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Published September 13, 2023
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How to Transfer Money in Canada

Need to send money to a person or business? Here are the fastest, easiest ways to transfer money in Canada.

Whether you’re looking to send money to a friend in Canada, a family member on the other side of the world, or your bank account at another institution, you have many options.

8 money transfer services

There are a variety of ways to transfer money between accounts at the same or at a different bank in Canada.

1. Interac e-transfers

Interac e-transfers are a form of electronic funds transfer facilitated by the online payment system, Interac. Payments are nearly instant, and the only information you need to send an Interac e-transfer is the recipient’s phone number or email address.

Financial institutions set limits on how much money you can send via an Interac e-transfer, so consult your bank or credit union if you need to send a large amount.

The process of sending an Interac e-transfer depends on your bank. After logging into your bank’s online platform or mobile app, look for a tab marked “send money” or “send an Interac e-transfer,” enter a recipient’s email address or phone number and the amount you’d like to send. If the recipient has auto-deposit enabled, the money is deposited immediately. Otherwise, you’ll need to create a security question the recipient will need to answer before they can access the funds.

Once the recipient successfully receives the funds, you may receive an email confirming the recipient accepted your Interac e-transfer.

How much does it cost? It’s free to receive an Interac e-transfer. Although many chequing accounts come with a number of free monthly e-transfers, your bank may charge you to send one. You can expect to pay up to $1.50 per transfer, according to NerdWallet analysis.

2. Wire transfers

Wire transfers are used to send money internationally or domestically. Some banks only allow wire transfers to the U.S. or a limited number of countries, so always make sure your recipient’s country is an option. Many banks don’t allow you to wire money online and require you to visit a branch, so check your bank’s policies.

To send a wire transfer, you’ll need to provide information about the recipient, including name, address, account number, routing information, SWIFT code, sometimes called a BIC code and possibly more.

How much does it cost? Wire transfer fees for sending and receiving vary by financial institution but typically range from $15 to $80.

3. Electronic funds transfers

Electronic funds transfers (EFTs), also called direct deposits, are used to send money online from one bank account to another. EFTs can be set up as recurring deposits, so they’re a practical option for those who want to automate bill payments or send money on a set schedule. Since an electronic funds transfer is quick, secure and easy to use — many employers use this service to pay their employees. 

EFTs can typically be sent through a bank’s online platform or mobile app. To facilitate an electronic funds transfer, the sender will need the following banking information from the recipient:

This information can often be found on a personal cheque, a voided cheque or a direct deposit form, which you can download from your online bank account.

How much does it cost? It’s free to receive an electronic funds transfer, but your bank may charge you to send one. Fees for sending EFTs vary by provider.

4. Money transfer apps

Money transfer apps like PayPal, Wise and Wealthsimple Cash App can be used to send and receive money electronically. However, both sender and recipient must have accounts on the platform to transfer funds.

How much does it cost? It depends on the platform. PayPal doesn’t charge fees to send or receive money domestically through your PayPal account. Wise generally doesn’t charge fees to receive money but charges a percentage-based fee for sending funds. The Wealthsimple Cash App charges no fees for sending or receiving money through the app.

5. Cheques

Paper cheques aren’t the most advanced money transfer option on the market, but this is a tried-and-true method for moving money from one bank account to another.

Cheque-writing privileges are a standard chequing account feature. That said, not all banks hand out personal cheques when you open an account. You may need to request paper cheques from your bank if you don’t already have some. 

To write a cheque, you need to fill out the date, the full name of the recipient, and the amount of money the cheque is for. Then, you sign the cheque to confirm its legitimacy.

You can also take out a certified cheque at a bank branch. Certified cheques are guaranteed by the issuing financial institution, which means your bank verifies that you have the money in your chequing account and puts a hold on the funds before issuing the cheque.

As electronic methods of transferring money become more popular, some banks have stopped offering certified cheques.

How much does it cost? Personalized paper cheques can typically be ordered through your bank, with prices that vary by cheque style. Certified cheques typically cost $10 to $20.

6. Bank drafts

When you take out a bank draft, funds are immediately withdrawn from your account and held in a reserve account. Like certified cheques, bank drafts are issued and guaranteed by financial institutions. They’re typically used to make large payments and are available in various currencies.

How much does it cost? Bank drafts typically cost less than $12.50.

7. Money orders

Money orders are a form of guaranteed payment that can be purchased from financial institutions and Canada Post outlets. Funds are guaranteed because the money is prepaid by the person sending the money order.

Unlike certified cheques and bank drafts, you don’t need to have a bank account to purchase a money order. So long as you have the money, you can get a money order — which is arguably a lot safer than sending and receiving cash, especially through the mail.

How much does it cost? Canada Post charges $8.50 per money order. Fees from financial institutions vary.

8. Pre-authorized debits

Pre-authorized debits (PADs) allow you to set up recurring, automatic payments in advance, so it’s best for ongoing transactions, like bills. When you set up a pre-authorized debit transaction, you give the biller permission to withdraw funds from your bank account.

