Making an International Wire Transfer

Situations will often arise where you’ll need to send money overseas, or you’ll need it sent to you, when you’re working, travelling or living around the world. Cash, cheques, bank drafts and money orders are a few examples of traditional ways to send money abroad. These options may work but certainly are not convenient as they’re slow, carry risk and may not even work depending on the country you’re in. There is a way to transfer money in a way that is quick, efficient and secure to use: an international wire transfer. An international wire transfer will allow you to send hundreds, to thousands the cost of o hundreds of thousands of dollars in one transaction, allow you to exchange the currency as well.

The cost of international transfer for currency has continued to drop over the years as more competition enters the market. Banks aren’t the only option for international wire transfer, as other financial institutions exist like PayPal, Western Union, and MoneyGram, along with independent brokers allowing you to send money. One such company exists to provide the cheapest, safest and easiest international wire transfers in Canada; Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange.

Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange offers a variety of different currency exchange services that includes sending money overseas. With KBFX you get the best international wire transfers in Canada, as we provide convenient services and the best currency exchange rates in Canada.

If you’re looking to buy a home overseas, not only can we exchange currency for you, we can transfer funds directly to the seller for you, keeping track of your records, providing you with the best currency exchange rates in Canada and long-term service. Not only can make the initial transfer, but we can continue to make monthly and annual payments for you, ensuring you always get the best currency exchange rates in Canada.

Banks add a very large markup to their services, including their currency exchange rates and the cost of their international wire transfers. It’s expensive, and really adds up when you’re dealing with thousands of dollars. But, with so many options out there, you don’t have to stick to the incredibly high rates and fees that the banks charge. SWIFT transfers are the main way you make international wire transfers, and there are several options to do so. These options include online international bank transfers, in-branch international bank transfers and choosing an alternative financial institution. Knowing these options, and the fees associated with them can make the difference in how much you spend and who you choose to use for your international wire transfer.


Despite the name, swift transfers aren’t actually fast, but they are regularly used as SWIFT is the worldwide standard for cross-country money transfers. The SWIFT network works with banks around the world, including some banks that don’t have a direct connection, to allow as many countries around the world to access their system.

Even if there is no direct connection, you can send your money through multiple banks and countries to get your money where it needs to go. It’s common to have as many as three banks you need to transfer through, adding fees for each one, meaning that SWIFT can get quite pricey to send between certain countries.

Upon joining, each bank is given a specific code, between 8 and 11 characters, that allows users and customers to find them. With these distinct codes, SWIFT controls the network and communication between each of the banks, managing every transaction.

Remember, just because SWIFT transfers are the standard, it doesn’t make them the only or best option for international wire transfers. They’re slow, taking up to 5 business days to complete and can come with a variety of unexpected fees. 3 to 5 banks may be needed to complete your transfer, and each one would charge a fee. Then, there are the exchange rates to consider too, which could cost you money multiple times if it needs to be exchanged.

SWIFT transfers can be useful, and it’s good to know what they’re all about, but if you want a faster and less expensive option there are other institutions out there like Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange. We can provide a fast and easy international wire transfer, along with the best currency exchange rates in Canada. We make the process simple and efficient to complete your international wire transfer with KBFX.


1.Online Bank Transfer

Depending on the bank you use, you may have the option of staying home (or at the office) and doing your international wire transfer online. If you want to use your home bank for an online international wire transfer, be sure to double check that your bank offers them so that you don’t have to go in-person.

Step 1: Get to the Wire Transfer Page

To start, you’ll want to find the wire transfer page on your particular bank’s online banking page. Log in and look for the wire transfer page, there may be a button on the toolbar for it, and if not you should be able to find it in the transactions section.

If you still can’t find it, simply Google your bank’s name and wire transfer together and it should be one of the first pages available. If that doesn’t work, then your last resort should be to call customer service and ask them for help. If they do provide online international wire transfer, then they’ll help you find it.

Step 2: Confirm your Transfer Limit

From there, you’ll want to make sure you know how much you can transfer. Often the online transfer limit is pre-set and will prevent you from simply surpassing it online. If your transaction is less than the limit, there’s no issue, but if you need to make a transfer above that limit you’ll want to give your bank a call to have them approve it.

Be aware they will likely need to verify your identity with some security questions, and possibly with a verification code sent to your phone or email. Once they’ve verified it’s you making the request, they should be able to override the limit for you, and allow you to make the transfer you need.

