How to transfer large sums of money to and from Canada

Canada By Mitchell Steiman May 27, 2021

Knowing how to transfer large sums of money securely is important whenever you send money domestically or abroad to avoid fraud or other security issues. Whether you’re transferring large sums of money for rent, a mortgage payment, or to purchase something overseas, you need to know that your money is in good hands.

When transferring large amounts of money, there are a few helpful tips to ensure the process goes smoothly. Keep reading to learn what you need to initiate the transfer and the different international transfer options best suited to your needs.

Factors to consider when transferring large sums of money

If you’re wondering how to send large amounts of money, you likely have concerns about the process. A “large amount” is defined differently depending on the method for sending money, so check with your financial institution about limits.

Before transferring large sums of money between bank accounts, consider these factors:

Exchange rates

When sending money internationally, always check the current exchange rates. Exchange rates affect how much money your recipient will receive in their local currency.

For example, as of April 2021, if you send CAD 100 to India, your recipient will receive around INR 6,033. This is important to note as you consider the amount of money your recipient is requesting. If they need just 100 INR, you will need to transfer CAD 1.66.

Exchange rates are ever-changing, so always check the latest rates (you can do this online or conveniently in the Western Union money transfer app).

Fees and taxes

Depending on where you are transferring large sums of money, you may have to pay transfer fees or taxes. These charges depend on where you are sending money from, where you are sending money to, the method you are using to send the money, and any specific fees from the sending and receiving banks.

Before sending, it’s a good idea to determine all the possible fees and how they may vary depending on the above factors. Possible fees may include:

  • Transaction fees: The fee for transferring money, which can change depending on whether it’s a domestic or international transfer.
  • Receiving fees: Some financial institutions charge receiving fees, and some don’t. Check with the financial institution before initiating a transfer to see if they charge, and if so, how much.
  • Intermediary fees: If an intermediary bank is involved in the transfer, they may charge an additional fee.
  • Correspondent bank fees: Some banks overseas may change processing fees, which are deducted from the amount you are transferring.
  • Cancellation fees: If you cancel a transfer, you may be subject to cancellation fees depending on the terms set by the financial institution.

In Canada, you won’t need to pay gift or income tax on most types of money transfers from friends or family. However, if you’re sending or receiving money related to the sale of an asset, you may need to pay capital gains tax.

It’s not always easy to see fees upfront. But when you start sending money with Western Union, you’ll be able to get an estimate for the cost of your money transfer by simply filling out the fields in the send money form.

Security and regulations

Before transferring large sums of money, you need to make sure that the financial institution you are using is secure. We also recommend researching country-specific regulations related to sending large sums of money before making a transaction. For example, there is no legal limit on how much money can be transferred into Canada, but you must report any transfer that is over CAD 10,000 to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

Typically, this is the responsibility generally of the banks and money transfer companies, rather than individuals.

What do I need to transfer a large amount of money?

Before you initiate a money transfer, you will need a few pieces of key information. This will depend on where you are transferring the money and the method that you choose. You will likely need the receiver’s full name and bank information, whether you are sending bank-to-bank or using an international money transfer service.

If you live in Canada and are sending money overseas, you will typically need your receiver’s address. If you are sending money to Canada, you will typically need this information from your receiver:

  • Name
  • Bank institution number
  • Transit number
  • Account number

When transferring large sums, you might see references to international bank account numbers, or IBANs. These numbers refer to a type of coding system used to identify bank accounts overseas and they start with the country’s two-digit country code. Canadian banks don’t currently use IBANs, so you will need a BIC or SWIFT code instead.

7 methods to consider when transferring large amounts of money

When transferring a large amount of money, you have a few options depending on your needs. Here are a few of the most common:

1. Automated clearing house (ACH)

Automated clearing house (ACH) transactions are similar to money transfers in that they use a network of banks, but the difference is that you can transfer large amounts between bank accounts.

This means that to initiate this transfer, both parties must follow bank-specific instructions to ensure that everything is set up correctly. ACH transfers generally have lower fees but won’t work if both parties don’t have a participating bank account. Another difference is that the funds go through an intermediary clearing house in addition to the financial institution with which you initiated the transfer.

2. Bank-to-bank

Another method of transferring large amounts between banks is using a bank-to-bank transfer. For bank-to-bank transfers, all you need is the receiver’s bank account information, including the routing number if applicable. This type of transfer is quick but generally has a fee, depending on the institution.

3. Money transfer

Money transfers can be completed online and in-person and allow individuals to send large sums of money from one person to another. Money transfers utilize a network of domestic and international banks and the money is processed through that network. One of the advantages of a money transfer is that the money can clear almost immediately, depending on the details of your transfer. Domestic money transfers can take up to 24 hours, and international money transfers typically take between one and five business days.

There is a fee involved with money transfers, but they offer a high level of protection for your assets.

4. Cash-to-cash

If you need to transfer a large amount of cash, you can use a cash-to-cash transfer to drop off your money and have your recipient pick it up at their transfer center. Western Union agent locations are an example of a cash-to-cash transfer center. If you are initiating an international transfer, we can take your cash, convert it to the currency of your destination center, and organize a pick-up for your recipient at a Western Union agent location nearby.

5. Prepaid debit cards

Prepaid debit cards allow you to transfer large sums of money via a debit card, which your recipient can then use to withdraw the funds. They may also be able to use this pre-paid debit card to make a purchase just like with a normal debit card. Keep in mind that you may face an activation or monthly fee when choosing this option.

6. Foreign currency check

Just as how you can transfer money using checks domestically, you can use checks to transfer money internationally too. Foreign currency checks are checks that are issued from your account and sent to your receiver. They can then be cashed at your receiver’s local bank. The downside of using foreign currency checks is that they take longer than the other options listed here.

7. International money transfer service

If you’re wondering how to transfer large sums of money to or from Canada, international money transfer services are a great option—but always vet a company before you send money.

With an international money transfer service like Western Union, you can send money online, with the app, or in-person to over 200 countries and territories (while resting easy knowing your transfers are encrypted). You can also choose from several payout options, which makes it easy for your receiver to get their money in the way that’s convenient for them.

Send money with Western Union

The next time you need to send money from Canada, Western Union is here to help. With convenient ways to send money online, with the app, or from hundreds of thousands of agent locations worldwide, we make money transfer simple.

Ready to get started? Learn how to send money in person, online, or with our app from Canada in just a few steps. And for more information about using Western Union, view our frequently asked questions.

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