Send Money from Australia to Canada
Both the Australian and Canadian dollar are among the 10 most traded currencies in the world.
So, unsurprisingly, sending money from Australia to Canada is a fairly common money transfer corridor.
Whatever the reason you’re looking to transfer money to Canada, you’ve arrived at the best place for some expert guidance.
With so many providers to choose from, finding the one that best suits your needs is an important but difficult decision to make, as each boasts its own unique strengths.
To try and best summarise what you’re looking for, it’s a provider with a track record of facilitating secure, swift, and cost-effective international money transfers.
In our opinion this rules out one type of provider right away, as we strongly discourage the use of traditional Australian banks for overseas transfers.
Simply put, banks impose big exchange rate markups, high fixed fees and offer a limited product range.
Instead, this guide advocates choosing an online money transfer provider or currency broker.
All of our recommended providers consistently outperform Australian banks in terms of speed, cost and service.
However, it’s still valuable to understand the various types of providers in the market and where their strengths and weaknesses lie.
So let’s jump right in.
What options are available to transfer money abroad from Australia to Canada?
As we’ve said, AUD to CAD money transfers are fairly common and are driven by several factors.
Both nations are part of the commonwealth, so Canadian working holiday visas are popular amongst Aussies, many of whom are drawn to iconic Canadian destinations like Whistler.
Many choose to extend their stay and settle in nearby cities like Vancouver, meaning many Aussies have family in Canada and they’re looking to send their money overseas.
There is also a notable volume of commercial trade between the two countries. In 2022, Canadian exports to Australia grew by around 30% YoY, totalling 3.66 billion AUD.
Whatever the reason for your transfer, you have a lot of options at your disposal to get your funds from point A to B.
As people grow more comfortable with managing their funds online, Australians are now more open to exploring bank alternatives, in an effort to swerve the high fees imposed by the ‘big five’.
Let’s take a closer look at the types of money transfer companies, so you can start to narrow down your options in your search to find the cheapest way to send money from Australia to Canada.
Australian banks: Sure, they’re a convenient option since you’re already registered, but if you’re going down the traditional bank route, buckle up for a slow and pricey ride.
Most Aussie banks including the ‘big five’ are known for their hefty fees and poor exchange rates – we’re talking 2.5% to 4.5% above the mid-market rate.
Remittance companies: Think of companies like Western Union for speedy cash-in-hand options.
Just know that even the more budget-friendly Remittance companies like Remitly, still don’t match up cost-wise to our recommended money transfer providers.
In other words, only consider a remittance provider when there’s a specific need for your recipient to collect the funds in cash.
PayPal and e-wallets: No doubt PayPal is a hugely popular name in the digital payments industry, but not if you’re looking for cheap international transfers.
If both you and your beneficiary have a PayPal account, yes it’s an extremely convenient and quick option for an online money transfer, just be prepared to fork out 4-5% of the total transaction amount in fees. Ouch!
Online money transfer providers: We recommend choosing a specialist provider for a number of reasons, so let’s dive into the ‘why’.
The majority of leading companies levy lower fees and offer more competitive exchange rates, often beating banks and other alternatives by a considerable margin.
The true cost of sending money to Canada with a competitive online money transfer provider is usually no more than 2% of the transfer sum.
Looking to transfer large sums? Turn your attention toward a leading currency broker.
Currency Brokers: They often specialise in large transfers, and you’ll most often be appointed a personal currency specialist who will act as your dedicated account manager.
They’ll do everything from guiding you through the transfer process, to helping you leverage hedging tools and timing your trade to capitalise on favourable currency swings.
So, not only do you stand to make significant savings by choosing a currency broker, you’ll also receive a much better service.
Not bad right?
What is the cheapest way
Before you can calculate which provider offers the cheapest overseas transfers, you first need to understand the various expenses involved in transferring money from Australia to Canada.
So let’s break these down.
Transfer fees: These can be fixed or variable depending on the provider.
Banks typically impose a fixed fee, based on transfer method (in-branch, online, or over the phone), as well as the total send amount.
Australia’s ‘big five’ charge anywhere from $9 to $32 AUD for in-branch or over-the-phone transfers.
More recently, some of the banks have waived fees for in-app transfers, in an effort to reduce the gap with online money transfer providers.