Step 3: Fill Out Recipient’s Information

The next step from there is to begin the transfer by filling out the appropriate details. You’ll start by providing the information for the person you’re sending the funds to, so the SWIFT network knows where to send the money.

First up you’ll need the name and address of the receiver’s bank.

Next up is the receiver’s name, address and bank account type. This may be a chequing account, savings, money market, investment account and more!

From there, you’ll require their bank account number, which may be listed as an International Bank Account Number, or IBAN. This information is usually easily available through online banking, or by contacting the bank directly.

The next thing you’ll need is their SWIFT code. This will tell the network the exact bank to send to and communicate to the system where to go. You may able to get this by directly contacting the bank with their name and account number, or you can use a SWIFT code finger tool online. Hopefully, your receiver will just have that information available already.

Step 4: Transaction Amount

By default, the local currency of the receiver should be chosen, but be sure to double check and change it if necessary. You’ll want to make sure it’s in their currency in order to be sure they’re getting the amount they need. If you try to do the exchange yourself, you may be off even slightly, which can make a big difference for higher amounts. Also, if it ends up being sent in an unsupported currency, the entire transaction may be cancelled.

Step 5: Fees

To start, your bank will have its own fee that usually ranges anywhere from  $40 to $80 or more, though it’s usually closer to the lower amount. The receiver’s bank may charge a fee as well. This is where the earlier note of multiple banks may come into play. If your transfer has to go through multiple banks, each one may wind up charging a fee, which can leave you with 5 or 6 different processing fees, including your own. These fees can add up really fast, so be sure to plan accordingly, knowing that your transfer may cost a lot more than your receiver is actually getting.

Step 6: Transfer Time

Once the transaction is complete, you should receive an estimated transfer time from your bank. Some banks will give you an estimate before you even begin, but not all do. Your bank will track the status and should be able to provide you with updates.

The average time for a SWIFT transfer is 1 to 3 business days, but a lot goes into determining that. When making your transfer, think about what day you’re making the transfer, what time of day you’re doing it and the particular time zone of the receiver. If the bank needs to go through several different banks, then that will increase the time as well.

2.In-Person Bank Wire Transfer

Whether it’s by choice or your bank doesn’t allow online international wire transfers, then you may decide to go into the bank to do your international wire transfer. If that’s the case, knowing exactly what you need to do and bring will make the process as easy and fast as possible. Be sure to confirm your bank allows in-person and proceed with the following:

Step 1: Banking Details

To start, you’ll definitely want to be sure you have all the appropriate information required for your transaction. That includes your name and the bank account you’re transferring from, along with the name and address of the receiver’s bank. You’ll also want their name, address and the kind of bank account they have, whether it’s a chequing account, savings account or other.

Naturally, you’ll need the receiver’s account number or International Bank Account Number depending on how their bank formats it. The recipient should be able to easily access the information and pass it along to you for the transfer. Then, you’ll also want to get their SWIFT code. This is what the SWIFT network and banks use to map out where the money is going to make sure it arrives. If they don’t have the information on hand, there are online SWIFT code finders online that you can use to find it yourself.

Step 2: Transaction Amount and Currency Exchange

From there, you’ll need to decide whether you’re exchanging the currency within the international wire transfer process. By default, it uses goes to the local currency, but depending on the bank there may be other options. You’ll want to be sure as it affects both how much you’re sending and how much they’re receiving.

Step 3: Fees

Last up it’s the dreaded fees. Your bank will generally charge a fee anywhere from $40 to about $80 depending on the transaction.  From there, the receiving bank will likely charge a fee as well, meaning if it has to route through multiple banks, there could be multiple charges as well. Once everything is paid and completed, you’ll be told the approximate length of the transfer, and then you’re done!

Option 3: Alternate Transfer Providers

Despite their common use, there are other options for international wire transfers than just the major Canadian banks. In fact, many of these other options, like PayPal and Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange, provide faster, easier and cheaper ways to transfer money by utilizing the power of the internet. In the case of PayPal and us at KBFX, we’ve established long histories of reliability and a proven track-record of speed and accuracy.

With Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange, not only will you get a fast and easy international wire transfer, but you’ll also get the best currency exchange rates in Canada.  This means you’ll maximize your dollar and save significantly more on your international wire transfer than you would by using the bank and a SWIFT wire transfer.


