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Best Way to Send Money From the US to Canada

Best Way to Send Money From the US to Canada

We have tried to cover the most readily available ways to transfer money from the US to Canada in this article. The methods listed below are money transfer methods that are relatively easy, and that mostly anybody in the US may use. This article is ideal for people who are stuck for transfer ideas, or for people who are looking for the best way to send money from the US to Canada. We have included the a short description of each method, and then included the upsides and downsides of each method.

A quick word before you start skim reading the headers. Many of the upsides and downsides have changed over the years. For example, just a few years ago there was a lot of check fraud, but these days it is becoming rarer and rarer. Also, it used to be that PayPal took one to two days to transfer to Canada, but these days it takes seconds in most cases.

Check

Write a check and post it. It may not be the most convenient or quickest way to send money to Canada, but for some people it is the best way to send money from the US to Canada. There may be a few issues, such as how your recipient may not want a check in US dollars, but those are problems you can easily solve. There is also the fact you may need a multi-currency checking account in order to send a check made out with Canadian dollars, but that is also an easily solvable problem.

Upsides

A check is usually a very easy way to send money. Plus, there is far less check stealing in the post these days because fewer people are sending checks. Plus, your thief must also be a forgery fraudster too because your check will have your freelancer’s name on it.

Downsides

Beside having to get around the fact that both you and your freelancer use different currencies, there is also the problem of time. Sending a check through the post is already a long process if you are sending nationally, but sending internationally takes longer. Plus, the freelancer has to wait for the check to credit to his or her account.

Money Order

Some people believe that international money orders are still the best way to send money from the US to Canada because they are convenient and fairly secure these days. You may purchase an international money order at a place such as USPS, and they offer the means to post your money order too. Since Canada is one of the countries that accepts international money orders, your recipient should be able to go to any post office location in Canada and cash the money order.

Upsides

You avoid any type of online fraud if you use money orders, which may work well for either yourself or your recipient, especially if your recipient is in a position where online services are not secure because the place he or she is accessing the Internet is not secure. It is also handy if you are sending money to somebody who has a habit of losing online information (passwords, user names, etc.).

In every case I have researched, if your money order is damaged, you are allowed to take it back to the company you bought it from and have a new one issues to replace the damaged one. If your money order goes missing, then you may pay an inquiry fee and learn the status of you money order and maybe even get a refund under some circumstances; what normally happens is that they give you a replacement and they cancel the older money order.

Downsides

There are limits on how much you are able to send with a money order. For example, the USPS service that I mentioned earlier will only let you send a maximum of $700 per money order to Canada.

Money orders cost money to buy them, and they are not cheap when you consider that the maximum you may send is $700. For example, in 2017, the USPS website is charging $8.25 for money orders.

It also takes a while for your payment to get to your recipient. You have to buy it, post it, and then the recipient has to cash it. We are talking days between you sending payment and the recipient receiving the funds. Money orders are definitely not the sort of thing you should use if you are in a hurry to pay.

MoneyGram

There are MoneyGram shops all around the US. There are MoneyGram branches, there are stalls in malls, and there are stands within other shops. Even Walmart has teamed up with them. They are everywhere, like memes of Captain Picard and Fry. They allow you to walk into a branch, hand over your money or use a card, and send money to another person where that other person may receive it in cash or digitally into a bank account. MoneyGram also has an online version that allows you to do the same thing via the Internet.

Upsides

It is one of many ways to send money from the US to Canada, and it is fairly easy to find a place where you may use MoneyGram in the US and in Canada because it is a popular company. You are able to use the service online and have money transferred from your bank account to your recipient’s bank account. They also give you the option of sending money and having it picked up in cash, which may suit some recipients more than others.

Downsides

There are fees that come with the service to the point where MoneyGram’s biggest selling point is the fact your recipient can pick money up in cash. For example, if you are using MoneyGram to send money digitally from one bank account to another, then there are far cheaper ways of doing it, especially when you remember that Canada isn’t really a far-off land. If you are tech savvy and you do not mind signing up with other transfer companies, then MoneyGram is not for you.

Western Union

There are branches of Western Union in the US and in Canada. There are plenty of them, so have a hunt around in your local area before you decide. You get to choose if your recipient will pick your transfer up in cash at a branch, or if you will use Western Union to transfer the money directly into your recipient’s bank account. Some people also use Western Union to transfer money to businesses too, though you should be careful when transferring to gambling websites because Western Union has been known to ban people who do.

Upsides

Western Union has branches up and down Canada. There are plenty of places for your recipient to pick up cash. If you were looking for the best way to send money from the US to Canada so that your recipient can pick up cash, then double check that there is a Western Union near your recipient, and explain how he or she may pick the money up. Beware that it cannot be picked up right away because it is a cross-border transfer and not a national transfer.

Downsides

Western Union have a policy where they wash their hands of all responsibility when it comes to your transfer. They have a policy where they are not responsible for your transfer and if it arrives or not, even if it fails to arrive because of their agent’s negligent behavior. MoneyGram has a similar policy, but Western Union upholds its policy with an iron fist whereas MoneyGram may be more willing to wiggle a little.

