RBC Royal Bank international transfer: Fees, rates and transfer time

TransferWise content team
6 minute read

Sending money overseas can be a daunting task. Every bank has different processes and requirements — not to mention the fees.

Knowing the ins and outs of international money transfers (sometimes called wire transfers) at your bank is the best way to ensure a smooth, painless transfer. But you may also find that using an alternative provider, like TransferWise could save you much more than you realize. But more on that later.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about making an international money transfer to or from Canada’s RBC Royal Bank. You may be surprised to see that in RBC

an International Money Transfer and an international wire transfer are two separate things.

A quick example before we get started.

A theoretical online bank transfer sending C$1000 from Canada to a pound sterling bank account in the UK.

Provider Fee Exchange Rate Total Cost
RBC (Canada) C$13.50 Exchange rate + markup C$13.50 + exchange rate markup + likely fees from intermediary and recipient banks
TransferWise C$8.43 The real exchange rate - the same one you find on Google C$8.43

(Source 1, Source 2 29 January 2018)

At first glance, it looks like the fees are fairly comparable.

However, if even a slight fee difference isn’t reason enough to consider an alternative, that isn’t taking into account any exchange rate markup — on average a spread of an additional 4-6%. In addition, there are normally 1-3 intermediary and recipient banks who also charge fees.

Those costs start adding up. Fast.

To make sure you really know what you’re getting before you commit, compare the exchange rate you’re being offered with an online currency converter to find out how much your international transfer is really costing you.

What are the fees for an International Money Transfer or international wire transfer with RBC in Canada?

RBC international transfers Regular fees
Incoming international transfer Free for C$50 and underC$17 or USD$17, depending on the currency of the incoming payment, if over C$50
Outgoing international transfer C$13.50 if sent via International Money Transfer (RBC online banking and mobile app)Starting at C$35 if sent via wire transfer
Additional fees may apply See Additional Fees section below

(Source 29 January 2018)

RBC Royal Bank exchange rates

RBC Royal Bank usually allows you to specify the currency you want your recipient to receive his or her funds in. However, sending or receiving money in a currency different than what’s in your account means that either the recipient bank or an intermediary bank will convert the currency at an exchange rate that it chooses. That rate will oftentimes be 4-6% poorer than the mid-market rate - the rate you see when you do a Google search for the exchange rate - allowing the bank to make a profit on the transfer.

Even though normally intermediary or recipient banks do the exchange, if RBC Royal Bank does it, it offers a daily list of exchange rates on its website, but does note that “exchange rates are subject to change at a moment's notice.” For the most up-to-date exchange rates offered by RBC Royal Bank, you’d have to contact your local branch, and then compare current rates to the mid-market rate (using an online currency converter)

In fact, RBC openly notes that the exchange rate they offer customers includes a markup - something they call a spread:

> Usually, when a client completes a transaction it is for an amount smaller than US$5,000,000 and as a result, a retail rate is applied. This rate includes a spread added to the interbank rate to account for market movement between when the client transaction is completed and when smaller client amounts can be accumulated and traded on the interbank market.

(Source 29 January 2018)

Additional fees

International transfers can have some additional fees, like these:

RBC Royal international transfer Additional fees
Recipient bank and/or intermediary bank(s) fees when sending money abroad RBC Royal Bank notes, “While RBC doesn't charge the recipient any fees for receiving money, any intermediary financial institution or the recipient’s financial institution may require additional fees or service charges to be paid.”
Cancellation or amendment of international payment Starting at C$25 plus goods and services tax
If an IBAN is not provided for a wire payment going to a country that uses IBANs Additional C$35
Advice on incoming/outgoing wires C$5 by telephone/faxC$3 by mail
Tracing of an international payment Free if not delivered as instructedStarting at C$25 plus goods and services tax if delivered as instructed

(Source 1, Source 2 29 January 2018)

A cheap and transparent alternative: TransferWise

One alternative to making an international bank transfer is to use TransferWise, which lets you send money at the mid-market rate - the same rate you see when you Google it, plus a small transfer fee that’s spelt out upfront. Because TransferWise only moves money through local bank transfers, there are no international or intermediary bank fees.

And TransferWise also offers borderless multi-currency accounts, so users can send, receive and manage money in multiple global currencies all at once. As well as receive personal local banking details for accounts in a handful of currencies.

Give TransferWise a try today and see for yourself how easy it can be to send money.

How do you make an international money transfer or a wire transfer with RBC Royal Bank?

You can transfer money with the RBC International Money Transfer service to almost anywhere in the world. It allows you to:

  • Set up the transfer on the RBC Online Banking or the RBC mobile app
  • Send up to C$ 2,500 per day

However, there are limitations to sending money with the RBC International Money Transfer, such as:

  • You cannot set up the transfer via telephone banking or at the branch
  • The receiving bank needs to be able to accept cash pick-ups for the transfer to be successful
  • You can only use the service with an RBC chequing or savings account. Some restrictions may still apply, so check with your bank if your account is eligible.
  • You cannot use the service to transfer money from a USD denominated bank account
  • You cannot use the service with a High-Interest eSavings account

Should you want to transfer a larger sum of money abroad, you can do so by setting up an international wire transfer instead. This method is generally more expensive, check the ‘fees’ and ‘additional fees’ section for figures.

(Source 22 February 2018)


  • Gather the relevant information for the recipient bank (more on that below)
  • Sign into RBC Online Banking
  • On the right side of the “Accounts Summary” page, under “Quick Payments & Transfers,” select “International Money Transfer.”
  • Follow the on-screen instructions

On the RBC Mobile app

  • Open and sign into the RBC Mobile app
  • Select “Send Money” / “Move Money” and then select “International Money Transfer.”
  • Follow the on-screen instructions.

What do I need in order to make an International Money Transfer or an international wire?

To make an international transfer with RBC Royal Bank, you’ll need:

  • An RBC Royal Bank personal chequing or savings account
  • Access to RBC online banking or the RBC Mobile app if sending an International Money Transfer
  • The recipient’s bank account number, IBAN or CLABE (for transfers to accounts in Mexico)
  • The BIC/SWIFT code of the recipient’s bank. If you don’t know it, an online tool can help.

What should I give to the sender in order to receive an international bank transfer?

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

  • Your full name and address
  • Your 5 digit transit number (including zeros)
  • Your 7 digit account number
  • Your bank name - Royal Bank of Canada
  • Your branch’s address and phone number
  • RBC Royal’s SWIFT/BIC code, which is ROYCCAT2

You can find this information by logging into RBC’s online banking, visiting a branch or calling 1-800-769-2511.

(Source 29 January 2018)

How long does an International Money Transfer or international wire transfer with RBC Royal Bank take?

Typically, international transfers take 2-5 business days to process with RBC Royal Bank. However, transfer times aren’t guaranteed as processing times can vary depending on the transfer destination. Some banks simply process incoming international payments quicker, than others.

(Source 29 January 2018)

Contact / Help - More questions around your transfer?

RBC Royal Bank’s customer support has many options for getting in touch if you have further questions. However, numbers will vary based on your location, so you should check their site for the best option for you.

Armed with the right knowledge, transferring money overseas doesn’t need to be complicated or costly. This information should make it as painless as possible, and help you protect your money by getting the best possible deal.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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