On the other hand, you have specialist companies like ‘Wise’ that apply a variable transfer fee, which is based on the recipient’s country and the total funds being transferred.
Whilst this fee may often exceed a fixed transfer fee from a bank, Wise do not deduct any other expenses, so they often always work out as the cheapest provider for small transfers.
Currency brokers keep it simple and tend to charge no payment fees at all for personal customers.
Exchange rate markup: Almost all banks and money transfer providers add a margin on top of the mid-market AUD/CAD exchange rate.
The exception to this is providers like ‘Wise’ who offer overseas transfers at the mid market rate, in other words, they have a 0% FX markup and only charge a small transfer fee.
For most other providers, the FX markup is where they make the majority of their profits in international transfers.
Because the mid-market rate is rarely advertised by providers, the FX markup is considered somewhat of a concealed cost, as customers need to calculate it independently.
Typically, Australian banks will tack on an FX markup between 2.5% to 4.5%.
The providers recommended in this article offer far more cost-effective alternatives, with markups totaling less than 2%.
Most of the time they’re even cheaper.
Cost Saving Example
|Exchange rate markup
Figures correct as of December 2023
In this scenario, the smart decision to choose one of our recommended service providers, would save you almost $290 AUD on a $10,000 AUDCAD transfer – a wise choice indeed.
Believe it or not, some other major Australian banks offer less favourable exchange rates than ANZ, meaning you could end up saving more than $350 AUD on a 10K transfer!
Do bank alternatives have your attention now? Great!
So, it’s only fair we do our best to guide you towards the most cost effective way to get your money overseas.
Whilst there are some exceptions, the cheapest way to transfer money from Australia to Canada often comes down to how much you’re planning to send.
Bear in mind this rule acts as a great guide in the right direction but remember, there is often some nuance to consider.
For substantial transfers of $30,000 or more, we strongly advise choosing one of our recommended currency brokers.
As we mentioned before, having an expert guide you through the process can help you nail the perfect timing for your transfer to capitalise on favourable currency swings.
Not only that, you’ll also have access to other hedging products like ‘limit orders’ which let you set a desired rate at which you’d like to make a transfer, and your funds won’t be transferred until then.
That way you’re not confined to only making spot transfers, where you’re forced to accept the current rate at the time you lock in the transfer.
Send Payments also have a slick online platform for users to self manage spot transfers
For smaller transfers of less than $30,000, an online-only money transfer provider is likely the most cost-effective choice.
Though you’ll have to handle the transfer yourself, the upside is consistently locking in a top-notch exchange rate for smaller value transfers.
Plus, you dodge those hefty fees slapped on by banks and other pricey options like PayPal.
If both you and your recipient have an account with the same e-wallet provider, a company like PayPal offers instant transfers.
Just a heads up though, if you do run into any trouble, like a merchant claiming they didn’t get your funds, there’s no instant support on hand to assist.
That’s why, especially for large or time-sensitive transfers, we recommend working with a currency broker.
Providing you’re mindful of timezones, you can usually complete your transfer on the same day.
You’ll also have your account manager on hand to provide real-time tracking of your transfer, and assist should there be any complications.
But, if speed is the name of the game, providing your beneficiary is registered with the same online money transfer app, that’s your quickest route without a doubt.
Similar to many e-wallets, a ‘Wise account’ to ‘Wise account’ transfer is basically instant.
Wise transfers to another Wise account can complete in seconds
Sure, other providers might offer express services to send funds to Canada pronto, just be ready for a hefty fee to follow.
How do I know my money is safe?
We totally get it.
Ensuring that your money is secure should always be a high priority.
Sadly this results in a lot of Aussies defaulting to one of the ‘big five’ banks, not realising there are many legitimate bank alternatives that are equally as safe and well regulated.
Rest assured that our recommended companies only comprise of providers with extensive experience in transferring money to Canada.
All of whom are very well regulated, adhering to the strict regulations required to gain credible licences in Australia.
A great way to help measure a company’s reliability is their online reputation in the way of verified reviews.
A company with an excellent average score across several thousand reviews should give users confidence about their funds being safe.
These reviews also act as a great insight into a provider’s strengths and weaknesses, as you’re hearing a first hand account of customer experiences.