Since 1998 PayPal has been providing a reliable, secure and easy process for online payments, transactions and more, including the ability to transfer money overseas. Depending on the type of transaction, PayPal may no fee at all or a small percentage fee of about 2.9%. This varies on the receiver’s local currency and allows you to transfer from your PayPal balance or via your debit card, credit card or a combination of the balance and a card.

Wiring money to a country other than the United States (or domestically within Canada) has a combination of a percentage fee and a fixed fee depending on the country and currency. You can find all this information online on PayPal’s website, and the benefit of PayPal is there are never hidden fees. You’ll know what you’re paying for before finalizing the transfer, and once it’s paid that’s it. The fees you’ll pay with PayPal are usually significantly less with PayPal than with your local bank. However, where you may feel the financial sting with PayPal is in its currency exchange rates.

The worth of every currency around the world is constantly fluctuating, and a mid-market exchange rate exists to determine what the actual worth of the currency is. However, this isn’t the rate that PayPal, banks or other financial institutions provide. Instead, a markup is added, usually based on a chosen percentage, that these financial institutions keep and take as profit. For example, the banks usually add a markup of about 3%, which for large transactions can mean the difference of thousands of dollars. That’s where Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange excels, because we provide the best currency exchange rates in Canada, meaning you’ll spend significantly less transferring with us.

For PayPal. Their markup is usually very high as well and is why many don’t like to use PayPal if they need to exchange high amounts because it could cost a lot more than they anticipated. Every option and financial institution comes with their own pros and cons, and it’s ultimately up to you to decide what works best for you and your needs.

Western Union

Western Union was founded in 1851, and while it originally started out sending telegrams, it has a long history and reputation for sending money overseas. It’s one of the most commonly used sources for international wire transfers, as it’s available in 200 countries around the world, in 130 different currencies.

One of the reasons Western Union is so commonly used is because it’s cheap, generally charging around $10 to transfer from a debit card or credit card to a bank account. For transfers directly to a Western Union account, the fees are usually around $5. It’s the incredibly cheap fees that make so many choose Western Union for their international wire transfers. However, the important thing to note is not all major banks in every country is compatible, meaning you may be unable to use Western Union for certain transactions.

In regard to speed, Western Union can either be incredibly slow or unbelievably fast it all depends on where you’re sending the money to. If you’re transferring it directly to someone’s bank account, they wait time is usually around 4-8 business days. That may not be ideal for your timeline, but if you’re sending the funds for cash pickup at a Western Union Branch, the transfer is near instant.

It may seem too good to be true that your international wire transfer with Western Union could be as little as $5. Well, remember the note about markups on exchange rates? That’s where Western Union really makes its money. Western Union adds a massive markup, sometimes as much as 6%, which is double even the huge markup of the bank. If you’re transferring $50, you may not care about that little a markup, but if you’re transferring thousands of dollars or more, that’s a huge difference in price for you.

When making a transfer, you should always be able to see the total amount of the transfer before you finalize it. Make sure you double check it, and make sure you’re ok with how much you’re spending as there is an option you can choose to get cheap fees and the best currency exchange rates in Canada: Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange.

Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange

At Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange we pride ourselves on providing a variety of different services for international wire transfers, and all of them come with the best currency exchange rates in Canada. Whether you’re sending money to a family member, buying property, making another big purchase or anything else, you’ll always get our best rate guarantee with KBFX.

We work with major banks and financial institutions around the world, giving us access to a plethora of different options to provide you with the cheapest options. We’re based entirely online, which gives us the benefit of having significantly fewer expenses and a very low overhead. From there we give our savings back to you, our amazing customers, with the best currency exchange rates in Canada.


The markup on an exchange rate is where a lot of financial institutions that offer international wire transfers, and other services with currency exchange, make their money. Even just a 1 or 2% difference is significant, and it adds up fast. A good thing you can do is the mid-market rate easily, to see exactly how much each provider is adding to their rates via a markup.

Getting the mid-market rate is as simple as searching for it on Google and makes comparing different exchange providers a little easier. We’re confident this process will show you that Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange makes us the best option for international wire transfers as you’ll always get the best currency exchange rates in Canada; our best rates guarantee that we’ll have certain assurances.

By Victor | June 29, 2018 | International Money Transfer | 0 comments

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