International Money Transfer Over 10,000: Here’s What You Need To Know

Diane Rekker

If you need to send a large payment of over CA$10,000, you’ll want to know the best way to make your transfer to avoid excessive fees, and keep in line with the law. Maybe you’re buying a new holiday home overseas, and need to send a downpayment, or you’re transferring money to a family member who lives abroad. In either case, you want to know your money is safe, and your payment won’t cost any more than it has to.

This guide covers all you need to get started. We’ll look at:

This article will focus on personal payments, rather than business transfers.

Let’s get started.

How can you send a large amount of money internationally?

You have a number of different options when it comes to sending large payments overseas. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so doing a bit of research in advance is the best way to make sure you get the best for your needs. Here are some pointers to get you thinking.

Bank transfer

Sending an international transfer using your regular bank is a familiar and usually relatively simple option. However, you’ll want to look closely at the fees and exchange rates offered by your bank as these may not be the best available.

Make sure you check:

  • What upfront admin fees you need to pay
  • The exchange rate being used - compare it to the mid market rate using an online currency converter to see if there’s a markup
  • SWIFT fees which may be deducted by your own bank, intermediaries used to process the payment or your recipient’s bank


Another option, if you’re travelling in and out of Canada is to simply use cash. In this case you’ll need to think about cost and safety, to decide if this is practical for your situation. If you have a large amount of Canadian dollars, for example, but want to deposit them in a bank overseas, you’ll still need to pay for currency exchange at some point. At this stage, you may still need to pay admin fees, or face a marked up exchange rate which means conversion is more expensive than you expect.

You’ll also need to consider how you can transport large amounts of cash safely, due to the risk of theft and, of course, regulations around bringing large amounts of cash into Canada.

3rd party payment provider

A smart alternative is to look for a specialist provider which can help you to send a direct bank transfer for a lower price than your regular bank. Modern online providers don’t have the overheads of brick and mortar banks, and often use newer ways to process payments which cut costs.

Sending money abroad with Wise

An example of a third party payment provider is Wise.

With Wise you can send money to someone’s bank account without your money moving through the SWIFT Network, which is an easy way to save money on fees from intermediary and receiving banks. You can also be sure that your money will be converted with the real mid-market exchange rate, without any hidden markup or fees.

Check out Wise’s transparent fees, and see if you can save!

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How much money can you bring into Canada?

Moving money in and out of Canada is covered under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Suspicious Transaction Reporting Regulations, shortened to PCMLTFA. These rules are enforced by the Canadian Border services Agency, and FINTRAC.

Bringing cash or equivalents

If you’re bringing more than (the equivalent of) CA$10,000 into Canada you’ll need to declare it. This rule applies to Canadian or foreign cash, cheques, travellers cheques, stocks or bonds. In short, cash or anything which could be quickly turned into cash.

It’s perfectly legal to bring more money across the border - but it’s a crime if you fail to report that you’re doing so. You can report in person, by mail or have your courier report for you¹.

Receiving electronic transfers

If you receive an incoming electronic transfer of CA$10,000 or more, it will be reported to FINTRAC and the Canadian tax authorities. In this case, it’s the duty of the service provider - your bank or 3rd party provider for example - to complete all reporting requirements.

It’s worth noting that reporting is mandatory for individual payments of $10,000 or more, or if there are several payments which add up to $10,000 or more made in quick succession. This is to stop people from trying to circumvent the rules by making multiple smaller transfers, which add up to over $10,000.⁽²⁾

How much money can you take out of Canada?

The rules for taking money out of Canada are similar to those for bringing money into the country. If you’re taking $10,000 or more in cash or equivalents out of Canada, you’ll have to declare it when you are at the airport, by visiting the CBSA office before security. If you’re travelling by land, boat or rail, you’re required to visit the closest CBSA office to make your declaration before you leave¹.

In the case of electronic payments, your payment provider will make the necessary reports when you send $10,000 or more overseas². This will involve a report to FINTRAC and the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency), to guard against tax evasion. More on CRA reporting, below.

Do banks report deposits to CRA?

The CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) manages the collection of tax for the Canadian government and many provinces and territories³. Since 2015, all banks and 3rd party providers which handle international payments have had to report transfers of $10,000 or more to the CRA at the same time as they report to FINTRAC⁴.

There’s no need for individuals to do anything extra to make sure all payments made by electronic transfer are properly reported. This is the responsibility of the service provider. You’ll only need to report personally if you are carrying cash or equivalents in or out of the country, as outlined above.

Receiving money from abroad with Wise

You can not only send money with Wise, but you can also receive it. With Wise you can receive money in 2 different ways:

  1. Someone sends the money to you via an international money transfer, made with Wise, and you receive the money in Canadian dollars on your Canadian bank account
  2. If you need to receive money in US dollars, euros, British pounds, Australian or New Zealand dollars, or Polish zloty, you can open a multi currency account with Wise, and receive the money in a balance in one of those currencies. You can than exchange the money to Canadian dollars, whenever you like

See if you can save money with Wise

What are the tax implications when you bring more than 10.000 into Canada?

In itself you should not be subject to taxes for moving money in or out of Canada. However, if you have not properly paid your taxes or made the relevant declarations you may find you’re subject to fines or have an additional tax bill to pay.

There are fines for failing to report when you bring cash or equivalents in or out of Canada. You could find your money is seized, and you’re fined up to $5,000 to get your property back¹.

It’s also important to note that FINTRAC and CRA reporting is designed to stop criminal activity - including illegal tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance². If you’re sending money out of Canada and have not properly declared it - if it’s income or capital gains for example - this will show up when your service provider reports the payment to CRA. The CRA will follow up and you’ll wind up with a tax bill, penalties or legal proceedings.

Similarly if you’re receiving a large windfall from overseas, it’ll be reported. If it is taxable for any reason, you can expect the CRA to know about it - check the rules and report payments to stay on the right side of the law.

Tax is always complex, so take professional advice if you’re not sure how to comply with your duties and obligations.

In most cases, taking larger amounts of money in or out of Canada should pose no problems, as long as you’re transparent about reporting payments, and have properly filed and paid all your taxes.

You can make sure your cross border payments don’t cost more than they need to by selecting the best provider for your needs. Choose a currency service like Wise for safe, fast international payments, using the mid-market exchange rate.

Sources used for this article:
1.CRA - Travelling with CA$10,000 or more
2.About reporting for Electronic Funds Transfers
3.About the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)
4.CRA - Electronic Funds Transfer reporting
*All sources last checked on May 4, 2020

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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