My real-life experience using CanadianForex

Bank wire transfers suck.

They suck in (at least) three ways:

  1. Banks charge a fee for every transfer (my bank, TD, charges $30-80 per transfer)
  2. Banks’ international exchange rates are terrible
  3. Sometimes, your money needs to pass through an intermediary bank, which may charge additional fees

Ugh.

So then, when when Jenna and I decided to move to France, I started looking around for alternatives to bank wire transfers. After looking at several options, we decided to try out CanadianForex, an online forex service that advertises better exchange rates and lower fees than the banks. I was skeptical.

So then, for the benefit of anyone considering CanadianForex, here’s a quick outline of how it all went:

Setup

I set up our CanadianForex account while we were still in Toronto. The process was pretty simple. It involved filling out an online form, taking a telephone call from a friendly CanadianForex rep to confirm a few details, then sending in proof of our Canadian bank account (a scanned bank statement).

After we arrived in Lyon and opened our French bank account (which is an entirely different story), I decided to try to actually move some money. I set up our French bank account as a beneficiary, then placed an order online.

Exchange Rate

I ordered Euros on January 11, 2012. That day, if I’d bought Euros through my bank, one Canadian dollar would have bought me 0.74867 €. At CanadianForex, the rate was 1 CAD = 0.7627 €

Bottom line: Using CanadianForex got me an extra 1.4 centime on the dollar, compared to TD Canada Trust. Not bad.

Fees

Because of the amount we transferred, CanadianForex didn’t charge us any fees.

Zero fees.

TD would have charged us at least $30 CAD per transfer.

Customer service

I telephoned CanadianForex a few times — once to confirm that my French banking details were set up correctly, and another time to confirm that there would be no intermediary bank involved. Both times friendly human beings with Australian accents (CanadianForex is owned by Austalia-based OzForex) helped me out and answered my questions.

The rest of my dealings with CanadianForex were entirely online, and very straightforward.

Side note: When I asked TD about their wire transfer protocol, they handed me a photocopied form, and told me that when I wanted to transfer money, I could fill it out and fax it to them. Fax!

Timing

From start to finish, the transfer took a few days. I ordered Euros on January 11, and received a confirmation that they’d been deposited in our French bank account on January 16.

When I checked, the transfer was exactly the amount quoted, and indeed, there were no fees or intermediary banks involved.

Again, not bad.

Overall

CanadianForex advertises itself as a cheaper alternative to wire transfers, and in my (lone) experience, it is. If you feel like saving a percentage point or two on international money transfers, they’re definitely worth checking out. I’ll definitely use them again.

Filed under: banking, France

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Comments

  1. Lorne Jacobs says:

    I too, am looking into using Canadianforex.ca to exchange money. Do you have any links to legitimate companies that rate this company such as the BBB in Toronto? I would like some assurance that I won’t lose my money during the transfer.

  2. John Morton says:

    Dan,

    I don’t see anything in your post about how you get your money deposited with CanadianForex. How have you transferred Canadian Dollars to them five times while you are in France?

  3. Bill Sanders says:

    I was a little wary but decided to take a chance based on Dan’s recommendation. CanadianForex had better rates compared to my bank. Money arrived in London in three days. I’ll probably use them again.

  4. henry says:

    Always good to find good references on a company I was looking to try. Thanks.
    One problem: I need to transfer from USD to CAD. My bank (RBC) doesn’t allow me to setup a payee on US funds. For a domestic wire transfer in US funds RBC to BMO, RBC wants $25.
    (Their own international worldwide remittance is 1/2 that, but only works overseas)
    Has anyone found a workaround to send USD to CanadianForex?

  5. Steve says:

    I have recently noticed that TD have dropped CanadianForex as a supported EBill payee (Canadian Forex confirmed this when I contacted them). I am trying to work out if there is any other method that you can use to complete the transfer.

    To me it’s looking like TD have done this to force people into either making a wire transfer from their TD account to CanadianForex or use TDs own forex services – both of which incur a hefty fee.

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Steve,

      I ran into this exact problem last night, so I called Canadian Forex and they gave me a simple solution!
      You just have to call them and they’ll e-mail you a pre-authorized debit agreement form, fill it out, e-mail it back, they’ll set it up and take the agreed amount directly from you TD account.
      Hope this helps.

  6. Steve says:

    Bummer, it must be a relatively recent change because when I talked to them on Monday they didn’t suggest that and told me to talk to TD. Talked to TD and they got me to do a wire transfer (at this point I was 2 days into my 3 day window for the transaction so I just went ahead with it).

