Bank fees on wire transfers
Thread poster: Arianne Farah

Arianne Farah  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:18
Member (2008)
English to French
Feb 21, 2017


I know the subject has been discussed ad nauseam in other threads for other jurisdictions, but does anyone know of a bank in Canada who doesn't charge wire transfers fees (for receiving them, mind you) on a per-wire basis? For example, is there a bank that offers a 50$ monthly fee that includes all transactions, or a bank that waives them if you leave a certain amount ($3,000 or $5,000) in your bank account as is the case for regular transaction fees? I've taken on a few new clients lately who only pay by wire and I'm looking at 5-6 wires a month... $1000 a year for wire fees seems to be quite steep.


Eric Stone
Local time: 18:18
Chinese to English
PNC Feb 21, 2017

It looks like PNC has a branch in Canada. I had to look into it recently, and at least for domestic transfers I think its like US$3.00 per transfer.

Otherwise, maybe Western Union?


Marinus Vesseur  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:18
English to Dutch
+ ...
Interac E-transfer Feb 21, 2017

If the clients are Canadian, you could request payment via e-transfer. It's only national, there are limitations and your client may not want to bother with the hassle, but the fees are low.

International transfers are going to cost you, no matter what. The US is somewhat of an exception. There are Canadian banks that offer bank accounts with an account in the US attached. You can get paid to your US account and transfer to your Canadian account for free.

I have a bunch of German clients, so I have a German bank account as well. That way, I can let the money accumulate and wire it over when the amount is large enough in relation to the fees.


- Marinus


Ewa Olszowa  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:18
Polish to English
+ ...
Check the banks Feb 21, 2017

I think you need to check bank by bank to see how much they charge (in personal accounts on average $15 per transaction, RBC has $0 if incoming amount is less than $50), and maybe work out some preferential rates. Maybe the business accounts have some other rates or packages for incoming foreign transfers.
Otherwise you may try to split the cost with the payer or include in the translation cost.


Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Foreign banks Feb 21, 2017

Marinus Vesseur wrote:

I have a bunch of German clients, so I have a German bank account as well. That way, I can let the money accumulate and wire it over when the amount is large enough in relation to the fees.

It may indeed be worth looking at having a bank account overseas, although many banks are unwilling to open non-resident accounts.

Two suggestions for countries in which international wire transfer fees and currency exchange commissions are usually very reasonable, and in which you have a fighting chance of being allowed to open an account:
1. Luxembourg, for example the post bank ,
2. Denmark (most banks offer online banking in English).


Arianne Farah  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:18
Member (2008)
English to French
Thank you Feb 22, 2017

Unfortunately since my banking is intrinsically linked to my accounting (I use Quickbooks and it's linked to my business account), opening a virtual bank account or a foreign bank account isn't a good solution (and neither is asking the clients to use another payment method unfortunately - one of the clients actually has a half dozen offices in Canada and each one is invoiced separately and pays by wire - when I asked if the invoices could be consolidated into a single wire I was told that they were 'working to offer it' - so even that simple solution seems out of reach). Western Union is also obviously out.

I was wondering if one of the big Canadian banks (eg. Scotia, CIBC, National, Desjardins, Royal, etc.) offered a 'better deal' so to say. Otherwise I might just start stretching out my invoices to those particular clients to bi-monthly or quarterly rather than monthly - at least if the invoice is under a certain amount.


United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
This is part of a wider problem. Feb 22, 2017

In the UK, where I come from, domestic wire transfers are free and everyone uses them for everything. Checks are almost extinct, and even cash is fast going out of fashion.

In the US, where I live, transfers are a ripoff and checks are still widely used. I find them a total pain, since my bank is a couple of miles away and the checks tend to get lost in piles of paper.


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Bank fees on wire transfers

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