Personal Finance

How to Transfer money between USA and Canada? (say $5 or $10)

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  • Nov 10th, 2020 12:44 pm
[OP]
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Dec 4, 2003
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How to Transfer money between USA and Canada? (say $5 or $10)

Hi there,

I was wondering what is the best way to (Instant) transfer say $5 or $10 From USA to Canada OR from Canada to USA? I checked Simplii, they said we'll need to use Global Money Transfer that may require additional banking info. Simplii said e-transfer is only within Canada. How do friends transfer small owing amount between them nowadays?
20 replies
Deal Addict
Dec 12, 2009
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HamsterGirl35 wrote: How do friends transfer small owing amount between them nowadays?
Cash in the mail. Thank you card optional.
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May 7, 2012
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HamsterGirl35 wrote: Hi there,

I was wondering what is the best way to (Instant) transfer say $5 or $10 From USA to Canada OR from Canada to USA? I checked Simplii, they said we'll need to use Global Money Transfer that may require additional banking info. Simplii said e-transfer is only within Canada. How do friends transfer small owing amount between them nowadays?
How many trxns we talking about here? Maybe Venmo is worth the try?
Member
Oct 12, 2005
483 posts
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Lower Mainland BC
Transferwise will work decently for this. Fees are reasonable and you don't need to know the recipient's banking info; they just send them an email to receive the money.
Sr. Member
Feb 2, 2007
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GTA
HamsterGirl35 wrote: I was wondering what is the best way to (Instant) transfer say $5 or $10 From USA to Canada OR from Canada to USA? I checked Simplii, they said we'll need to use Global Money Transfer that may require additional banking info. Simplii said e-transfer is only within Canada. How do friends transfer small owing amount between them nowadays?
Another option is Paypal.
Fees, as a percentage, are higher than the alternatives, but at 3% extra you're paying 15 more cents for sending $5.
Jr. Member
Aug 8, 2011
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Vancouver
ejohan wrote: Transferwise will work decently for this. Fees are reasonable and you don't need to know the recipient's banking info; they just send them an email to receive the money.
TransferWise has fixed fees which make this prohibitively expense for such small amounts
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Aug 18, 2005
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The most efficient IME is Amazon.com gift cards. If the recipient doesn't like Amazon, find out what stores they like and get electronic GCs for those stores.
Last edited by Jucius Maximus on Nov 8th, 2020 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Nov 23, 2014
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For small transfers using money transfer services or banks may be expensive as they may have min amount or have fee.May be you can send by Bitcoin or any other crypto from coinbase to coinbase account transfer using the receiver’s account email id
The transaction is instant and zero fee

The receiver can exchange to USD and withdraw to his bank account

Similarly can send btc to cashapp or there are many app/exchange that can convert to USD
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Dragynfyre wrote: TransferWise has fixed fees which make this prohibitively expense for such small amounts
To pay $5 USD, you need to pay $8.85. $5 USD is $6.51 at mid-market rate. Is $2.34 is prohibitively expensive? If you mail cash instead, it'll cost you around that much just for the stamp.
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Aug 8, 2011
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bubak wrote: To pay $5 USD, you need to pay $8.85. $5 USD is $6.51 at mid-market rate. Is $2.34 is prohibitively expensive? If you mail cash instead, it'll cost you around that much just for the stamp.
I would say it is expensive to the point where it's not worth doing in such small amounts.
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Dec 11, 2005
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Venmo or Paypal. Or Google Wallet.

They will charge a 2% - 3% fee but for such a small amount its not relevant.

