The 6 Best International Payment Solutions For Canadian Businesses

By Heidi Unrau | Published on 01 Feb 2024

    Exploring the best international payment solutions is crucial for Canadian businesses aiming to streamline their global transactions. Outsourcing labour to countries with lower wages, access to talented professionals, and international trade are just some of the strategies Canadian businesses use to save on operating costs. But traditional international payment methods are clunky, complicated, and expensive. This guide highlights the top six platforms, offering faster, easier, and more cost-effective options for international payments, especially for Canadian-based businesses.

    International Payment Platform
    Best For
    Small to medium eCommerce businesses
    Smaller & infrequent international payments
    Large international payments over $10,000
    Businesses that want to adopt crypto
    Occaisional crypto transfers
    Global reach & security

    Vault

    Best international payment solution for small to medium sized eCommerce businesses

    Vault is a digital business banking platform that serves as an excellent international payment solution for businesses, especially for small to medium-sized businesses. Key features include multi-currency accounts, corporate cards, efficient bank transfers to over 200 countries and supports over 30 currencies, and offer competitive foreign exchange rates. Vault also integrates with popular accounting software for streamlined financial management.

    Features, Fees, and Benefits

    • Free business accounts
    • 0.35% currency exchange rate
    • Multi-currency accounts for CAD, USD, GBP, EUR
    • $10 to send international wires
    • Unlimited corporate cards that earn 1% cash back
    • Integrates with QuickBooks and Xero

    How fast is it?

    All international payment methods settle in 1 business day or less.

    Wise

    Wise (formerly Transferwise) provides one of the best exchange rates and minimal fees when sending money abroad and offers a business account with additional tools and features. Plus, Wise also issues a great multi-currency debit card with no conversion or annual fees.

    Features, Fees, and Benefits

    • $42 account opening fee
    • as low as 0.42% to send money
    • Free to receive money
    • Conversion rates as low as 0.42%
    • Lightning-fast transactions
    • 54 currencies supported
    • Over 70 countries supported
    • Batch payments feature
    • Integrates with QuickBooks

    How fast is it?

    The recipient will receive your money immediately if you make a Wise to Wise account transfer. If you pay to a bank account, 50% of transfers will also arrive immediately or within 1 hour.

    OFX

    OFX provides Canadian businesses with competitive exchange rates and transparent fees. What truly sets them apart is that transfers above $10,000 come without any additional charges — making OFX an ideal option for companies dealing in large international payments. To top it off, their user-friendly online platform and mobile app make transacting incredibly convenient.

    Features, Fees, and Benefits

    • $15 transaction fee for transactions below $10,000
    • No fees for $10,000+ transactions
    • Conversion rates lower than big banks
    • 115+ countries
    • 50+ currencies
    • Batch payments feature
    • Currency risk management tools
    • Forwards contacts and limit orders available
    • Great for larger transactions

    How fast is it?

    1-2 business days (3-5 business days for less popular currencies)

    SmartPay

    Best international payment solution for cypto friendly businesses

    SmartPay by Coinsmart uses crypto to provide a convenient international payment solution for businesses. This program integrates seamlessly with your existing business platform. You can instantly create invoices for customers to pay in crypto, which can be automatically converted into fiat and deposited into your business account. For accounts payable, SmartPay allows you to process thousands of payments to multiple recipients at the same time. Settlements are instant and can reach anyone in the world with a crypto wallet.

    Features, Fees, and Benefits

    • Transaction fees approx 1-1.5%
    • Crypto auto-converts to fiat to eliminate price volatility
    • Can instantly convert fiat into crypto and send anywhere in the world
    • Global reach
    • Easy invoicing
    • Mass payouts

    How fast is it?

    Near instant. Can be instant, depending on the cryptocurrency and network congestion.

    Bitbuy 

    BitBuy is a popular Canadian cryptocurrency exchange that offers an alternative international payment solution for businesses and individuals. The platform offers competitive fees and near-instant transaction settlements. With crypto, you can pay any person in the world who has a crypto wallet and the fees are significantly lower than traditional methods.

    Features, Fees, and Benefits

    • Free fiat deposits by eTransfer, Wire Transfer, and Crypto deposits
    • 2% fee to buy crypto
    • Fee to send crypto varies by coin and network congestion
    • 43 cryptocurrencies
    • Corporate accounts available

    How fast is it?

    Almost immediately, depending on the cryptocurrency you choose. You have to make a deposit to your account first to buy crypto, which will take up to 30 minutes additionally if you use Interac or up to 2 business days if you use Wire Transfer. 

    PayPal

    Best international payment solution for global reach and security

    PayPal is one of the earliest and most popular online international payment solutions, with over 435 million active user accounts. While they have much higher fees compared to other payment solutions on our list, they have numerous advantages, such as PayPal Protection, which allows you to receive a refund if the quality of eligible services and products is low. Plus, it’s available in more than 200 countries and even provides business loans for small businesses in Canada.

    Features, Fees, and Benefits

    • Conversion rates as low as 3%
    • Fees vary by destination country & currency
    • Mass payouts 2% of transaction to a maximum fee cap that varies by currency
    • 200+ countries
    • 25+ currencies
    • PayPal Protection 

    Speed

    • PayPal to PayPal account transfers — immediately.
    • PayPal to international bank account — 1-5 business days

    FAQs About International Payment Solutions for Canadian Businesses

    How do international payments work?

    Payment platforms and financial institutions process international payments. They will charge you additional fees, such as a currency conversion fee, if a recipient receives payment in another currency and other transaction fees. If you are transferring money from one bank account to another, this is usually done through a financial network, with SWIFT being the largest one. 

    Does PayPal charge for international payments?

    PayPal does indeed charge fees for international payments. If you send money by using your PayPal balance or a bank account, they will charge $2,99 if the recipient is in Europe or the United States. If you are paying with your credit card, you will be charged $2,99 + 2,90% + a fixed fee, which varies depending on the recipient’s currency. Plus, don’t forget about the 4% currency conversion rate. If the recipient is located in another country, you will pay $4,99 instead of $2,99.

    What are the methods of payment in international trade?

    When it comes to international trade, a few different payment methods are used. The most popular ones include letters of credit for both parties’ protection against non-fulfillment, documentary collections where banks act as go-betweens to receive and pass on payments, open accounts which require goods be shipped and received before paying the bill, plus advance payment is sometimes necessary when buyers have questionable trustworthiness.

    How to make a payment to an international bank account?

    Paying into an international bank account requires you to have specific information about the recipient — their full name, the bank’s details (name and address), and their SWIFT/BIC code. You’ll also need either their account number or IBAN for a successful payment transaction. You can make a transfer directly through your bank or payment platforms, such as Wise, Paypal, or OFX.

    What is the safest method of payment in international trade?

    The safest method of payment in international trade depends on whether you are a seller or a buyer. If you are a seller, then advance payment will be the safest option for you. If you are a buyer, an open account is the safest option for you. A letter of credit provides a win-win situation for both parties. The buyer’s bank offers assurance that they will pay out to the seller upon proof of meeting all requirements stated in their agreement, giving them peace of mind.

    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.