Best Ways to Make International Wire Transfers

Here, we reviewed the best ways to make international wire transfers.

Wire International Transfers
Wire International Transfers

Nowadays, international wire transfers have become one of the most preferred ways to send money abroad. It is estimated that more than $500 billion is sent between different countries globally via secure and seamless international wire transfers. If you need to wire money abroad, it is best you have an idea of how international wire transfers work.

Here, we’ll take a close look at the whole process of executing international wire transfers and the steps to take when you want to make international wire transfers.

What is an International Wire Transfer?

International wire transfer is a type of bank service that is generally used to send money electronically from one person’s bank account to another individual’s account in a totally different country. In simpler terms, it is a method of sending cash electronically from the sender’s country to another country (the recipient’s country.

The major goal of this transfer method is to transfer funds quickly and seamlessly, removing the delays that may be caused by the clearing of cheques and mailing. While many people use “bank transfer” and “wire transfer” interchangeably, they don't mean the same thing. Generally, both banks and other financial institutions make use of wire transfers. This implies that while all bank transfers are considered wire transfers, not all wire transfers are considered to be bank transfers. Read further to learn more about this.

The Difference Between Wire Transfers and Bank Transfers

The term “bank transfer” is used to define the process of sending cash from one account to another. This kind of transfer could even occur between two different kinds of accounts of one person (for example, sending money from your savings account to your checking account). However, generally, people commonly use it to describe the process of sending money from one bank to another bank (even abroad) through banks.

Contrarily, international wire transfers are a more generic vocabulary and refer to transferring funds electronically from a specific location to another location. So, wire transfer is the general term, while bank transfer is more specific. Bank transfers are a kind of wire transfer, together with other kinds of wire transfers as well.

How do Wire Transfers Work?

International wire transfers are generally processed through the SWIFT network. SWIFT, short for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is a protected messaging system that banks use to exchange sensitive information fast and safely, especially information concerning wire transfers. The SWIFT  network cuts across over 200 countries and includes more than 10,000 financial institutions and banks. If you want to find the SWIFT code for a specific bank you want to send money to, search through the SWIFT/BIC Code finder.

Whenever you initiate a wire transfer, the information will be sent to your recipient’s bank directly or via an intermediary bank. Usually, there are some costs that this process incurs. These fees can vary depending on the currency and amount of funds you want to transfer. Just make sure you check the fees before you decide to send the money.  

Are Cross-Border Transfers Secure?

International wires are secure as long as you have the correct details of your recipient and your recipient is using a reputable bank. Once the cash arrives in the account of your recipient, it will be labelled as “cleared funds”, indicating that the transaction has been completed. Your recipient will then be able to access the money after this. Generally, we can say that international transfers are safe.

It is very rare for an international wire transfer to experience issues, however, it still happens. A thief or hacker can gain access to your intended recipient’s account, and immediately receive the fund and withdraw it. If you want to wire a large amount of money, you should speak to the recipient to establish extra supervision for the wire transfer. This should reduce the risk of fraud or theft.

What is Needed for an International Wire Transfer?

Here are some of the important information you will need when initiating an international wire transfer:

  • The intended recipient’s full name (as stated on their bank account) and address
  • The amount of money for the wire transfer
  • Name and the address of your recipient’s bank
  • Your recipient’s bank account number as well as the account type
  • Recipient bank’s SWIFT code (whenever it is applicable)
  • The bank routing number of your recipient
  • Reason for your transfer

The Top Ways to Send an International Wire Transfer

When it comes to sending an international wire transfer, you have four major options. Here are the ways you can send it:

1. Executing an International Wire Transfer Online Via the Bank

Although many banks will prefer for you to come in to execute your international money transfer, they’ve also made it easy to do it online. Here are the steps to take when you want to execute this process online through your bank:

a. Search for the wire transfer page

If your online banking platform is set up, start by logging into your bank account and searching for the “wire transfer” tab on your bank’s website.

You may be able to find this option at the top menu bar of the website’s homepage. If you still can't find it, contact your bank’s customer service for more information.

b.   Check your online transfer limit

The bank may need you to fix an online fund transfer limit. This limit is generally set at $5,000. However, sometimes they may set it for you automatically. If the amount of money you want to transfer is over the set daily limit, you have to call your bank and request an increase.

Sometimes, the bank may want to verify your identity and decide to set extra security for confirmation purposes. They may send a unique code to your phone number or email address.

c.   Provide the bank details

To finish off your SWIFT transaction, you’ll have to provide certain information about your recipient. This includes:

  • Name and address of the recipient’s bank.
  • Name, address, as well as the account type of the beneficiary (savings, checking, etc.)
  • Recipient’s bank account number or the IBAN (international bank account number).
  • Recipient’s SWIFT/BIC code.

d.   Enter the total amount of money you want to transfer and the type of currency

When you input the recipient’s information, the currency will be set in the online wire transfer form depending on the currency of that specific country. If this is not done automatically, choose the currency and input the amount you want to transfer. The general rule is that bank accounts in foreign countries are designated by the local currency.

