Scotiabank International Transfers: Everything You Should Know

Byron Mühlberg, writer at
Feb 10, 2023
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Among the most prominent Canadian banks and one of the country's "Big Five," the Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) boasts a nearly 200-year history in the banking industry. Today offering a wide range of banking services, Scotiabank serves more than 25 million customers from over 3,000 branches, not only in Canada but across the world.

Despite the bank's affordable reputation, however, when it comes to international money transfers, in particular, Scotiabank remains rather expensive for those who are interested in keeping their costs low.

As you'll see, while the bank does charge a (relatively) low fee of C$1.99 on all transfers abroad, this fee comes over and above a hidden exchange rate margin fee, which, when combined, can amount to more than 4% of your entire transfer amount.

What Will Scotiabank Charge You?

Unless you've arrived in Canada very recently, all international money transfers made using a direct deposit with Scotiabank will be subject to a C$1.99 transaction fee. This is a type of fixed fee that applies to all transfers abroad from Canada, regardless of the destination country or currency.

If you're a newcomer to Canada, having received your permanent residence in the country sometime during the past three years, you'll be entitled to send money abroad without having to pay this transaction fee as part of the Scotiabank StartRight program.

Global Transfers with Scotiabank: Beware the Hidden Fees

While the fees on international money transfers with Scotiabank may appear to be small or non-existent, they are, in fact, anything but:

This is because when you send funds abroad with Scotiabank, you'll be paying a hidden fee in addition to the disclosed transaction fee. This fee, known as an exchange rate margin, is "charged" every time you pay Scotiabank's exchange rates on foreign transfers, which are ever-so-slightly worse than the real exchange rate, known as the mid-market exchange rate. The bank then pockets this difference as profit on the service.

While Scotiabank's hidden exchange rate margins are indeed considerably lower than those of some other Canadian banks, such as CIBC, they can nevertheless be quite high, hovering anywhere between 2% and 3.5% of your transfer amount.

The Costs Combined

While not the most expensive as far as traditional banks go, Scotiabank's exchange rate margins taken in combination with its standard fees on wire transfers leave its international money transfer service a rather expensive choice indeed.

For example, if you sent C$750 to a friend in India, Scotiabank would charge you C$18.17 in total fees on that transfer (C$1.99 in transfer fees plus C$16.18 in exchange rate margin fees). While certainly cheaper than many other Canadian banks out there, this transfer with Scotiabank would still amount to around 2.4% of your entire transfer amount!

Take a look at the examples in the graph below to get a better idea of how Scotiabank's fees are broken up, and what you might expect to pay when you send money abroad:

Amount Transferred




Exchange Rate Margin Fee




Fees & Commissions




Total Cost




Total Cost (%)




Quoted: 05/11/2020 at 12:00 +01:00 GMT

Compare all your options and save upwards of 95% in fees:

Global Transfers With Scotiabank: Other Fees to Anticipate

After paying the unavoidable transaction and exchange rate margin fees when sending abroad with Scotiabank, you may find yourself subject to further fees still. Depending on your individual circumstances, these additional fees might include:

  • A C$4.50 fee for transferring money abroad in-branch or over the telephone, by fax, or by mail;
  • A C$5 fee for requesting optional advice from Scotiabank staff on how to instruct your transfer;
  • 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 Scotiabank Right for Your International Transfer?

Without a doubt, Scotiabank is an all-around reliable choice as an everyday banking partner. Especially as a newcomer to Canada, you'll be able to rely on Scotiabank's reasonable pricing and scope of service, supported by its nearly two centuries in the industry!

And while the fees Scotiabank levies on its international money transfers aren't, all told, too bad, if you're somebody who values saving money on every transfer you send abroad (as well as having your recipient receive more), then there are other considerably cheaper options out there for you to consider.

As such, if you'd like to keep your costs down, then we'd advise that you explore your options on the many low-cost currency exchange services out there, and discover which one might offer you the best rates. For this, we'd recommend trying out our comparison engine to get the job done freely, quickly, and simply!

To get a better picture of how Scotiabank's foreign exchange services weigh up against those of a few of the low-cost currency exchange services mentioned above, see how the services compare on a C$250 transfer to India in the table below:



Received (INR)

Payment Option


1-3 days


Bank transfer

See more


≈ 2 days


Bank transfer, credit/debit card



≈ 1 day


Direct bank payment, bank transfer, credit/debit card



Same day


Direct bank payment, credit/debit card



Same day


Credit/debit card


Quoted: 05/11/2020 at 12:00 +01:00 GMT

Find cheaper ways to send money internationally from Canada:

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