In this article we will cover an interesting online money transfer alternative for Canadians and explain how you can use it to send international payments. We will also breakdown the fees for this service, which you can later compare with other remittance platforms available on our site, so that you can choose your own way to send money internationally as cheaply as possible.
Read to learn:
- What actually is Interac and how to use it
- How to send money overseas with Interac
- Which banks and platforms supports it
- The fees and limits
What is Interac?
If you live in Canada you most likely have heard about Interac payments. You can easily send or receive money to your bank account. Moreover, you don’t need to remember your bank account number or give out any sensitive personal information, as you can simply receive payment with just an email address or phone number.
Interac is one of the most popular payment processors in Canada. With more than 16 millions transfers each day and privacy-oriented payments it is becoming increasingly popular. With Interac you can send money directly to other person bank account using only online or mobile banking. You can read that:
“Interac e-Transfer is a convenient way to send, request and receive money directly from one bank account to another. All you need is access to online or mobile banking through a participating financial institution, and you can send or request money to anyone with an email address or mobile phone number and a bank account in Canada”
Am I eligible to use the service?
More than 250 financial institutions in Canada supports this platform. Therefore, if your bank offers online transfers, you can most likely handle it through Interac. However, currently the service is available only for Canada. There are similar alternatives in different countries. You can also choose regular online remittance platform if your country doesn’t have similar solutions.
The service is undoubtedly convenient for domestic payments, as you don’t have to remember a long bank account number each time you want to receive a payment. Also, everything can be handled with your mobile phone, so you can order and receive transfers on the go.
How can I use it to send money abroad?
Normally, when you want to send an international payment through your bank, it goes through SWIFT network. You can read our article on what is SWIFT and how it helps banks transfer your money here. This method usually takes a couple of days and generates some significant fees, especially if you send money to more remote places. That’s why many people decide to use online independent remittance platforms as the fees there are cheaper than at banks.
Interac e-Transfer allows you to send money quickly to any country in the world. They cooperate with Western Union, which is a popular international payment processor. With Western Union your recipient can pick up the cash in his local Western Union branch. The branches are scattered around the world in more than 200 countries. You most likely have one in your city. As an advantage acts the fact, that the money can be picked up at the location just a few minutes after the transfer is sent. Of course you can track the transfer status online and see when it gets delivered and picked up.
Which banks support Interac international Western Union transfer?
At the moment only 7 banks allow you to send money internationally directly through Western Union using their online banking platforms and Interac:
- BMO Bank of Montreal,
- Education Credit Union,
- Energy Credit Union,
- First Calgary Financial,
- Libro Credit Union,
- Summerland Credit Union,
- Tandia Credit Union
How to order the transfer?
As an advantage acts the fact that you don’t need to create any special accounts or register anywhere. You already have your bank account and that’s enough to use this feature.
- Log in to your online banking account
- Depending on your bank and platform design find Interac e-Transfer section, where you can choose Western Union transfer.
- Fill out your recipients information.
- In some cases, you may need to set up a “security question” (which is then used by your recipient to collect the money)
- You will receive special MTCN number, which you need to give to your recipient (he will use it to pick up the money)
- Your job is done! Now, your recipient needs to bring his ID to his nearest WU location and use the MTCN number to receive the funds. The money is usually ready to be picked up within 30 minutes.
How much it costs?
When ordering the transfer online, at the last section you should see the total costs calculated, as there are lots of factors which affect the final price, such as exchange rates (if you send foreign currencies), your recipient’s location and transfer methods.
The banks mentioned earlier set the fee at $9 + 1% of the transfer amount.
The transfer limits depend on your bank’s policies or your account type, as they are set individually. On average, you can expect a daily transfer limit of $999, while monthly limits for online transfers usually narrow to $6.999. You can contact your bank’s representative to talk about the limits and maybe extend them if you need to order bigger international transfers frequently.
Why it’s better to use it compared to regular SWIFT transfer?
The first thing that speaks for SWIFT alternatives is that an average international bank transfer costs around $25. In some cases, the banks even charge you just to receive an overseas transfer to your account. Depending on the transaction amount, you can see that with Interac you could easily close the costs around $10 mark. Moreover, the money will get to your recipient the same day, while with SWIFT you need to wait up to 3 working days.
What are other advantages of this transfer method?
Interac’s biggest advantage is the limited amount of information you need to give to send and receive payments. Moreover, Western Union money transfers with Interac e-Transfer has also:
- encryption technology,
- confidential user IDs and passwords,
- a transfer tracking system,
And can of course be used without any additional registration process.
If you are looking for other alternatives for online international money transfers, you can check out personal transfers section on Wirly.com. There, you can find detailed reviews of remittance companies, their fees, user ratings and more.