Scotiabank international money transfer: Fees, options and transfer times (2024)

Adam Rozsa

Scotiabank’s personal customers can make outgoing international money transfers via three options. In this article, we’ll look at these three options by Scotiabank and the corresponding fees and transfer times for each method.

As you’d expect, there are some costs involved in making an international transfer with Scotiabank, so it’s a good idea to research in advance to minimize fees. You may save money by using a new transfer service like Wise. But more on that later.


Does Scotiabank charge for international transfers?

Scotiabank’s rates vary depending on the specific circumstances of the transfer, and your account terms and conditions.

Apart from the transfer fees itself, it is essential to mention exchange rates and other additional fees, as they are all contribute to the fees you'll pay when transferring money internationally with Scotiabank. Let’s have a look at them!

Scotiabank international transfer fees

Western Union online transactions and the Scotia International Money Transfer service have a fixed fee structure:

  • Western Union: 5 CAD +1% of the transfer amount¹ (≈ 3.7 USD+1%)
  • Scotia International Money Transfer: 1.99 CAD¹ (≈ 1.47 USD)


How much does Scotiabank charge for wire transfers?

Scotiabank’s international wire transfer fee can vary branch by branch.

For this reason, they aren’t published by the bank – that means you have to visit your branch to even find out what your wire transfer will cost you.

Scotiabank exchange rates

As well as any flat fees applied, you need to know the exchange rate that’ll be used for your transfer.

In case of Scotiabank, a currency exchange rate is added to in addition to the transfer fees.⁴

Plus, on average, banks and money transfer providers often mark up an exchange rate by 4-6% to make money on converting your currency.

Western Union also clearly states on their own website that “in addition to the transfer fee, Western Union also makes money when it changes your dollars into foreign currency”⁵.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to compare the exchange rate you’re offered with an online currency converter to find out how much your international transfer is really costing you.

Additional fees from Scotiabank

Wire transfer

If you’re carrying out your transfer through a bank branch via a wire transfer, it’ll usually be processed using the SWIFT system.

That means that there can be as many as 3 banks involved in the process.

These banks might add their own flat fees to the transaction on top of anything Scotiabank applies. Because the other banks involved decide their own fees, Scotiabank can’t tell you exactly what other charges there could be before you place your transaction.

Western Union

The Western Union page holds a lot of small print explaining possible extra fees: “Additional services may change the total amount it will cost to send your money transfer.”⁵ One additional fee can be, which Western Union calls as an Agent Fee:

“The transfer fees and the money Western Union (or its Agents) makes when it changes your dollars into foreign currency may vary based upon the payout currency that you select. Some Western Union Agents may offer receivers the choice to receive funds in a currency different from the one you selected. In such instances, Western Union (or its Agents) may make additional money when it changes your funds into the Receive selected country.”⁵

See a summary of Scotiabank’s international transfer fees here:

Scotiabank fees (wire transfer)Scotiabank fees (via Western Union)Scotia International Money Transfer fees
Incoming international transfer15 CAD or 15 USD (depends on the currency received)³Not availableNot available
Outgoing international transferNot disclosed⁴5 CAD+1% of the transfer amount¹

(≈ 3.7 USD +1%)

C$1.99¹ (≈ US$1.47)
Additional feesIntermediary bank fees³

Currency conversion fees (if sending to a different currency)⁴

Currency conversion fees (if sending to a different currency)⁴Intermediary bank fees³

Currency conversion fees (if sending to a different currency)⁴



A cheap and transparent alternative: Wise

At the end of the day, all the international transfer fees, currency conversion fees and other fees can really add up. However, if you need to send or receive money from abroad, you do have other options.

For example, you might save yourself a lot of money and time by using a specialist service like Wise.

Our mission is to build instant transfers for everyone, everywhere.

That’s because Wise offers fast, secure international money transfers, using the mid-market rate, with only a small transparent fee applied. There are no hidden fees, currency markups or any additional fees⁶ – you may save up money compared to some other providers.

Find out for yourself if you can get a better deal with Wise:


How do you make an international transfer with Scotiabank?

There are three ways of arranging an international transfer with Scotiabank: you can either use bank wire transfers, send money through their Western Union service, or use the bank’s International Money Transfer feature. In this segment, we are going to look at these options and how to make an international transfer with them.

Wire transfer

If you arrange a wire transfer with Scotiabank, your funds will go directly to the recipient’s bank account, so you’ll need some details about where your money is headed. Exactly what you have to provide will depend on where you’re sending money to, but you can expect to be asked for the following:

  • The transfer amount and currency
  • The full name, address and account number of the person you’re sending the money to, as written on the account
  • The full name and address of the bank you’re sending money to
  • The recipient’s IBAN if you’re sending to Europe
  • The SWIFT/BIC code or routing number if you’re transferring to the US

Western Union

Scotiabank also offers international transfers online through Western Union. You can make Western Union transfers online by using their app, or using the Scotia Online service if you register your account for internet banking first.

