CIBC international transfer: Fees, rates and transfer time

12 minute read

Sending money overseas might seem like a simple process. Until you start looking into the requirements, processes, fees — and how they’re different for each bank.

What you need to know if you are researching CIBC’s international transfers is that CIBC has 2 different ways to send money internationally. CIBC offers a product called Global Money Transfers (GMT) for specific countries and for transfers under certain limits. For countries where CIBC’s GMT is unavailable or if you’re sending an amount over CIBC’s transfer limits, you’ll likely have to send an international wire instead.

What you may find, in particular if you can’t use CIBC’s Global Money Transfers (GMT), is that there may be a cheaper way for you to send money through a different service such as TransferWise, in conjunction with your CIBC account — but more on that later.

This blog will cover:

  • What are the fees and exchange rates for sending money internationally with CIBC in Canada?
  • What are CIBC’s debit card exchange rates for spending abroad?
  • How do you make an international wire transfer or Global Money Transfer with CIBC?
  • What do I need in order to make an international money transfer?
  • How long does an international bank transfer with CIBC take?
  • Contact / Help - More questions around your transfer?

What are the fees and exchange rates for sending money internationally with CIBC in Canada?

CIBC has 2 ways of sending money internationally:

  1. A wire, which must be set up in person at your local branch
  2. A CIBC Global Money Transfer (GMT), which can be done online, on the CIBC app, or in a local branch

The pricing between the two can vary quite a bit.

1. CIBC Global Money Transfers (GMT)

CIBC advertises that it transfers money globally — with 0 fees. If your destination currency is on their list of over 50 countries and you’re sending under C$15,000, then you may be in luck.

If you’re sending over C$15,000 or your destination country isn’t on that list, you’ll want to skip to the next section on international wires.

CIBC introduced Global Money Transfers (GMT) in recent years. And, unlike most international transfers, GMTs don’t rely on the SWIFT system. The great news is that CIBC has found a way to connect local bank accounts for many destinations, which means that because they skip the SWIFT system, they likely cut out any intermediary bank fees that you might see when using systems that rely on SWIFT. And this method of money transfer may even speed up the process.

Not all of the usual international transfer costs are cut out with GMT, though. So you may want to dig in a bit.

This section on Global Money Transfers will be split into 3 parts:

  • CIBC Global Money Transfer fees
  • CIBC Global Money Transfer exchange rates
  • CIBC Global Money Transfer total cost and limits table

CIBC Global Money Transfer Fees

Though CIBC advertises that with its GMT product you can “send money globally with $0 transfer fee”, the Global Money Transfer Terms and Conditions note:

CIBC foreign exchange rates apply. A Global Money Transfer and a Foreign Exchange transaction counts towards your allowable transaction limit, bank account transaction fees may apply.¹

This means that your transfer, in rare cases, may not be completely free, depending on your bank account. These bank account transaction fees likely aren’t specific to international transactions, but rather fees that would more likely apply to your specific CIBC bank account, such as overdraft fees.

Further, they note in their CIBC Global Money Transfer Agreement on their website that recipient banks may still tack on costs:

Our fee is non-refundable. Additional fees and/or taxes may be deducted from the GMT amount by the Recipient Bank.²

The good news is that if CIBC is sending the recipient money as a local bank transfer, which they don’t specifically note on their website, but we assume as much, that this should also hopefully cut out the normal fees levied by recipient banks for receiving an international transfer. Which may mean you may not have that recipient bank fee at all.

CIBC Global Money Transfer exchange rates

The thing you’ll most likely want to note is that CIBC says they make money on your Global Money Transfers through the exchange rate they offer.²

This means that CIBC buries charges into the exchange rate they offer consumers — without calling them fees. Banks are quick to say that exchange rates fluctuate. Which is true. But what often isn’t clearly stated is that a bank receives one exchange rate, and then turns and offers consumers a poorer one — pocketing the difference. This is known as a “spread” or “mark-up.”

