One of the safest, most efficient ways to move money from your account into someone else's is to send a wire payment through your financial institution.
Wire payments between Canadian financial institutions are protected by a strong legal framework that enables trusted near real-time payments across Canada. This gives you an extra layer of confidence and security, which is especially important when you're dealing with a large amount of money or a time-sensitive situation.
When sending or receiving a wire transfer for business or personal matters, it is important that specific and complete information is provided to the sending financial institution.
Our framework doesn't cover wire payments sent or received through cash stores or other money transfer businesses. If you have questions about wire payments offered by those businesses, you should contact them.
How to send a wire payment through your financial institution
Contact your financial institution to find out whether they offer wire payments. Financial institutions may charge service fees for sending or receiving wire payments. It's a good idea for you and the recipient to confirm the amount of service fees and decide who'll cover them ahead of time.
Your branch needs the following information about the recipient:
- name as spelled on the account
- financial institution information, including:
- account number where the funds are going (excluding spaces and special characters)
- the branch name and address (including postal code)
- the branch's routing information (3-digit Canadian financial institution number and 5-digit branch transit number)
- the financial institution's SWIFT Business Identifier Code if available
- the amount of the payment
- the value date (YY/MM/DD format)
- who will be paying the service fees (you, the beneficiary or both parties)
If the recipient gives you the routing information, you can verify the information for most Canadian financial institutions in the Financial Institutions Branch Directory.
SWIFT Business Identifier Codes (BICs) identify financial institutions and provide payment routing information in a standardized format that's recognized worldwide. BICs are also called SWIFT codes, since they're used by the SWIFT system for international wire transfers. BIC/SWIFT codes are available free of charge on the SWIFT website.
How your wire payment will travel
The recipient's financial institution will receive the wire payment message via Lynx, Canada's high-value payment system. They will deduct applicable fees and use the information in the payment message to deposit the payment in the recipient's account. Often, this happens in near real-time. The payment is final once it is in the recipient's account, and the recipient can use the funds immediately.
To learn more about wire payments, check out Module 06 (Large Value Transfer System) of our educational video series – the Learning Exchange.
How can I find out if my financial institution offers a wire payment service for customers?
You should contact your financial institution and ask if they offer this service.
How much does it cost to send or receive a wire payment?
Each financial institution sets its own fees for the products and services they offer to their customers. You and the recipient of your wire payment should contact your respective branches for fees for sending or receiving wire payments.
What time of day can I request a wire payment, and how fast will my branch send it?
Each financial institution has its own opening and cut-off times for customer wire payments. You can also ask how soon after your request they'll be able to send your wire payment.
What about international wire payments? Can my Canadian financial institution send one for me?
Yes, Canadian financial institutions can send and receive wire payments in many different currencies. Check with your financial institution to see if you can send a wire payment to a particular country. For some countries, sanctions apply.
I have a question about a wire payment I sent or received – who should I call?
Contact your own financial institution. They're in the best position to look into the situation for you, and answer your questions.
What if I make a mistake?
One of the key benefits of wire payments is that once the funds are in the recipient's account, the transaction is final and irrevocable.
But, if you've made a mistake, you should contact your financial institution right away. They're in the best position to tell you what your options are.