This is how you send a Western Union Money Transfer with Scotiabank:

  1. Select “Transfers” on your account page
  2. Choose the option “Send Money Internationally”
  3. Now, select the option “Cash pick-up”
  4. To complete the transfer, review the details and follow further instructions.

It is important to note that the recipient needs to visit a local Western Union branch to pick up the money personally.

Scotia International Money Transfer

As the second option, you can use a service called Scotia International Money Transfer. This is how you send an international money transfer with Scotiabank using your computer:

  1. From the “Accounts page, click on “Transfers”.
  2. Select the option “Send Money Internationally”.
  3. Choose the option “Bank deposit”.
  4. Add a contact or the details of the person you’d like to send the money to.
  5. Now, choose the account you’d like to use to complete the transfer.
  6. Confirm the details to complete the transfer.

Alternatively, you can also use Scotiabank’s iPhone or Android mobile app:

  1. On the main screen of the app, tap “Transfers” first.
  2. Choose “Bank deposit”.
  3. Add a contact or the details of the person you’d like to send the money to.
  4. Now, choose the account you’d like to use to complete the transfer.
  5. Enter the desired amount of money you send.
  6. Confirm the details to complete the transfer.

This table summarizes what are your availability options with Scotiabank and the maximum amount you can send as the sender of an international transfer:

Scotiabank (wire transfer)Scotiabank (via Western UnionScotia International Money Transfer
AvailabilityIn personOnline or in personOnline
Maximum amountMore than 10.000 CAD (≈ 7.400 USD)Online: Up to 999.99 CAD¹ (≈ 740 USD)

Branch: Up to 7.499 CAD¹ (≈ 5.550 USD)

Up to 10.000 CAD (≈ 7.400 USD)
💡 You can use the Scotiabank calculator to figure out the costs involved in your online bank transfer if you choose to process the transaction through Western Union. However, the small print specifies that the costs calculated are indicative only, and could change⁵.


How long do international transfers take with Scotiabank?

Generally, it takes about 1-3 business days for the funds to reach the recipient through an international wire transfer with Scotiabank², and it takes around 2-4 hours with Western Union¹, however, this can vary depending on agent availability, branch opening times – as the recipient has to pick up the cash in person. With Scotia’s International Money Transfer service, it can take up to 5 days to receive money¹.

This is how long international transfers take with Scotiabank, depending on the method:

Scotiabank (wire transfer)Scotiabank (via Western UnionScotia International Money Transfer
Transfer length1-3 business days²2-4 hours¹Up to 5 business days¹


How do I receive a wire transfer with Scotiabank?

To receive funds into your Scotiabank account safely, you’ll need to give the sender the following:

  • Your full name and address
  • Your bank’s name and address
  • Your account number and SWIFT/BIC code

Unlike some European countries, Canadian banks don’t use the IBAN system, so it’s especially important to give the correct SWIFT/BIC code and branch address.

You should also agree with the sender, who’ll pay the charges associated with the transfer. Scotiabank will charge you 15 CAD or 15 USD (depends on the currency received)³ to receive the funds, and you could also find that there are flat fees added by intermediary banks. This can mean you end up with much less money than you expected.

💡 Need to receive local and international business payments? The Wise Business account could save you time and money.

Some key features of Wise Business include:
  • Better visibility and organization of business finances. This is helpful for account reconciliations and audits
  • Major local account details for a simple one-off fee to receive international payments with ease
  • No monthly account fees or minimum balance requirements
  • Receive payments from e-commerce platforms such as Amazon or via Stripe
  • Create invoices using the free Wise invoice generator or invoice templates
  • Accounting integrations, including a QuickBooks Bill Pay connection
  • Batch payment options. Fast payment of up to 1,000 people

Discover the difference between
Wise Business vs Personal

Does Scotiabank use Zelle?

The mobile payment app Zelle is currently not available with Scotiabank.

More questions around your transfer with Scotiabank?

If you need a bit more help with your transfer, you can always log into your online banking, or talk to Scotiabank directly:

  • Find your nearest Scotiabank branch to get help in person
  • Give Scotiabank a call - 1-800-472-6842

Making an international transfer shouldn’t be too much of a headache, as long as you watch out for hidden fees. However, because your regular bank isn’t necessarily the best place to go to send money abroad, it’s worth doing your research in advance, so you can choose the best service for your needs. With a bit of advance planning, you can avoid or minimize the fees involved, and get the best possible deal on your overseas transfer. For example, you can also take a look at Wise, and see if you get a better deal.

Learn more about Wise

  1. Scotiabank - Money Transfers
  2. Scotiabank - How long does it take to receive an International Money Transfer?
  3. Scotiabank - Bank Account Related Fees
  4. Scotiabank - Day to Day Banking Companion Booklet
  5. Scotiabank - Calculate & Send
  6. “Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing: Only Pay for What You Use for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.”

All sources checked on 4 November 2022

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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