CIBC International Transfers: Everything You Need To Know

Byron Mühlberg, writer at

Byron Mühlberg


Sep 23, 2022
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One of Canada's "Big Five" banks, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) has a strong record of security and service, offering personal, business, and investment banking services to over 11 million customers in Canada and around the globe.

However, despite indisputably offering world-class financial services, CIBC is by no means a cheap service when it comes to standard wire transfers into other currencies. As we'll find out, the bank charges often exorbitant fees over and above a hidden exchange rate margin fee. Combined, these fees can amount to more than 15% of your entire transfer — significantly more than you'd be paying with many of the cheaper alternatives that exist on the market.

What Will CIBC Charge You?

When sending money abroad with CIBC, you'll in all likelihood be using a standard wire transfer to get the job done. Each wire transfer you send abroad comes with an associated fixed fee, the size of which will depend on how much you send. Take a look at CIBC's fee schedule below to see how much you'd pay in fixed fees depending on the amount your transfer:

  • Transfers of C$10,000 or less will incur a C$30 service fee;
  • Transfers of C$10,000.01 to C$50,000 will incur a C$50 service fee;
  • Transfers of C$50,000 or more will incur an C$80 service fee.

International Transfers with CIBC: Beware the Hidden Fees

In addition to the standard fees outlined above, CIBC will also weave a hidden fee, known as an exchange rate margin, into every transfer you send abroad.

In essence, this means that the exchange rate you'll be offered by the bank will be ever-so-slightly worse than the real exchange rate, known as the mid-market exchange rate. It's in exactly this way that CIBC can claim that its international money transfers are free of fees, while, in reality, slipping in a hidden fee that can range anywhere from 1% to 4% of the total transfer amount.

CIBC remains largely vague about this fact on its website, mentioning only that "standard foreign exchange rates apply" to transfers abroad, as well as that "bank account transaction fees" may also apply in addition to these.

According to our analysis of CIBC's exchange rates versus mid-market exchange rates, the bank's hidden fees are anything but insignificant.

The Costs Combined

All in all, CIBC's exchange rate margins taken in combination with its standard fees on wire transfers leave the bank an expensive choice indeed. For example, if you were to send C$750 to a friend in India, CIBC would charge you C$30.00 in wire payment fees and a further C$8.51 in exchange rate margin fees. Combined, these two fees come to more than 5% of the total transfer amount!

Take a look at the examples in the graph below to get a better idea of how CIBC's fees are broken up, and what you might expect to pay when you send money abroad (as of 05/11/2020 at 12:00 +01:00 GMT):

The Costs Visualized

Amount Transferred




Exchange Rate Margin Fee




Fees & Commissions




Total Cost




Total Cost (%)




Global Transfers With CIBC: Other Fees to Anticipate

Over and above the fixed fees and hidden exchange rate margins that you'll pay when making a global transfer with CIBC, there may be other expenses yet before the money arrives in your beneficiary's account. Depending on your individual circumstances, these might include:

  • A C$35 wire return fee if the funds need to be returned to your account for any reason;
  • A correspondent bank fee (typically ranging between C$10 and C$100) if your bank transfer cannot be made directly to your beneficiary's bank.

Is CIBC Right for Your International Transfer?

All things considered, CIBC is indeed a trustworthy and world-class partner for your everyday banking needs. As a customer, you'll be able to rely on a secure and distinguished institution to help you with a wide range of services.

However, when it comes to global money transfers in particular, if you're somebody who values saving money on these often expensive services, then CIBC may not be the best choice for you. Instead, we'd advise that you explore your options on the many low-cost exchange rate providers out there to see which one will offer you the best rates. For this, we'd recommend trying out our comparison engine to get the job done freely and easily!

Similarly, if you're somebody who's looking to send more than C$100 abroad, then we'd strongly recommend you explore your options too. This is because the minimum amount that you can send abroad with CIBC is C$100 — a rather high minimum threshold that doesn't exist in the case of most currency exchange providers.

To get a better picture of how CIBC's foreign exchange services weigh up against those of a few such providers on a C$250 transfer to India, take a look at the comparison table below (as of 05/11/2020 at 12:00 +01:00 GMT):



Recipient Receives (INR)

Payment Option

Cost Overview


1-3 days


Bank transfer

Upon paying

See more


≈ 2 days


Bank transfer, credit/debit card

In advance



≈ 1 day


Direct bank payment, bank transfer, credit/debit card

In advance



Same day


Direct bank payment, credit/debit card

In advance



Same day


Credit/debit card

In advance



≈ 1 day


Cash, debit/credit card

In advance


Find Cheaper Ways To Send Money From Canada

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