutes for instant withdrawal

PayPal is a digital payment service used to send and receive money, including internationally. Individuals typically use PayPal to send or receive money from people they know, while businesses use PayPal to receive money from national and international customers. PayPal allows sending and receiving money in over 100 currencies, holding balances in 25, and withdrawing funds in over 50.

You do not need to provide banking information to send or receive money on PayPal, as the company acts as an intermediary between two PayPal accounts. For recipients, this means it is unnecessary to provide financial information to senders; all they need to do is share the email address or phone number associated with their PayPal account.

Similarly, making a payment to a business that accepts PayPal does not require providing them with any financial information; they will only get to know the customer’s email address, phone number, and physical address.

PayPal’s fee structure is quite complex. For example, there are no fees for sending money to friends or family, but you will pay a 2.9% transaction fee plus a fixed currency-based fee if you pay with a credit card or Visa Debit. The following table illustrates some of the platform’s fees for international transfers.

Western Union: Best for Accessible Physical Locations

Best way to send money abroad from Canada for people who want accessible physical locations
Payment methodReceiving methodTimeline
Online bank account paymentBank account: $0
Cash pickup: $7
Bank account: 0 – 4 business days
Cash pickup: 0-3 business days
In-store paymentBank account: Varies
Cash pickup: $7
Bank account: 1 business day
Cash pickup: Minutes
Debit card paymentBank account: $0
Cash pickup: $15
Bank account: 1 business day
Cash pickup: Minutes
Credit cardBank account: $0 + credit card fee
Cash pickup: $15 + credit card fee
Bank account: 1 business day
Cash pickup: Minutes

Western Union is one of the most well-known international money transfer companies. This payment solution can be used for online transactions and in-cash transfers allowing you to send money abroad to over 200 countries.

Transfers with Western Union are almost instant but can be expensive, as the fee for each transfer is at least $4.99. In addition, Western Union provides less competitive exchange rates, as it makes a profit on the margin between the rate it offers to its customers and the mid-market exchange rate.

Western Union is still one of the best options for international money transfers when sending money to someone who lives in a country not supported by alternatives such as Wise, does not have a bank account, and/or only wants to receive cash payments.

Western Union transfer fees vary by country, currency, payment method, and receiving method, among other factors. The table below provides some fee examples and transfer timelines by transfer method.

Bottom line: Sending money abroad from Canada has never been easier

With so many payment solutions available, sending money abroad from Canada has never been easier. On the other hand, the existence of so many options can make selecting a payment system overwhelming. When deciding how to send money, you may want to use the following criteria:

1) Find a payment solution that you can use to send money and that the recipient can use to receive money.

2) Once you have a few compatible payment solutions in mind, select the one that offers the best fees and/or speed, depending on your needs. You also need to be mindful of currency exchange rates. When you send money abroad, you’re essentially exchanging currency in Canada first. So you need to shop around for the best exchange rates too.

Heidi Unrau is a senior finance journalist at Hardbacon. She studied Economics at the University of Winnipeg, where she fell in love with all-things-finance. At 25, she kicked-off her financial career in retail banking as a teller. She quickly progressed to become a Credit Analyst and then Private Lender. This hands-on industry experience uniquely positions her to provide expert insight on loans, credit scores, credit cards, debt, and banking services. She has been featured in publications such as WealthRocket, Scary Mommy, Credello, and Plooto. When she's not chasing after her two little boys, you'll find her hiding in the car listening to the Freakonomics podcast, or binge-watching financial crime documentaries with a bowl of ice cream. Fun Fact: Heidi has lived in five different provinces across Canada and her blood type is coffee.