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CIBC International Transfers

As one of Canada’s “Big Five”, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has maintained a fifth of the market share for over 150 years and is seen as a trusted banking institution. One of CIBC’s key strategies is to “build a North American client platform with global capabilities” and this includes providing services which enable customers to move money overseas as easily as making a domestic wire transfer. In this review, we will be looking at how CIBC’s international money transfer services measure up, CIBC’s foreign currency exchange rates, pros and cons and key questions about CIBC.

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About CIBC

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is one of the biggest banks in Canada, with 44,000 employees serving over 10 million customers around the world. In 2017, the bank celebrated 150 years of rich history, paying tribute to their origin as the largest merger of two chartered banks on record in Canada: The Canadian Bank of Commerce and the Imperial Bank of Canada. CIBC is headquartered in Toronto’s Financial District and at the time of writing, has 1,022 banking centres across Canada. The bank’s official institution number is 010.

Can I use CIBC for international bank transfers? 

If for example, you’re travelling abroad and want to exchange for a foreign currency before your travel, you can order your money online before you go. CIBC makes it possible to initiate an international bank transfer. This type of payment is referred to by CIBC as a Global Money Transfer. Customers are able to send money to recipients in over 120 countries and often have cost-cutting incentives for new customers or those who refer a friend to the Global Money Transfer service. Domestic transfers can be set up using CIBC’s Interac E-Transfer service.

CIBC Exchange rates and fees

The overall cost of a CIBC Global Money Transfer is determined by the size of the transfer, the country it is sent to, the currency used and the foreign exchange rates.

Here is an indication of what to expect from CIBC foreign exchange rates and fees when you want to send money abroad or you want to exchange your local currency into a foreign currency.

CIBC Exchange rates

Our research shows CIBC typically charges a profit margin of 2 – 5% for foreign exchange rates, depending on the amount customers are sending, the destination country and currency. This appears to be the standard mark-up applied to exchange rates offered by all Big Five banks in Canada, however, this additional percentage is much steeper than international money providers. 

We always recommend customers compare their options and monitor foreign exchange rates ahead of making any foreign currency exchange or any international money transfer: CIBC makes it easy to do this thanks to the Remi Beta Bot. The CIBC bot can be communicated with via Facebook Messenger, and customers can set up message alerts, to be notified when their foreign currency exchange reaches a favourable exchange rate.

CIBC Transfer fees

Although it states on the CIBC website that there are “no transfers fees” for Global Money Transfers, this is null and void when you consider the mark-ups added onto the mid-market exchange rate offered by the bank. This is one of the reasons why we encourage customers to read the fine-print before using a “free money transfer” as these offers tend to contain hidden international bank fees.

Additional costs

Bank account transaction fees may also apply, depending on your payment method and the recipient’s bank. More information on this can be found here.

How do CIBC transfer fees compare to using a money transfer provider?

Although CIBC advertise “no transfer fees” the mark-up on exchange rates add up to a more costly service than most competitive money transfer providers. To see the difference in transfer fees, check out our reviews of other international money transfer providers.

CIBC Pros and Cons

We have compiled a list of the pros and cons associated with CIBC international money transfers, making it easier for you to compare the services to other providers:

Zero transfer fees
Maximum daily international transfer limit of $30,000 CAD
One of Canada’s Big Five banks: access to top-ranked online and mobile banking, plus one of the largest ATM networks across Canada
Several innovative customer support options including a dedicated Global Money Transfers helpline
Referrals and other incentives for customer discounts
Less desirable exchange rates: 2 to 5% mark-up on the mid-market rate which is substantially more than most other international money transfer providers
Instant transfers unavailable for foreign transfers
CIBC services only available to Canadian residents

CIBC Swift Codes

Answers to key questions about CIBC

In this section we will review the finer details of CIBC accounts, outlining commonly asked questions surrounding their international services.

Can I open a CIBC bank account in any country?

Customers will need to provide proof of a Canadian residential address therefore CIBC products and services are only available for people in Canada.

Does CIBC have an app?

Yes, CIBC has a Mobile Banking app which is widely used and highly recommended. It has been rated 4.1 out of 5 on the App Store and 4.5 out of 5 on the Google Play Store.

Does CIBC have transfer limits?

