Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

November 08, 2011 12:02 ET

Sending Money Abroad: What You Need to Know

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 8, 2011) - Today, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (ACFC) released information for anyone who wants to send remittances, or money to someone in another country. Sending money to someone in another country: what you need to consider can help consumers better understand the costs, complications and options of money transfer services.

In Canada, most people sending money to other countries go through private firms, sometimes called "money transfer companies." This type of service is available in many post offices, grocery stores, foreign exchange bureaus, travel agencies, cheque-cashing services and other businesses. Banks, credit unions and cooperative banks also offer money transfer services.

Costs for money transfer services can be high. "It can be frustrating for consumers to discover that the amount they send from Canada is not the same as the amount the recipient gets," explains FCAC Commissioner Ursula Menke. "This is why it is important to take the time to find out, to ask questions and to make sure you fully understand all of the costs a transfer of funds can involve."

Before sending money, make sure you check out the following factors:

  • How much will the transaction cost you?
    Ask what the total cost will be to avoid surprises and paying more than you expected. The exchange rate for changing currency is another cost to consider.
  • How much money will the person in the other country receive?
    In addition to the costs you will have to pay, the beneficiary (the person to whom you are sending the money) may also have to pay costs or fees to receive the money.
  • Is there a financial institution that operates in Canada and in the country where you want to send the money?
    If there is, find out from the institution in question whether it offers a cheaper money transfer service than other institutions do.
  • Does the money transfer company have a good reputation?
    Make sure the company is trustworthy before handing over your money. If you are not familiar with the company offering the service, ask the Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus about it—or ask relatives, friends or members of the community about their experience.

Ask before you buy

Find out whether you can get a discount on the fees for repeat business—if you don't ask, you won't get anything! Some businesses may also offer reduced rates for sending large sums.

Costs can vary considerably from one company or bank to another (often ranging from 3 percent to 25 percent or more), and may also depend on the country to which the money is being transferred. Don't hesitate to shop around to get the best service and price.

About FCAC

With educational materials and interactive tools, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) provides objective information about financial products and services to help Canadians increase their financial knowledge and confidence in managing their personal finances. FCAC informs consumers about their rights and responsibilities when dealing with banks and federally regulated trust, loan and insurance companies. FCAC also makes sure that federally regulated financial institutions, payment card network operators and external complaints bodies comply with legislation and industry commitments intended to protect consumers.

You can reach us through the FCAC Consumer Services Centre by calling toll-free 1-866-461-3222 (TTY: 613-947-7771 or 1-866-914-6097) or by visiting our website:

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