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Canada is the second largest country in the world based on land mass and contains several large cities. The capital city Ottowa is only the fourth largest city in terms of population. The cities of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are all larger than the capital whilst Edmonton and Calgary are large population centres with over one million residents.

The Canadian banking system is well established and is regarded around the world as a sound working model of safe and secure banking practices. It is dominated by five large banks who operate all over the world but have a strong Canadian base. The five largest banking operations in Canada are the Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto Dominion Bank, Bank of Nova Soctia, Bank of Montreal and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Other international banks such as HSBC have a Canadian arm but this competes with other national and regional banks that are regarded as second tier. This means that they simply do not have the asset base or the market reach of the larger banks although their service levels are regarded as excellent.

Sending money abroad can be an essential part of life for many people. Anyone emigrating to Canada may need to send regular payments to complete arrangements made in advance of their arrival. People working outside of Canada may need to send money home and others may seek to take advantage of the beautiful location to purchase a home in the country. All these reasons necessitate the conversion of a variety of global currencies into Canadian Dollars.

Banks have long been able to facilitate international currency exchanges but the advance of web based technology has enabled specialist foreign currency providers to enter the market and offer services that compete with more established services. A typical money transfer is based on an exchange rate agreed either as a spot rate of fixed in advance to provide certainty on amounts, there is usually a transaction fee added to the total cost of the transaction. A specialist foreign currency provider is able to use its economies of scale to pass cost savings onto the consumer in the form of lower transaction fees and a better exchange rate. It is usually free to sign up to use the service and all rates and charges are relayed to the customer before the transaction is completed to their competitiveness can be evaluated.

One or two business days are required by users when considering international payments as this is the time transactions usually take to clear. Anyone requiring currency conversion services should factor in this time delay when projecting payment dates and it is financially prudent to engage the services of foreign currency providers to reduce any leakage as a result of transaction costs.