Wise (previously Transferwise) will be the best option for transferring money from the UK to Canada for most transactions.
It is possible that for smaller transactions, a credit card withdrawal may be preferable. For more significant amounts, the services of a currency broker could provide savings.
Bitcoin (or other Cryptocurrencies) can also be an option for those who know the area.
The cost of transferring money by different methods (Exchange Rate £1.00 – $1.70321)
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What do you need to consider when transferring your money?
- The exchange rate: is the price of one currency in terms of another. It fluctuates daily, so checking the current rate before transferring money is essential.
- Fees: Most banks and transfer services charge a fee for transferring money overseas. This can range from a few dollars to several hundred, so factoring this into your calculations is essential.
- Transfer time: Most transfers take one to five business days, so you must plan ahead.
- Bank charges: Your bank may charge additional fees to get money to the company you use to make the transfer. Check this in advance.
It can’t be overemphasized how important the Exchange Rate is. This will generally make up the most significant cost of the transfer.
Fees are generally a much smaller part of the cost. As a rule, if you are offered NO EXCHANGE FEES, there is a good chance you will be
SCAMMED persuaded to do something not in your best interest.
The simplest way to see how much the transfer will cost will be is to ask how much you will receive in your account. This will ensure you can see past the companies that hide their fees in the exchange rate.
So what options are available for transferring money from the UK to Canada?
Often overlooked, your UK credit card could be the best option for transferring money to Canada for smaller sums.
The key is to ensure that you have a UK card that does not have an exchange rate spread when you spend on the card and, if possible, does not charge a fee for ATM withdrawals.
As of writing, the best options appear to be
- Barclaycard Rewards Visa
- Halifax Clarity Mastercard
- 118 118 Money Mastercard
The best way to “exchange” money with your credit card is to make purchases in Canada. With all three cards mentioned above, no cost will be incurred, and with the Barclaycard Rewards Visa, you will also get 0.25% back.
If you need to withdraw cash from an ATM, there will still be no cost, but you will be restricted to the Barclays daily limit of £300.
Foreign Exchange (Currency) Broker
Foreign Exchange Brokers are the “old school” method of transferring money. They can still be of use if transferring large sums of money. The top two players in the market are Moneycorp and Currencies Direct. We have used Moneycorp, and the service was acceptable. However, unless I am exchanging large sums, I would be unlikely to use an exchange again.
The main problems with them are ease of use and transparency. Calling for the rate and to place the order is often necessary. You are also never 100% sure what costs may be included and what other fees must be paid.
Bitcoin and other Crypto
I have bought and sold crypto but would not consider myself an expert. Using Bitcoin to transfer money from the UK to Canada is something I am currently considering and may try in the near future.
In terms of cost, I suspect that transferring money this way may be cheaper for any amount over approximately £500.
The process would be to:
- Buy Bitcoin with Sterling
- Sell the Bitcoin you have bought for Canadian Dollars
- Transfer the Canadian Dollars to a Canadian Bank Account
The risks of using Bitcoin are its volatility. It is quite possible that during the process of transferring, Bitcoin could move against you. Of course, it could also move in your favour.
It is also rather time-consuming and might not be worth the extra time.
High Street Banks
I shouldn’t really include these in a list of the best ways to transfer money. They are generally expensive. It is possible that if you are not comfortable with transferring money online, then they may have a slight edge for convenience.
So a big thumbs down to Banks.
Online Transfer Service
In the olden days transferring money was a chore. It would involve phone calls, trips to the bank, unexpected costs, and money mysteriously disappearing for weeks at a time.
But now we have online money transfer specialists. They are
There are many online transfer services currently available. Probably the two most well-known are Wise and CurrencyFair. We have accounts at both, but we have found the Wise service so good that we have not seen the need to try Currencyfair.
Why you should use Wise (previously Transferwise) for your transfers
We run an online business and use Wise two or three times a month to transfer Sterling and USD to our Canadian accounts. After using them for three years, we have not had a single problem with any transfers.
Today we received a payment from Amazon (writing this post reminded me I needed to make a transfer). So here is what happened
- 4.13 am MST sign on to Wise
- 4.17 am MST transfer is completed
- Wise tells me I will get my money in 11 hours.
- 1.49 pm Money received in my BMO account.
- £1175 transferred – Cost £4.52 0.385%
Fast, easy, and cheap.
The Wise credit card has also become available in Canada in the last few months. Another feature that makes this method of transfer so convenient.