UPDATE April 2021
Canadian bank draft sent on March 10, 2021 by postal service from Victoria, BC to Germany, arriving Frankfurt Airport March 17, 2021, then held up in customs (?), finally arriving April 7, 2021, in Berlin – 21 business days. Not too bad ! My son who lives in Europe told me that some mail took up to one year. Therefore – it is apparently not a good idea to do any international money transfer to any countries [the United States may be the exception ?], but rather transfer funds online. In the end, transfer costs may amount to the same.
When sending a bank draft by Canada Post, special delivery for tracking purposes, WARNING – during the world wide pandemic lock downs occur that may include postal services. My bank draft mailed via Canada Post on March 10 to Berlin, Germany, has never arrived, yet.
One thing I learned, (besides “you cannot really trust any bank”) unless you spend hours researching on the Internet how money (or funds) are transferred from point A to point B, and more importantly – what extra charges are taken by each INTERMEDIARY BANK in between your bank (point A) and the payee’s bank (point B). Remember, your own bank, even if it is the largest, will not disclose this to you. You will have to dig deep for it.
CASE IN POINT. Each year I need to transfer income tax payments to Europe, where I started working, having had income, contributing to the government social insurance, and now receive a small pension. Back to banking business: What is the best and cheapest way to pay these annual amounts ? As my online bank account does not allow certain money transfers which are commercial – especially to a large government – my Canadian Bank must do this for me. My bank advertises a fee of C$6 for any amounts under $1,000. [ https://www.rbcroyalbank.com/banking-services/international-money-transfer.html ]. What they forget to mention is, that the funds may first go to an INTERMEDIARY BANK in Europe. That bank may take another hefty fee. While my bank here in Canada will not be responsible for any extra charges, once the transfer has been processed. In my case, for a small amount for under C$1,000, the bank in Europe charged an additional Euro20, equal to C$30 m/l. That is too expensive. [ https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/062515/what-difference-between-correspondent-bank-and-intermediary-bank.asp ]
Buying a draft in Euro currency at my bank and then mail to the (government) recipient in Europe would cost me: C$8.50 for an amount under $1,000 funds. [ https://www.rbcroyalbank.com/banking-services/bank-draft.html ]. Sending this bank draft by mail probably needs special secure mail. Check this out: [ https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/bank-draft-td-canadatrust-royalbank-rbc-bmo-cibc-canada-banking-cash-cheques-1.4457823 ]. From Canada international, better use registered mail and hope for the best. [ https://www.canadapost.ca/cpc/en/personal/sending/letters-mail/registered-mail.page ]