A closer look at Tangerine and Desjardins for sending money abroad from Canada

Piyush Singh

While sending money abroad can be stressful, it doesn’t have to be so. We shall take a look at two popular financial options in Canada - Tangerine and Desjardins. Tangerine stands out for its fully online platform and lower fees, while Desjardins offers multilingual services throughout Canada, including Quebec.

This article will explore these options, helping Canadian consumers make an informed decision. For those looking for an alternative, we'll also introduce Wise, a platform without the currency conversion charges that banks might be charging you.

We will be looking at:

Comparing Tangerine and Desjardins for sending your money abroad 💰

When choosing the right internatinoal transfer method for you, it would help to take a look at how Tangerine and Desjardins handle currencies other than Canadian dollars.

100% Online Or Physical Branches?100% Online²Physical Branches³
Types Of Bank Accounts OfferedChequing, savings, GIC etc.Chequing, savings etc.
Foreign Currency Transaction Fees2.5% of the amount, added to the exchange rateThey charge fees that vary according to transaction
Account Fees Charged?No⁴No⁵
Inactivity/Dormancy Fees Charged?Yes⁴Yes⁵
Account Closing FeesNo⁴Yes⁵
Transfer Limits$25,000/day⁶$5,000/day⁷

As you can see, Tangerine has the benefit of having less fees and being upfront about them. They also have higher daily transfer limits and offer 100% online banking, which can be a benefit or a hindrance depending on your preferences.

However, Tangerine does not offer wire transfers. The only way to use your money internationally with Tangerine would be with their credit card, and a bank account or with a money service business such as Wise

To hold money in USD with Tangerine, you would need to open a USD savings account with them.

Desjardins has the benefit of the ability to exchange many more currencies compared to Tangerine. They also have physical locations and online options, making them a bit more flexible.

Based on this information, Tangerine seems to be the better choice for limited banking with fewer fees, while Desjardins is the better choice for travellers.

Based on this information, Tangerine seems to be the better choice for limited banking with fewer fees, while Desjardins is the better choice for travellers, but with more fees to consider. Let's take a deeper dive! 👇

Foreign currency transaction fees at Desjardins💱⁵

International And Foreign Currency TransactionsFees (In CAD)
Exchanging CAD For USD (Buying And Selling)Free
Exchanging CAD For Other Currencies$3.50
Sending Funds Or Foreign Currency Within Canada$2-$15
Sending Funds Or Foreign Currency To A Desjardins AccountUp to $7.50
Sending Funds Or Foreign Currency Outside Canada$4-$15
Receiving International Funds Or Foreign Currency
  • Less than 50 CAD: Free
  • Over 50 CAD: CA$ 15

While these variable fees may be overwhelming, it’s important to consider and calculate what your typical global spending habits would cost you over a week, month, year, etc. You can also use Desjardin’s currency converter10 to get an idea of what your day-to-day costs with them might look like.

Exchange rates used by Tangerine and Desjardins💸

Since Tangerine operates with CAD and USD, the exchange rate between these two currencies are as follows:

Tangerine Exchange Rates (as of 4/23/2024)⁸ at 11:42 AM

Country/CurrencyBuying RateSelling Rate
USA (USD)1.3891.344

Exchange Rates at Desjardins (as of 4/23/2024)¹ at 11:04 AM

Country/CurrencyBuying RateSelling Rate
USA (USD)1.33411.4082
UK (GBP)1.62921.7583
Australia (AUD)0.84010.9289
Denmark (DKK)0.18620.2063
Euro(zone) (EUR)1.40141.5221
Hong Kong (HKD)0.16580.1852
Japan (JPY)0.008530.00918
Mexico (MXN)0.075440.08541
Norway (NOK)0.11830.1312
New Zealand (NZD)0.76190.8590
Singapore (SGD)0.92601.0872
Sweden (SEK)0.11960.1326
Switzerland (CHF)1.45421.5523

As you may have noticed, Tangerine has a higher buying rate and a lower selling rate compared to Desjardins for USD. If your transactions are only in USD, this could be a big factor in your decision.

But, as previously mentioned, if you’re looking for more than just CAD and USD in your transactions, Desjardins is the better option between the two.

How does Desjardins determine their exchange rates?

This is a quote directly from Desjardins' website on the question, “How is the exchange rate established?”9 :

“The exchange rate used is the real time market rate. Exchange rates are updated live between 7:30 AM and 5 PM on business days. When the markets are closed (before 7:30 AM and after 5 PM on business days and on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays), Desjardins Group's Treasury increases the spread between the current buying and selling rates. The spread is readjusted once the markets open.”

Put simply, Desjardins uses real time market rates as part of their exchange rate. The ‘spread’ mentioned refers to the additional amount you would pay through the exchange rate, when converting currencies.

On the other hand, Wise offers a mid-market exchange rate (the same one you often see on Google) with no spread, commissions or hidden fees to worry about. But that’s not all Wise has to offer.

Simplify your international finances with Wise 🌎

Now that you know all the important details of Tangerine and Desjardins, let's talk about Wise. Founded by two Estonian businessmen in 2011, Wise is a global financial technology company that aims to make international money transfers more affordable and transparent for its users.

One of Wise's most significant advantages is its multi-currency account, which allows users to hold and convert money in more than 40 currencies. This happens without hidden fees or markups – just the mid-market exchange rate that you see on Google.

Another benefit of Wise is that it offers account details in over 40 currencies, including CAD, USD, GBP, EUR, and SGD. This makes it easier for users to receive money from abroad without having to worry about high conversion fees.

Similar to Tangerine, Wise is a 100% online platform that can be accessed through your computer or smartphone. You wouldn't always need a bank account to be able to use their features. You can top up your multi-currency account and send money abroad in a few clicks, and in complete security.

Unlike banks, Wise follows a pay-as-you-go pricing model. This means you only pay for the services you use, with no hidden fees or unexpected charges. There are no currency conversion fees, account opening/maintenance/closure fees, or inactivity fees – making it a cost-effective option for sending and receiving money internationally.

With Wise, you can send money to over 160 countries at the mid-market exchange rate. This is different from banks or other financial institutions that often add hidden fees and markups to their exchange rates, resulting in a higher cost for the user. With Wise, what you see is what you get – no surprises or hidden charges:

Please see the Terms and Conditions for your region and visit our pricing page for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information on Wise products.

So which Canadian bank is the best for international transfers?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Different banks offer different services and cater to different needs. It's essential to consider your specific requirements and compare them with various bank options before making a decision.

However, it's important to note that a traditional financial institution like Tangerine or Desjardins may not always be the most cost-effective option when it comes to sending money abroad. Wise can offer a more transparent and affordable alternative.


  1. Desjardins
  2. Tangerine
  3. Desjardins
  4. Tangerine
  5. Desjardins
  6. High Interest Savings Canada
  7. Desjardins
  8. Tangerine
  9. Desjardins
  10. Exchange rates - Currency notes | Desjardins

Sources verified on 13 May 2024

*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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