CIBC’s says this about making money on exchange rates with Global Money Transfers (GMT):

We derive income from the difference (the spread) between the prices we bid to buy and offer to sell foreign currency. Our spreads may differ from time to time across currencies and can widen (without prior notice) due to volatile market conditions for example.³

But how can you find out if your money transfer has a mark-up?

There is an exchange rate that’s fair and doesn’t include a mark-up. It’s called anything from the “mid-market” to the “interbank” to the “spot” exchange rate. It’s like the exchange rate you find when you search on Google. Which means when you compare how much your money is worth by comparing that mid-market rate with the exchange rate you get from your bank, you may see that your fee-free or low cost international transfers often come at a lot more cost than you realized. Whether it’s called a fee or not.

To find the difference between a mid-market and CIBC’s exchange rates for a Global Money Transfer you can follow these steps:

  1. CIBC site: Login to your CIBC account
  2. CIBC site: From the menu, select “Global Money Transfer”
  3. CIBC site: Click “Start Transfer”
  4. CIBC site: Enter the amount you’re sending in CAD and the destination currency and then click “Calculate Total”
  5. Google search: Enter the amount of CAD and the destination currency. Like this: [Amount] CAD to [3-letter currency]
  6. Compare the destination currency amounts from your Global Money Transfer and the amount you see in Google and you’ll get an idea of how much of a spread may be built into the exchange rate.

CIBC Global Money Transfer total costs and limits table

CIBC Global Money Transfers (GMT)Regular fees⁽ⁱ⁾
Minimum amount (GMT)C$100 per transaction¹
Maximum amount (GMT)C$9,999 per 24 hour period¹ (although it may be up to C$15,000 depending on your account)C$6,000 to China at a time¹
Outgoing Global Money Transfer (GMT)No fees¹ + exchange rate spread² + bank account transaction fees may apply¹ + recipient bank fees may apply²
Cancellation (GMT)Once you request us to send the GMT and the funds/fees have been withdrawn from your account you cannot cancel a GMT²

⁽ⁱ⁾ Banks and institutions regularly update pricing, so make sure you double check CIBC’s latest information to make sure all figures are up to date.

2. CIBC international wires

If you’re sending over $15,000 with at one time with CIBC, or you’re sending money to a country that isn’t supported by the Global Money Transfers (GMT) product, you’ll need to send an international wire. The fees are higher for wire transfers.

This section on international wires will be split into 4 parts:

  • A cost comparison example
  • CIBC international wire fees
  • CIBC international wire exchange rates
  • CIBC international wire total costs

A cost comparison example

If you’re sending money to Brazil, which is not supported by CIBC’s Global Money Transfers product,¹ you would need to make a wire transfer — which means you’ll have to go in person to a CIBC branch because wires aren’t available online.

You could, however, transfer the money using TransferWise online and debiting your CIBC account directly without going to the branch.

Sending C$1000 from Canada to a Brazilian real bank account in Brazil.

ProviderFeeExchange RateTotal Cost
CIBC (Canada)C$30Exchange rate + possible mark-up²C$30+ possible mark-up² + likely fees from correspondent and recipient banks³
TransferWiseC$14.78The real exchange rate — like the one you find on GoogleC$14.78

At first glance, the price difference may not seem like much. But when you start adding up possibly poor exchange rates, likely correspondent banking costs, and sprinkle in a chance of recipient bank fees, you may find that your low-cost transfers may not be as good a deal as they appeared.

It’s worth it to do your homework.

CIBC international wire transfer exchange rates

When you send or receive money in a currency different from what’s used at your home bank, it has to be converted somewhere along the line. CIBC states explicitly that they set their own exchange rates,³ but they do not say whether they make money on your international wire transfers through the exchange rate they offer.