However, foreign banks may still offer customer accounts in numerous currencies, especially when it is  US dollars. Ensure that you cross-check the details to confirm that you are sending cash in the desired currency. Sending it in the wrong currency may cause the transfer to get rejected.

e. Pay the processing fee

Before you complete your payment, your bank will inform you of the amount they will charge you for both the transfer and exchange rate. Once you see the amount and you are comfortable with it, just confirm how much money you want to send. The bank will withdraw both the money and the charge directly from your bank account.

Note that it is common for the recipient’s bank to also charge you a specific fee for the transfer. If they are up to three intermediary banks for the transfer, they may all charge you a fee.

International wire transfers can be very expensive, so prepare your mind for all the costs involved.

f. Find out how long it will take to arrive

After you finish the transfer form and submit your transfer, the website will give you an estimate of how many days it will give you an estimate of how many days it will take for the transfer to be completed. Your bank will automatically help you to track the status of your transaction and keep you updated via the web portal. Most transfers take about 1-3 business days. It primarily depends on some factors.

For example, if the bank you are sending the money to is located in a completely different time zone, the work days may vary. Also, any money sent generally travels between about 3-5 banks. This can slow down the transfer speed. You should consider all these factors before sending money abroad via the bank. If you want to know how much money your bank will charge you (transaction fees), call your bank’s customer service.

2. Executing an International Wire Transfer in a Bank Branch

It could be that your bank needs you to do an in-person transaction when wiring funds internationally. Doing your transfer in person is basically the same thing as executing it online. You will have to provide the same information.

a. Take all these details with you to your bank branch

  • Your name and the name of the bank account you want to withdraw funds from
  • The name and address of your beneficiary’s bank
  • Recipient’s name, address, as well as the account type (checking, savings, etc)
  • Beneficiary’s account number or  IBAN
  • Recipient’s BIC/SWIFT ID

b.  Decide the total amount of cash you would like to send and the currency

It’s best for you to cross-check with your beneficiary before you select the currency option. People who execute regular transactions with international transfer companies generally own multi-currency accounts.

c.  Pay the international transfer charge

All banks will charge you a processing fee. Find out the charges you need to make for processing the transaction and pay for it. Once you pay this charge, your bank will inform you how long the International transfer will take.

3. Executing an International Wire Transfer Via the Phone

Just like the in-person bank transaction, your bank’s customer call centre can take care of all your international transfers. Just provide all the information you need to complete the transaction to your bank’s customer service agent and they will put you through the remaining process. Once the transfer is complete, they’ll inform you of how long the transaction will take.

4. Using an Alternative Transfer Service (SanaTransfer)

If you are seeking convenience when executing international transfers, it is best for you to use a transfer service provider. The best transfer service provider to execute international transfers is SanaTransfer. Essentially SanaTransfer allows you to send money abroad in a safe, fast, and affordable manner via the accessibility of your internet connection.

Executing international transfers through the SanaTransfer platform is simple. Just download the mobile app from Google Play Store or the App Store and create an account. Once you create your SanaTransfee account successfully, you will be able to transfer funds immediately. The whole process is very convenient, straightforward, and direct.

International Wire Transfer Fees

As mentioned above, whenever you are transferring money abroad, it’s very important for you to assess the transaction charges. Generally, international wire transfers come with hefty charges, especially when you are sending through the bank. For cheaper transfer charges, use the SanaTransfer platform to execute your transaction.

Pros and Cons of Using Wire Transfers To Send Money Internationally

Below, we've listed some of the advantages and disadvantages of using international wire transfers when sending money abroad:


Some of the pros of using cross boarder transfers include:

1. Speed

Most times, international wire transfers take about 1-2 days to get completed. In certain cases, the transfer can be almost-instant and the quickest way to send money abroad. The speed primarily depends on the type of currency, the amount of money you are sending, and the transfer service provider you are using.

2. Convenience

Wire transfers are very convenient because they allow you to send money to all parts of the world via the Internet just from the comfort of your home. All you need to do is to log into your online banking platform or SanaTransfer app and execute the transaction. However, if you are sending a large sum of money your transfer provider may ask you to provide extra information for verification.  

3. Safety

Both money transfer providers and Banks adhere to some specific financial regulations set by the Government of Canada. These regulations guarantee your safety and the privacy of your information when sending money abroad. So you can rest assured that your transaction is secure when using your bank or the SanaTransfer platform.

4. Global reach

Generally, wire transfers allow you to send funds anywhere in the world. So its coverage is global. The SanaTransfer platform allows users to send money across over 70 countries globally, no matter the currency.


Some of the pros of using cross boarder transfers include:

1. Cost

Generally, wire transfers can be pretty expensive, especially when you use the bank. However, as we mentioned earlier, a payment platform like SanaTransfer will allow you to transfer funds abroad at cheaper fees and competitive exchange rates.