In order to use CIBC Global Money Transfer services, customers must send at least $100 CAD per transfer. The maximum amount any customer can send within 24 hours is $30,000 CAD. Additional costs may apply when using credit cards as payment.

How long do transfers take with CIBC?

CIBC advises most transfers will be completed by the next business day. However, some customers report delivery times of 2 to 5 business days, depending on the destination country.

What customer support options are available?
CIBC is a traditional, brick-and-mortar bank but there are plenty of digital customer support options as well as the usual support available in-branch. These include:

  • CIBC branch visit: meetings available to book with customer representatives
  • CIBC online services via the website
  • CIBC Mobile Banking app
  • CIBC’s Global Money Transfer Digital Assistant: Remi BetaBot 
  • Free-phone customer support including 24/7 designated helpline for Global Money Transfers

Can I use a CIBC debit card when travelling abroad? 

Yes, although fees may be incurred. Customers will be offered the same standard CIBC exchange rate for foreign withdrawals, as well as an additional fee of 2.5% of the converted amount. Withdrawal fees may also apply, depending on the CIBC account and the country you are travelling to.

Where can you find CIBC foreign exchange rates?

CIBC does not publish its foreign currency exchange rates publicly which is disappointing when compared to the approach taken by many international money transfer companies that guarantee total transparency of foreign currency conversion. However, it is possible to view the CIBC foreign currency exchange rate on the website or in-app, when getting a quote for your Global Money Transfer. Foreign exchange rates are updated each weekday.

How to open an account and transfer money with CIBC

In this section we will outline how to open an online account using the CIBC Mobile Banking app. We will then provide steps to making an online money transfer using the app. 

As one of Canada’s longest-standing banks, CIBC supports several different ways of opening an account: online, via phone or in person. Regardless of which method you opt for, you will be asked for the following personal information to open any CIBC account:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Contact details
  • Occupation
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Proof of Canadian residential address

Opening an account

Step 1: To register for a CIBC Mobile Banking Account download the app from the Google Play or App Store for free and enter your debit or credit card details

Step 2: You will be asked to confirm your identity by providing a contact method for verification; options include phone call, SMS or email

Step 3: Enter the verification code and create a password for your Mobile Banking Account. You may also be asked if you would like to add Touch ID/Face ID for further security verification

Step 4: You will now be logged into your account and ready to make a money transfer

Transferring money

Step 1: Open up the CIBC Mobile Banking app and select Global Money Transfer from the toolbar on the right-hand side This will open up the Global Money Transfer page of the CIBC website as a new window

Step 2: On this page you can enter the amount you wish to send along with the currency your payee will receive the funds in. Once you have entered the money transfer details, you will be able to review the CIBC exchange rate before tapping Send Money, and agreeing to the terms of the Global Money Transfer services

Step 3: Next you will need to provide details of your recipient: you can select from previous payees or Add New Recipient. The latter option will require you to fill in details about the payee’s country, currency, the type of bank account, their full name, home address and bank details. You will be able to add a Memo note as a reference, as well as any Promo Code you may have

Step 4: Review the information in full, and if you are happy with the payment, tap Submit. Once you have submitted your international money transfer, your payee can expect to receive the funds within 1 to 3 business days

Alternatives to CIBC

What are the benefits of using an online money transfer instead of CIBC currency exchange? All transactions are usually completed digitally at one of the best exchange rates available. It is easy to sign up and start sending money right away. You can also do it on the go by downloading the online money transfer provider mobile app or visiting their website. We always recommend using an online money transfer provider as they provide the best foreign exchange rate with low fees.


CIBC offers reasonable international money transfer services for their customers, but they are no match for specialist providers like Wise or WorldRemit. This is because most banks do not work as hard to match the competitive rates offered by international money transfer providers when you want to send money internationally or when you want to exchange to a foreign currency.

Instead, banks like CIBC tailor their services to fit the needs of customers who are looking to arrange international payments through their bank, for ultimate convenience. If you are someone who is prioritising safe, speedy and secure money transfers over convenience, we hope this review has proved informative about the types of international bank transfer fees you can expect. If you want to learn more about how other money transfer companies compare, check out our comparison engine on our homepage.

April Summers

April is a trained journalist and the Content Editor for MoneyTransfers.com. She has 10 years experience writing about a diverse range of subjects, from financial services to arts and entertainment. When she’s not writing about global remittances she can be found daydreaming about her next holiday abroad.