Almost ready to make your overseas transfer? Here’s how…
4 step process to transfer money from Australia to Canada
Compare your options and choose your provider
With a better understanding of the available choices, it’s time to whittle down your options to a shortlist of providers that you believe best meet your specific requirements.
From there, you’ll need to make the call on which firm offers the most comprehensive package for your transfer needs to send money to Canada.
You may even want to consider registering with a couple of providers from your shortlist, to get a first impression and feel for the company’s online platform and customer service.
Pay mind to a company’s terms and conditions, as it’s common for providers to impose minimum or maximum transfer limits.
Seeing as this could rule out certain providers, it’s important to check this before proceeding to the next step.
Register a new account with your provider
Whichever provider you choose, it will be necessary to complete a verification check.
To complete this step, often referred to as ‘Know Your Customer,’ you’ll need a form of official identification to hand.
This is often straightforward, as the majority of modern payment providers have technology to streamline the onboarding process, making it much quicker than registering with a newbank.
Format the details of your bank transfer
We can’t emphasise enough the importance of accurately recording your recipient’s name, contact information, and bank details.
Having taken the time to carefully choose the best provider, the last thing you’d want is to format your details incorrectly and have your funds sent to the wrong account.
The details you’ll need will include the beneficiary’s account number, the bank’s address, and its SWIFT code.
Canadian SWIFT codes are either 8 or 11 characters long, so double check the code you’ve been provided adds up.
Unique to money transfers to Canada, you’ll also need to provide the bank’s 5 digit transit number and institution number, which consists of 3 digits.
Confirm your transfer total to settle your deal
Ok you’re almost there!
Your final step is to confirm the total amount of AUD you’d like converting to CAD or, alternatively, the exact amount of CAD you want to arrive with your beneficiary.
Your provider will then offer an exchange rate, and at the time you formally agree to proceed, you’ll enter a legal contract to fulfil your AUD-CAD transfer.
In order to fund your transfer, your provider will supply the necessary payment details and options.
How to minimise costs for your international money transfer (AUD to CAD)
One of the biggest decisions to help you minimise costs is carefully choosing the right provider for your specific needs.
Like we said earlier, once you have your shortlist of providers, it’s worth reaching out for some comparative quotes.
That way, you’ll get a real time exchange rate and a first impression of the company’s customer service.
Even after you’ve chosen a provider, there’s more you can do to help minimise costs.
To secure the best AUD-CAD exchange rate, ask yourself ‘is now a good time to send money to Canada?’
Despite the AUD and CAD not experiencing severe levels of volatility against each other, it does still swing significantly from time to time.
In the past 5 years the AUD-CAD rate has been as high as 0.9981 and as low as 0.8289.
That’s a 20% swing!
More recently, between Oct 22 to Jan 23 the rate dropped by 10%, which is a lot in the short space of 3 months.
This is of particular importance to those looking to make a large overseas transfer.
A poorly timed trade can in some cases, turn out far more costly than choosing a provider with a high exchange rate markup.
That’s why we’re confident in recommending currency brokers as the smart choice to send money to Canada from Australia.
Yes they facilitate seamless transfers, but equally as valuable, if not more so, is the knowledge you’ll gain about past trends and current affairs, such as political unrest, that stand to affect your AUD to CAD transfer.
Working with your own dedicated currency expert to time your trade during a favourable currency swing could result in a huge saving!
They’ll also talk you through available hedging options like forward contracts or limit orders.
Whether you’re keen to guarantee today’s rate for a set period of time in the future, or if you’re happy to wait until your currency pair hits a desired rate, currency brokers have a product to meet your needs.
Looking to join the many thousands of Aussies who’ve made the permanent move to Canada?
Hedging services can help keep property purchases and overseas mortgages in budget, by keeping you from falling victim to an unexpected AUD-CAD currency swing.
You now have a much clearer idea of how to navigate the money transfer provider space.
With this knowledge, you’re ready to choose the best way to transfer money from Australia to Canada
Only you will know which company best meets your specific needs, based on how you’ve answered the questions posed throughout this article.
Regardless of your unique situation, if for whatever reason you’re sticking with a traditional bank, you’re almost certainly missing out.
Online transfer providers and currency brokers offer the easiest and the most cost effective way to send your money to Canada safely.