Author, Andrew Gibson
To transfer CAD to GBP, you can use either a bank or a money transfer specialist.
It takes around 2-4 working days for your money to arrive.
The true cost is a combination of fees and exchange rates, and depends on the size of your transfer.
I’ll explain how the process works and how you can avoid high charges.
Step 1: Register as a customer
All new customers need to register to comply with anti-money laundering rules.
It’s essentially an identification check.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take long.
You need the usual stuff – name, address, date of birth. You might also be asked to provide a photo or copy of your passport or driver’s licence.
This step only has to be done once.
Step 2: Get an exchange rate
When you transfer Canadian Dollars to Pounds Sterling, it is the CAD to GBP exchange rate that matters.
The CAD/GBP rate changes every few seconds.
Your bank or money transfer company will quote you a current rate.
You then decide whether to go ahead or not.
If you are happy to proceed, the rate will be locked-in for you.
Step 3: Send in your Canadian Dollars
Before any money is converted, your bank or money transfer company will need to receive your Canadian Dollars.
A point to note is that if you use a bank, they will need your Canadian Dollars in your account before they lock-in a rate.
Whereas, if you use a money transfer company, you can secure a rate before you send in your money.
A money transfer service company will provide you with the bank details of their Canadian Dollar client account. This will be a safeguarded account.
Step 4: Your CAD is converted to GBP and sent out
Once your Canadian Dollars are received by your bank or money transfer company, they will convert them into British Pounds (GBP) at the exchange rate previously agreed.
Your Pounds will then be sent to the UK bank account nominated by you.
How long will it take?
You should allow 2-4 working days for your funds to transfer from Canada to the UK and clear into your UK bank account.
The actual money conversion process (from CAD to GBP) is quick – it takes minutes.
But banks take a few days to clear funds that come from abroad.
Some companies promise the money will be there the next day, and when it isn’t, it causes customers unnecessary stress.
The true costs explained
A lot of people just search Google for the fees when they transfer money abroad.
If only if were that simple.
The true cost of transferring CAD to GBP is a combination of fees and exchange rates.
If you are transferring a small amount, the fees can be nasty as they tend to be a fixed amount.
Whereas, if you are sending a large amount, the exchange rate tends to be the more important charge.
We’ll take a look at both below.
International Wire Fees
In Canada and the US, the big banks tend to use the term “wire transfers” when you move money abroad.
In the UK, the term “money transfers” is more commonly used.
It’s all the same thing.
If you use your bank to transfer money from Canada to the UK, you will be charged a fixed fee irrespective of the sum involved.
Here are the fees charged by three of the largest Canadian banks:
- Royal Bank of Canada: $13.50
- Scotiabank: $1.99
- TD Bank: $40
Please note – you may incur other fees too.
For example a ‘correspondent bank fee’.
This is where another bank also collects a fee for helping your bank facilitate the transfer.
Also, if you amend your transfer or make any error, expect another fee for your troubles.
The only real way to avoid bank fees is to bypass the banks.
Some money transfer companies, such as ourselves, don’t charge any fees.
Exchange rates (and why they matter)
Exchange rates are by no means standardised.
A bank or money transfer company set their own exchange rates.
Much like a shop, they will add a mark-up or ‘margin’ to their wholesale cost.
This can be difficult to work out as exchange rates are always on the move and different companies have different providers.
But you can figure it out if you have access to wholesale rates and a calculator to hand.
Our research found that the exchange rate margin added by the big Canadian banks ranged between 2.6% and 3.0%.
In my opinion, that’s on the high side.
Let’s look at an example:
Say you want to convert C$120,000 into Pounds Sterling and send it to your UK bank account.
Your bank charges you 2.8% to convert your money.
That works out at C$3,360 in exchange rate costs.
It’s why getting a great exchange rate should be your priority.
Money transfer companies are more competitive than the banks – otherwise they wouldn’t exist.
The thing to remember is you are not beholden to your bank. It’s your money.
Choosing a money transfer company
Choosing a money transfer company can be confusing.
On the surface, they might all sound the same.
But there are some key differences.
These days, a lot of the names you see around are really just ‘apps’.
They might sound funky and friendly, but you are basically given a do-it-yourself platform.
In this space, the bigger names are PayPal, Transferwise, Revolut and WorldRemit.
You need to register yourself, enter all the payment and recipient information, and choose when to exchange your money. The only support is via webchat or email.
They suit some customers, but not others.
The money transfer apps are popular with micropayments (people sending regular amounts to family and friends), and online sellers who need to process a lot of small payments.
People sending large amounts often find money transfer apps have shortcomings.
I know I wouldn’t.
- What if you get the payment details wrong?
- Or if your money goes missing?
- How will you know if it’s the right time to exchange your money?
In my experience, people that are sending larger sums prefer the reassurance and expertise that comes from human help.
If you need to send a large chunk of your savings internationally, I doubt you are going to risk using an app you’ve downloaded on your phone.
I know I wouldn’t.
As I said, it depends what you’re looking to do.
Don’t be sucked in by the rates you see online
You can get ‘real-time exchange rates’ from all sorts of places these days.
FX portals, comparison sites, even Google, will give you a rate.
But here’s the thing…
Instead, what you are seeing are ‘interbank rates’.
Interbank rates are the rates used by banks to trade with each other – they’re like a wholesale rate.
To put that into context, even large corporations, that buy and sell massive quantities of currencies, don’t trade at interbank rates.
Unfortunately, this important point is hidden most of the time in disclaimers.
Now here’s the sneaky bit…
A lot of free websites use their wholesale rates as a teaser to lure in customers.
They make money by referring business and get paid a commission, or they have their own in-house service they’re directing you to.
You think you’re getting a great rate but find out later that their customer rates are vastly different to what you initially saw.
It’s a common ploy.
If you need to transfe CAD to GBP, it’s best to get a genuine quote from a bank or money transfer specialist before you commit to anything.
That way, you will avoid any unpleasant surprises and make firm plans with your money.
Getting the best CAD to GBP exchange rate
Exchange rates are always on the move.
It makes it tricky to know when to exchange your money.
The CAD to GBP rate can have major moves.
You can see just how much the rate has fluctuated in the last 10 years.
Peaks and troughs are a common event in foreign exchange.
Over a period of years, the movements tend to become larger. But even over a few days or weeks, you can have swings of 2%-3%.
When it comes to exchange rates, even the small moves matter.
By way of example; on a $150,000 transfer of CAD to GBP, just a 3% adverse move in the rate would cost you an extra C$4,500.
If you are unaccustomed to currency markets, you may not be confident in tracking the CAD/GBP rate.
It’s why it can be useful to speak to someone who is familiar with influential news and events and is monitoring exchange rates continuously.
By working within your timeframe, you could discuss target levels to aim for.
In my view, that’s a lot better than just leaving things to chance.
Who are we?
Key Currency is a leading money transfer specialist.
By understanding your exact requirements, we can work with you to achieve a better exchange rate.
Importantly, we don’t push you onto a trading platform and make you do all the work.
Unlike a money transfer ‘app’, we provide you with a service. All our customers are allocated an account manager who will take care of the entire process for you.
As a company, we are open and transparent. We don’t hide behind generic jargon or a faceless ‘app’.
The names, faces and backgrounds of all our team of people are shown on our website.
You have the peace of mind knowing that Key Currency is an FCA regulated Authorised Payment Institution (No. 753989), and as such, all money transfers are conducted through safeguarded client accounts.
We have attained a 5-Star “excellent” customer rating on the review website Trustpilot; the highest rating available.
To make a no-obligation enquiry, please request a quote below.