This means that CIBC (or whichever bank makes the currency switch in a case where an intermediary is used) could bury charges into the exchange rate they offer you — without calling them fees. To find out if an offered exchange rate is fair or not, search the exchange rate on Google or XE and then compare it to the rate you’re shown. That will help you find out if the deal you’re getting is as good as you’d hope.

CIBC international wire transfer total costs table

CIBC International WiresRegular fees⁽ⁱ⁾
Incoming Wire transferC$15 per transfer³ + possible exchange rate spread² + correspondent bank fees may apply³
Outgoing Wire transferUp to $10,000: $30.00 per payment³$10,000.01-50,000: $50.00 per payment³Greater than $50,000: $80.00 per payment³Possible intermediary banking fees³
Return of wire payment$35 per payment⁵ + Possible intermediary banking fees⁵
Amendment of a wire payment$35 per payment⁵ (which may apply to both incoming and outgoing wire payments) + Possible intermediary banking fees⁵
Recall of a wire payment$35 per payment⁵ + Possible intermediary banking fees⁵
Tracing of a wire payment$35 per payment⁵ + Possible intermediary banking fees⁵

⁽ⁱ⁾ Banks and institutions regularly update pricing, so make sure you double check CIBC’s latest information to make sure all figures are up to date.

Also note that some banks send international transfers through the SWIFT banking system. In contrast to its name, SWIFT transfers aren’t well renowned for their speed. Nor their bargain prices — especially when it comes to small dollar amounts. To send money from one country to another often involves multiple intermediary banks who often levy their own fees. Making your transfers even more expensive than you anticipated.

What are CIBC’s debit and credit card exchange rates for spending abroad?

If you’ve popped into this post not because you’re sending money abroad, but rather spending it with your CIBC card abroad, then you may be looking just for CIBC’s exchange rates when it comes to using your debit card in another country. In regards to their exchange rates for foreign card transactions, CIBC notes:

You are charged the same foreign exchange conversion rate CIBC is required to pay, plus an administration fee of 2.5% of the converted amount in addition to any transaction fees applicable to the withdrawal and the fee noted. Conversion to Canadian dollars may occur on a date other than the date of your transaction. Therefore the conversion rate may be different from the rate in effect at the time of your transaction.⁴

To make sure you really know what you’re getting, compare the exchange rate you’re being offered with an online currency converter or just Google the currencies to find out how much your international transaction is really costing you on the exchange rate side.

The important thing is that you make an informed decision to find out which is really cheaper in the end.

If you’re looking for an alternative, you may want to consider TransferWise

One alternative to making international transfers with your bank is by using TransferWise. TransferWise is a service that allows you to send money at the mid-market rate for a low transparent fee. No guesswork or exchange rate spread calculations needed.

TransferWise’s smart technology sends your money through a series of local bank transfers. Your money generally doesn’t cross any borders, meaning you won’t have to worry about intermediary or recipient bank fees. You can even still pay for your Canadian dollar transfer on TransferWise using your account at CIBC or your CIBC debit card.

TransferWise also offers borderless multi-currency accounts, where users can hold, manage, send and receive money in multiple global currencies all at once, without paying any exchange rate markups. For several regions — like the EU, the UK, the US, and Australia — you can even get your own virtual account details. That means you can receive money locally in several countries without even living there.

Send some money with TransferWise today and see how easy international transfers can truly be.

How do you make an international wire transfer or Global Money Transfer with CIBC?

CIBC offers a few ways to transfer money internationally.

  • Online (Global Money Transfers)
  • CIBC Mobile Banking app (Global Money Transfers)
  • In person at a branch (Global Money Transfers or wires)

CIBC Global Money Transfers can be sent to more than 50 countries. If you need to send money to a country that’s not included on that list or the amount you’re sending is over the limit, you can send a wire transfer. CIBC doesn’t offer international money transfers by phone.

Alternatively, using your CIBC bank account, you should also be able to make your international transfer through TransferWise.