It takes around two to four days for your transfer to arrive, which is not terrible, but there are online services that do it far quicker. Even using bitcoin is quicker than Western Union in this case.

Paypal

Some people use PayPal to send money to people in Canada because it is easy to use and because it transfers your money very quickly. It is also handy because it allows you to hold numerous different types of currency in just one account. Most users have their PayPal account because it allows them to shop online without having to give away their bank or credit card details. PayPal has quite a few uses, but we cannot go into them all because we are searching for the best way to send money from the US to Canada.

Upsides

There are a great many benefits and upsides to PayPal, but when it comes to transfers between the US and Canada, the one of the best upsides is the fact you may maintain numerous currency balances. Most bank accounts ask that you pay maintenance fees if you want more than one currency in your account, but that is not true for PayPal. Your Canadian dollars and your US dollars may sit side by side in your account and it won’t cost you extra.

The speed at which your transfer is conducted is also something that many people like. In most cases, it only takes a few seconds for your transfer to go through to your recipient. On other occasions, it takes two hours, and only in rare occasions will it take up to two or three days. It doesn’t matter that your payment is a cross border payment, your transfer still goes through very quickly and the 2.9% + 30c receiving fee is very reasonable. Plus, if you are sending to a friend or family member, then you may use the free sending function where the recipient is not charged the receiving fee.

Downsides

The biggest downside is that PayPal doesn’t have good exchange rates. When you convert from US dollars to Canadian dollars, they are going to take 2.5% off your Canadian dollar balance. The way they do it is quite common, it is by a process that I like to call skimming. Instead of giving you the market rate, they give you a rate that is 2.5% worse than the current market rate.

For example, if Google says that your exchange should give you $100 CAD, then PayPal will only give you $97.50 when you make your exchange. It is not illegal, and it is not even a hidden charge because it is very common in the exchange industry. Currency converters are always bragging that they do not have fees, and that is because they are making their money by skimming from the exchange rate they give.

Skrill

Some people think that Skrill is far from the best way to send money from the US to Canada, but there are circumstances where Skrill may be suitable for you. For example, if you cannot use PayPal, or if you cannot use the other methods in this article, then Skrill may become your most suitable alternative. In addition, your recipient may already have a Skrill account to the point where sending via Skrill is easier. In addition, Skrill is still doing well because it does business with countries that other online wallets will not touch, which is why it is possible in the East and Middle East.

Upsides

I read an article that said, “Skrill doesn’t charge for credit card processing,” yet Skrill doesn’t accept payments made through credit cards! So, in the spirit of that article, one of my upsides is that Skrill doesn’t charge if you snap your nan’s walking stick.

Withdrawing from Skrill is pricey, but it is fairly convenient, and Skrill is a borderless online wallet, just like PayPal, which means it is very easy and quick to transfer money from the US to Canada.

There is not a great deal more to say about Skrill that casts it in a good light. Most of the things it offers are just as easily offered by its competition. Skrill’s biggest selling point is that it deals with other countries that most other online wallets won’t deal with. However, since almost all online wallets deal with the US and Canada, Skrill doesn’t really have an edge in this competition. All I can say is that Skrill is a suitable option if your other transfer methods have fallen through, if your other methods are not doable, or if your other methods are too expensive.

Downsides

The fees suck. What sort of asshole company charges you $5.50 to withdraw your money. I admit that plenty of companies charge a withdrawal fee, but they are assholes too.

Another common grievance revolves around Skrill’s policy for draining your account over time. If your account is inactive for a year, then Skrill will start to drain your account at $3.00 per month until your balance is fully drained.

The conversion fee that Skrill charges is pretty crappy too. I know that I complained earlier about PayPal skimming 2.5% from the exchange rate, but Skrill charges you a whopping 3.99% for currency conversions, which is higher than most of Skrill’s online competitors.

Conclusion – Transferring Money From The US to Canada Is Easy

Thanks to the security of money orders and checks, and thinks to the many money transfer companies available to people in the USA, it has never been easier to transfer money from the US to Canada. Your job is to find the best way to send money from the US to Canada for you personally.

This article covered some of the most popular money-transfer methods, and it gives you a reasonably broad range of money transfer methods. As you can see by this article, there are always alternatives to your alternatives. For example, if you choose to use an online wallet, then you are not stuck with PayPal, you may also use Skrill. Another example is if you decide to use the postal system, you are not stuck with checks, you may use money orders instead.

You have plenty of options open to you. Simply ensure that you do research into online and offline security to lower your chances of being scammed, and if you are considering a new money-transfer company, then read online user reviews about it. See if the negative reviews have a common thread, since the most commonly complained about aspects are probably the negative points that are true.

About The Author

Ash The Great

After a varied career in different industries from the hospitality industry to the financial consultancy industry, Ash now spends his days working as a professional writer.

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