Or, just have them buy you a Starbucks gift card. Or an Amazon.ca gift card. Or iTunes, etc... something you will use. Easy way to pay with no fees.
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Feb 4, 2019
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I had to send US$15 to someone in the US a while ago. Venmo was their preferred method, tried to open an account but they didn't accept my Canadian phone number or any of the US voip numbers I tried. Ended up sending from my Canadian Paypal account and eating the fee (US$2.12). I pulled the US$ from my US bank account. I think if you link your US bank account to a US Paypal account, you can send for free to another US Paypal account.
Newbie
Aug 28, 2020
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Probably not instant, but there are several options:
- Revolut: CAD -> USD is easy: You can top up Revolut CAD from your Canadian Bank account, exchange to USD at spot rate, then send it to your friend US account. USD -> CAD is a little tricky: Your friend would need to send USD to your Revolut account directly, then you can exchange to CAD at spot rate and transfer out to your Canadian Bank account. The benefit is you can exchange at spot rate during weekday.
- You can open a US bank account (e.g. TD NA Conveneient Chequing account), then you can use any money exchange agency (e.g. VBCE has good exchange rate, not as good as spot rate though) to exchange CAD <-> USD. You can use US bank account to send/receive money from your friend.
See cross-border-us-banking-credit-cards-me ... ad-943374/
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Jan 21, 2018
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Kiraly wrote: This. Or cheque on USD account. Easy peasy and costs only $1.20 for a stamp.
Sending a USD cheque drawn on a Canadian bank with a USD account is not a good idea. Many U.S. banks balk at processing cheques from Canada, coded for the Canadian banking system. Often they charge a high fee to the payee, like US$15. In one memorable case, we sent a BMO USD cheque to a training contractor in Washington DC, who attempted to deposit it in their federal employees credit union. They were charged $250 fees as it was processed through 3 banks, each adding their own ridiculous fee for processing a "foreign" cheque.

If you have an actual U.S. bank account, you can often send money directly to another person's account via ACH for no fee.

In Canada you can pay someone a small amount by paying their credit card using bill payment at your bank. Your bank doesn't care whose credit card it is that you are paying - all you need is the card type and number. Unfortunately that doesn't work between countries. Visa does have a program called Visa Direct that lets you send a payment to someone else's Visa card in another country, but they charge a fee, and the one time I tried it they screwed it up completely. You might be able to do it if you have a U.S. bank account, but I've never tried that - easier to use ACH.
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Scote64 wrote: Sending a USD cheque drawn on a Canadian bank with a USD account is not a good idea. Many U.S. banks balk at processing cheques from Canada, coded for the Canadian banking system. Often they charge a high fee to the payee, like US$15. In one memorable case, we sent a BMO USD cheque to a training contractor in Washington DC, who attempted to deposit it in their federal employees credit union. They were charged $250 fees as it was processed through 3 banks, each adding their own ridiculous fee for processing a "foreign" cheque.
<shrug> Twice a year I write USD cheques on my USD account at Vancity and snail mail them to someone in Seattle who deposits them in her credit union. No fees for either of us. I see the cheque images and the backs have been stamped by 3 different FIs. Seems to work fine for us.
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Kiraly wrote: <shrug> Twice a year I write USD cheques on my USD account at Vancity and snail mail them to someone in Seattle who deposits them in her credit union. No fees for either of us. I see the cheque images and the backs have been stamped by 3 different FIs. Seems to work fine for us.
I have more experience than that, with a few dozen USD cheque recipients using different banks all over the U.S.. Their experience varies widely, all the way from "no fee, no problem" to the $250 fee example I mentioned at the other extreme. My point remains, it's not a good gamble.
[OP]
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gameon12 wrote: How many trxns we talking about here? Maybe Venmo is worth the try?
probably a couple in 6 months?
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HamsterGirl35 wrote: probably a couple in 6 months?
Not worth setting up Venmo IMO. Assuming you can get the currency then mail it? Not illegal but cheapest (postage). Or maybe a friend who has a Venmo account (or other low/no cost setup)? Does recipient accept cash only? Otherwise gift cards?
[OP]
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Dec 4, 2003
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gameon12 wrote: Not worth setting up Venmo IMO. Assuming you can get the currency then mail it? Not illegal but cheapest (postage). Or maybe a friend who has a Venmo account (or other low/no cost setup)? Does recipient accept cash only? Otherwise gift cards?
Thanks :)

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