Nevertheless, we can still say that using the wire transfer method to send funds is more expensive than some other methods of payment. However, it is considered one of the safest ways to send money abroad, hence, many people still go for it.

2. Non-reversible

If you make a mistake when inputting details of your wire transfer, it is very difficult to reverse your transaction. So make sure that you cross-check the details of your transaction to see that they are correct before you send it.

How long do international wire transfers take?

Before you make any wire transfer, it is important to know how long the transaction will take. Generally, international wire transfers take between the range of 1-5 days to get completed. It all depends on various factors, such as the origin country of the payment and the destination country, the amount of money being sent, as well as the currencies involved.

What Is the Best Way To Transfer Money Internationally?

Below, we’ve listed other major ways to send money from Canada to any other country:

1. Via Bank Wire Transfers

Most prominent banks offer their customers the international money transfer feature, allowing them access to their checking or savings accounts to execute the transactions. Since banks have well-established broad networks with other foreign banks (SWIFT systems), bank wire transfers are considered very reliable, secure and readily accessible.  

2. Money Wire Transfer Services

Just like banks, you can wire money overseas through a money transfer service provider like SanaTransfer. The SanaTransfer platform makes it easy for you to send money globally at a faster and cheaper rate.

3. ACH Transfers

The Automated Clearing House transfers also called the ACH is a special kind of electronic network of credit unions and banks that transfer money to each other. This system allows you to make electronic payments locally and also send cash abroad.

While ACH transfers are generally cheaper than international wire transfers, the downside is that they are slower. However, unlike wire transfers, ACH transfers can be reversed and refunded when there is fraud or error.

4. Prepaid Debit Cards

Prepaid debit cards are said to be one of the safest and fastest ways to send money to a person in another country. Various apps and online services allow you to use your prepaid debit card to send money to someone living abroad.

However, not all prepaid debit cards are compatible with all online transfer services. Just go for the transfer service your prepaid card is compatible with.

Note that you have to create an account with the online transfer service before you will be able to initiate a transaction.

5. Peer-to-Peer Transfers

Many payment apps offer you instant P2P money transfers services. For SanaTransfer, it is the Mobile Money option. Essentially, this feature enables you to send cash directly to the mobile phone of your beneficiary. This method of payment is direct and fast.

Are There Any Costs Involved in an International Money Transfer?

As stated earlier, you have to pay processing fees when executing international transfers. Hence, it is best for you to ask your bank about the fees they charge. Generally, here's what most banks are likely to charge:

1. An exchange rate fee

The exchange rate fee is a charge that is often added as markups to the current currency exchange rates. It usually depends on the currency exchange rate between the origin and destination country of the transfer.  

2. A processing fee

The processing fee may be charged as just a flat fee. However, this fee is typically a certain percentage of the amount of money you want to send.

What Is the Cheapest Way to Transfer Money Internationally?

While making International money transfers through your bank can be favourable in certain cases, it doesn't come cheap. The cheapest way to send money abroad is via an online money remittance service provider like SanaTransfer.

Download the app for Android or iOS to get started.

How To Send Money Internationally Through Money Transfer Service Provider

Follow these steps below to create an account on the SanaTransfer platform and send funds:

1. Register or Sign In

Select the SanaTransfer app for your needs. You can download it and create a personal account for yourself. Confirm your identity by uploading either your passport, driver’s license, or any other government-issued ID.

2. Enter the Recipient’s Details

Input both the name and the banking details of the recipient. If you are using the Cash Pick-up payment method, select the location where you want the recipient to pick it up. Ensure that you provide the beneficiary’s name just as it is on their government ID.

3. Choose How Much Money You Would Like To Send

Choose the amount of cash you would like to transfer abroad and the currency your beneficiary will receive. Ensure you verify this information with the recipient.

4. Pay for Your Transfer

The next step is to pay for the transaction with either your debit card, credit card, or even a direct fund transfer from the bank. Note that paying with your credit card may incur more fees.

5. Track Your Funds

The SanaTransfer app will provide you with an expected date and time when the transaction should be complete. Essentially, the app will allow you to track the real-time status of your global money transfer.

How To Choose The Best Way To Send Money Internationally

Before you send money internationally, it is important to consider factors like exchange rates, processing fees, payment methods, and even the speed of the transfer platform. SanaTransfer offers you the best service when you consider all these factors.

Bottom Line

Although using the bank to wire international transfers is safe, it doesn't come cheap. Banks processing fees and exchange rates are quite on the high side, so it is better to use an online transfer service provider.

The best way to send international transfers is through the SanaTransfer platform. Basically, using this transfer provider is convenient, easy, efficient, and very affordable. If you reside in Canada and you need to transfer funds to any part of the world, try the SanaTransfer platform.

Join 500+ users across Canada in sending money back to family and loved ones using the SanaTransfer app. Sign up now to get started.

Download the app for Android or iOS.