To set up a PAD, you typically need to fill out a pre-authorized debit form. PADs can help you streamline and automate bill payments so you can “set it and forget it.” Pre-authorized debits are often used to pay mortgage payments, credit cards, insurance premiums and the like.

How much does it cost? The PAD service is free.

How to transfer money between your own bank accounts

If you’re transferring money between your own accounts at different banks, such as from an online-only bank to a brick-and-mortar bank, an electronic funds transfer will usually make the most sense.

  1. Link your bank accounts by adding one as an “external” bank account to the other. For example, if you want to send money from an online-only high-interest savings account (HISA) to a brick-and-mortar chequing account, you would add your chequing account as an external account to the HISA.
  2. Verify the link. The process usually just requires you to click a link that says something like “Add a bank account” or “link a bank account” and follow the steps, providing any necessary bank account numbers
  3. Transfer the money. Once the accounts are linked, you can send money back and forth between them electronically.

Transfers can take anywhere from 24 hours to eight business days, and there may be a hold on the funds, depending on the bank.

Usually, online-only banks do not charge a fee for this service, but there may be a limit on how much you can send in each transaction, so check with your financial institution. For example, EQ Bank has a limit of $30,000 for per outbound electronic funds transfers and $100,000 for per inbound transfers.

How to send money internationally

Money transfers may get a bit complicated when dealing with multiple currencies. But there are still numerous straightforward ways to transfer money internationally.

How to send money to the U.S. from Canada

To send or receive funds from our neighbours south of the border, consider an international money order.

International money order

An international money order, also called an international money transfer, works in much the same way as a domestic money order — you’re just sending funds to someone in the United States instead of someone in Canada.

Many Canadian banks allow clients to send international money orders online. To do so, log into your online account or mobile app, look for the “international transfer” option and follow the instructions.

How much does it cost? Transfer fees generally range from $1.99 to $10, depending on the bank and whether or not your account allows discounted global money transfers.

How to send money to India from Canada

In addition to international money orders, you can send money from Canada to India and many other countries through a money transfer service.

International money transfer apps

Money transfer platforms like PayPal can be used to send money across global borders. International money transfer fees range from $2.99 to $4.99. You’ll also have to factor in the cost of currency conversion rates, which may not be as favourable as your bank’s.

There are other international money transfer platforms, including:

  • MoneyGram can be used to send money to more than 200 countries with multiple delivery options. But, the service comes with a higher than normal fee.    
  • OFX offers global money transfer services to over 170 countries and 24 hour email and phone support, seven days a week. However, a major drawback is that OFX only accepts one payment option, which means you have to pay using your bank account.
  • Remitly facilitates money transfers in over 150 countries through a variety of payment and receiving methods. But, there may be a vast disparity in the fee structure for different countries.
  • Ria Money Transfer offers money transfer services to over 165 countries with a number of ways to send and receive funds. However, the availability of payment methods on the website and mobile app for your region may vary.
  • Western Union serves about 200 countries with over 500,000 physical locations, making cash payments accessible for most receivers. The downside of the service is the availability of payment and receiving options as well as transfer limit changes with regions.
  • Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, allows you to send money to over 70 countries at an affordable sending fee. Wise may not be a favourable option for non-tech-savvy people as well as those needing to send money to regions not included in the network.
  • WorldRemit offers money transfer to over 130 countries. However, the fees and estimated time of delivery depend on the receiving country and the method used for paying and receiving the funds.
  • XE Money Transfer can be used to transfer funds to over 130 countries. You cannot pay for your transfer by cash, cheques and bank drafts, but you can use your bank account to direct debit or wire transfer.

5 tips for transferring money

  1. Compare bank fees and currency conversion rates, which can significantly impact the cost of transferring money.
  2. Never send money to someone you don’t know. Never respond to emails requesting a transfer unless you know the person.
  3. Confirm when a transfer is complete.
  4. Ask about costs for expedited transfers. The time it takes to complete a transfer can range from minutes to days. It may be possible to rush a transfer, but it will likely cost more.
  5. Learn about e-transfer scams. Scams are not uncommon. If you have any doubts about sending money to someone, visit the Canadian government’s website for more information about popular scams and how to protect yourself. Canada’s Anti-Fraud website also shares helpful information.

Frequently asked questions about how to transfer money

How long does a wire transfer take?

Wire transfers can take two to five days, depending on your bank. Bank fees and limits on how much money you can send also vary by bank, though the fees usually range between $15 and $80.

How much money can I transfer in a day?

It depends on the transfer method. Interac e-transfers tend to have higher limits — some major banks let you send up to $3,000 per transfer within 24 hours and up to $10,000 within seven days. PayPal limits single transfers to $10,000 to $60,000, depending on the currency. Money orders are typically capped at $1,000.

How to transfer money between banks?

There are different ways to transfer money between banks: 

1. Interac e-transfer. 

2. Wire transfer. 

3. Electronic fund transfer. 

4. Money transfer apps. 

5. Cheque, bank draft or money order. 

6. Pre-authorized debit. 

Choose a method that’s best for you based on the amount, available services and your personal needs.


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