We live in an increasingly international society. People from all walks of life are spending time overseas, traveling greater distances than ever before for family, work, or recreation. These travelers are being forced to transfer their money from one currency to another, and many of them are discovering that finding the best deal is a tall order in this industry.
This problem is especially pronounced for Canadians. The currency transfer revolution is happening, but for the most part it’s happening outside of Canada. All the action is happening in Europe, where a movement is underway to create new channels of affordable currency transfer for people of all kinds. A generation ago there were very few options for international currency transfer. National governments and the very rich were able to it through banking systems, but the few avenues available to regular people were very few and very expensive.
Many of these still exist for Canadians today. Of course, it’s always possible to make transfers like these through Canadian banks like the Bank of Canada, Royal Bank, or other options. But for the most part, this is the most expensive solution for the average consumer or traveler. Banks don’t specialize in currency transfer, though it is a service they regularly perform. Baseline fees are relatively high, especially for low-to-mid level transfers. And bank transfers aren’t built for speed, meaning that if you need to get money from one country to another fast, a Canadian bank will likely fail you.
Countries all around the world have been dealing with problems like these for years. As Europe started to hemorrhage immigrants to other countries (and take on a bunch of their own), it became necessary for these people to have efficient ways to transfer their money to family members overseas, and for other purposes. This was a big factor in causing this industry to blow up in the UK over the past 10 years. Old guard companies like Western Union simply didn’t have the infrastructure or customer service (or pricing or a lot of other issues) to truly compete in the digital/mobile realm.
The new generation of currency transfer companies exist in this space, which is good for people in Canada. The downside for Canadians is that most of these countries aren’t focused on service to Canadian citizens, so many of the best companies simply won’t be an option. Sending money to Canada through commercial firms? They’ve got you covered. Moving from Canada to the UK? Not so much. This problem is legislative, primarily, as the strict UK licensing most of these companies have undergone doesn’t extend to Canadian citizens.
Nonetheless, there are some really good options which Canadian currency transfer companies should be aware of. Companies like Transferwise have emerged in recent years, providing a versatile mobile solution for small transfers to and from countries like Canada. For larger transfers, Transferwise won’t be affordable, but the pickings are somewhat slim for the best choices out of the UK. The above link has some solutions, however. A little homework, and you’ll be sure to find a choice that is fast, affordable, and up to date with the needs of the Canadian currency transfer customer.