  • Sign on to CIBC Online Banking
  • From the menu, select “Global Money Transfer”
  • Enter the requested information and submit

On the CIBC Mobile Banking app¹

  • Sign on to the CIBC Mobile Banking app
  • From the menu, select “Global Money Transfer”
  • Enter the requested information and submit

In person at a CIBC branch⁶

  • Gather the necessary information — more on that in the next section — and head for your preferred CIBC branch.

By connecting your CIBC account to TransferWise

  1. Visit
  2. Choose the originating currency and amount in the top box and then choose the corresponding recipient currency in the bottom box
  3. To find out how much TransferWise fees will cost you, click on Show fee breakdown
  4. Click the green button Get started
  5. Fill out your personal details⁽ⁱⁱ⁾
  6. Enter your recipient’s information⁽ⁱⁱⁱ⁾
  7. Make sure you’re happy with the cost and exchange rate
  8. On the final step, you’ll have several options to pay for your transfer⁽ⁱⁱⁱⁱ⁾

⁽ⁱⁱ⁾ Especially on your first transfer, you may be asked to verify your identity with an ID, address proof, the reason for your transfer, or even your SSN just like you would when you open a bank account in person at a regular financial institution.

⁽ⁱⁱⁱ⁾ It may be helpful to note that because TransferWise normally sends money through local bank transfers, you likely won’t need international banking details for your recipient. In many instances you can just enter their name and email address and let them fill out the rest. If you are gathering their details, however, you’ll need their local banking details the same information they would give to a friend inside the country for a domestic bank transfer.

⁽ⁱⁱⁱⁱ⁾ The cheapest option overall for you will likely be Direct Debit which occurs by deducting the money directly from your CIBC bank account, but the fastest option will be paying by debit/credit card if limits permit.

For more information, visit how TransferWise works to find out a bit more.

What do I need in order to make an international money transfer?

To make a Global Money Transfer with CIBC, you’ll need:¹

  • Enough funds in your account
  • The recipient’s full address
  • The full name of the recipient’s bank
  • The location of the recipient’s bank, including country, city, province or state, postal code or area code
  • The recipient’s bank account number
  • The reason for the transfer

The info varies slightly if you’re sending money to China. So check out CIBC’s GMT info page for more specifics.

To send a wire transfer with CIBC, you’ll need:⁶

  • The recipient’s full name
  • The recipient’s address (including city, province or state and country)
  • The recipient’s bank account number
  • The full name and address of the recipient’s bank
  • The amount and currency of the transfer

To send an international transfer with TransferWise in most cases all you’ll need:

  • The recipient’s full name and their email address (we’ll send them an email and they can fill out their local banking details from there)

What do I need or what should I give to the sender in order to receive an international bank transfer?

To receive an international money transfer to CIBC, you’ll need to give the sender:

  • CIBC’s BIC/SWIFT code
  • Your account number
  • Your account name
  • Your home address
  • Your bank address
  • You may need to agree with the sender about who will pay the fees associated with the transfer

You can log into CIBC mobile or online banking to find this information, or call 1-800-465-2422 toll free.

How long does an international bank transfer with CIBC take?

How long does it take normally to arrive to the destination account?

Typically, a Global Money Transfer from CIBC will typically be delivered within 1-3 business days. It’s possible their international wires may take more time.

Does the amount of time it takes vary by destination?

Transfer times aren’t guaranteed,² and some countries and recipient banks may take longer to process international transfers. Although, if you’re using Global Money Transfers, it’s noted that on average it takes 1-3 business days for the recipient to access their funds.

Contact / Help - More questions around your transfer?

Still have questions? CIBC’s customer support page offers multiple ways to get in touch with a representative. Numbers will vary based on your location, so make sure you check online to find out the best way to call or email.

Knowing the ins and outs of international money transfers will make the whole process a lot simpler — and can save you money in the end. Protect your money by educating yourself and choosing the best transfer method for your needs.


Source 1 (April 20 2018)
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Source 6 (April 20 2018)

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