    Will try that for next time though, thanks!

  7. BillB says:

    Same problem for me. I used CanadianForex successfully late in 2012. Now I would like to use them again, but after booking the deal it turns out I cannot electronically transfer money to them from my TD account.

    I’m a little wary about giving anyone pre-authorized access to my personal accounts, so I’m just going to wire the money from TD to CanadianForex.

    Besides the additional wire fee, having to jump through hoops like this kind of defeats the purpose (for me, mostly convenience) of using CanadianForex, unfortunately.

    • henry says:

      I gave them preauthorized access to my RBC US account. Have done 6 deals (USD > EURO) already with no issues whatsoever.
      No transfer fees either in or out.
      The only comment is that it takes a full week between the time the deal is initiated until the $$ are credited.

      • BillB says:

        Thanks Henry.

        TD wanted $30 just for a wire to CanadianForex’s account at BMO. So I think I’ll bite the bullet and sign the pre-authorized withdrawal form.

        • henry says:

          For some reason, banks lately have improved their services and fees for overseas transfers (probably competing with Western Union, postal wires and the like) but they are still in the last century in regards to transfers within North America.

          RBC lets me wire overseas for less than $10, all through the web. To do the same to a CDN or US bank it’s $30 and a signed fax. Ridiculous.

  8. Henk Wondergem says:

    We have opened an account with them as well.
    The bank charges outrages fees and with a straight face they say: We do not charge for that, it is a service we provide”
    That happened when we tried to exchange 100k US$ to Canadian $. So I asked them how many CDN$ we would get, and how many US$ we would get if we changed that amount back to US$.
    They are correct they do not charge a “service fee”, but they make up for it big time with the buy/sell spread.
    So we paid $100 for a wire transfer to a broker account that could do it for $30 plus $90 administration costs.
    It took the bank over 1 hour to fill in the new forms they were not familiar with, so the bank manager had to be called to the rescue and they kept the bank open for an extra 20 minutes to complete the wire transfer. If they would have given us a better exchange rate on such a large amount, they would have made money with us, but it is hard to imagine they did not loose money with the wire transfer. Unfortunately the broke account can only change US to CDN$ for us.
    The Forex allows you to transfer to numerous currencies, and I do not know a simpler way. We only found out about it recently, but I feel it will catch on a lot more.

  9. Bill Sanders says:

    I had the problem with TD and wire fees.

    If you ask, CanadianForex will make up for it in the exchange rate they quote you. You just have to tell them you are using TD and incurred extra fees. They get it.

  10. Alan says:

    Just found this while looking for reviews for CanadianForex Ltd. It appears they are in good standing with the Better Business Bureau. Music to my ears as since I am considering using them. Hoep everyone finds this useful.

    http://www.bbb.org/kitchener/business-reviews/money-orders-and-transfers/canadianforex-ltd-in-toronto-on-1290688

    • henry says:

      I’ve been using them practically every week since march. Everything works as advertised/expected.

      Only issue is time: it takes a week to get the exchanged funds in, regardless if the receiving bank is in Canada or Europe.

  11. Brian says:

    Just tried them based on this review and other web searches – thanks! You saved me at least $70 based on what my credit union would have charged me in a slightly higher exchange rate and higher fees. It was really easy to set up the account, make CanadianForex a payee in my bank bills, and the transaction took no longer for the money to be sent as it would have if I tromped down to my credit union. Less hassle, less cost, friendly staff – all make this my new service to wire money from Canada to the US.

  12. henry says:

    Two issues with CdnForex:
    1) I found out their rates are NOT the best.
    2) It takes a whole week to receive the proceeds.

    Just for testing I decided to give Knightsbridge a try. They are way better than CdnForex in these 2 aspects, but they introduce 2 new issues:
    1) no web access (you check rates and book deals by phone)
    2)only receive funds by wire transfer into BMo account, so it costs me $25 to wire them USD from RBC across the street.

    So neither is ideal… big discovery.

  13. Jon Ackerman says:

    Candianforex is great, great, great!!!!

    I used them after a recommendation from my aunt. Sent some money back home to Bristol. My funds arrived in two days. They had the best exchange rate of all the other FOREX services I compared. I saved about $110 compared to my bank.

    JA

  14. Susan McLoughlin says:

    I really appreciate all the comments as I am talking to CanadianForex right now. I am definitely giving them a try. 2.45 point difference with bank right now. Never mind the fees.

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