The real cost of getting paid in USD for canadians

By Remitbee - Apr 16, 2021

The USD is currently quite strong in relation to the CAD, so Canadian remote workers who are paid in American currency may feel that they’ve lucked out — at first.

However, once you factor in unfair exchange rates from private financial institutions, bank fees and the lack of affordable options for online money transfer, getting paid in USD costs more than it would originally seem. And this is what often happens, whether you realize it or not because direct deposits or checks from U.S. companies are exchanged at the bank that handles it, which means they also handle additional fees off your hard-earned money.

In this article, we’re going to discuss what sort of bank fees Canadians can expect when accepting online payments from the United States, how to find the best exchange rates and where to get the most affordable online money transfer rates.

Getting Paid Across the Canadian-American Border

Since our world has become more digital in recent years, remote work has become more and more popular. The need for social distancing due to COVID-19 has sparked an even greater boom of remote workers.

Equipped with internet access, workers can now work from anywhere in the world, giving companies the ability to hire the best-suited candidates, even if that means they’re across different city, state, country, or ocean lines. Some popular freelance platforms Canadians can earn USD from include Fiverr, Toptal, Upwork, and Freelancer.

Location independence and location flexibility have led to Canadian contractors being hired by American companies. This has also opened opportunities for American contractors to move to Canada and Canadian-Americans to move back up North.

Since contractors aren’t typically paid via automated payroll solutions like employees are, there is a bit more to consider when they are accepting payment for their work.

Finding the Best USD to CAD Exchange Rate

If you are living in Canada but getting paid in USD, you’re going to want to make sure you’re banking with an institution that is giving you the best exchange rate with the most reasonable bank fees.

In order to get a good idea of what the going CAD to the USD exchange rate is, you’re going to want to check the mid-market exchange rate. This is the measure of the current value of one currency in terms of another.

Google has a built-in calculator that lets you know exactly what $1.00 CAD is worth in terms of USD. Simply Google “CAD to USD” or “USD to CAD” and the calculator will appear. You can input different values for either currency to see the exchange rate.

You can take the exchange rate you find there and compare it to different financial institutions and banks’ exchange rates. They change the rates as a way to make money.

For example, if the mid-market exchange rate is $1.00 USD to $1.50 CAD, an institution may quote you $1.00 USD to $1.25 CAD. They would pocket $0.25 CAD on every $1.00 USD.

It is totally normal for these institutions to charge a fee in this fashion. After all, they need some sort of income to keep functioning. You’re not comparing to catch the “discrepancy,” but you’re shopping around for the best rate.

While we’re on the topic of “shopping around,” we’d like to point out that you should also shop around for a bank if your current one is charging senseless fees.

Most banks charge service fees, but if you find your bank charging fees that simply don’t make sense, there is no harm in looking at other options. Check out both local banks and larger chains.

Affordable Online Money Transfer Services

Employees who work from home are typically paid via cheque or direct deposit since they are on the company payroll. However, since contractors are not on the payroll, online money transfer services are typically the go-to for payment.

Popular online money transfer services like PayPal and Stripe come with fees of around 5%. This might not seem like much, but when it comes to paycheques that are in the thousands, you’re looking at losing out on hundreds of dollars.

Services like Remitbee have lower fees and provide an exchange rate that is very close to the mid-market exchange rate. Actually, depending on the amount of money you’re sending and the method of transfer, neither the sender nor the recipient will pay any fees at all!

Again, we recommend taking a look at your options and letting your American client know which your preferred method of payment is so that you don’t get stuck paying hefty fees.

And setting up a USD bank account isn’t as hard as it may seem. Often all you need is to call or head over to the bank you’d like to get an account with and set it up just like that. And if you’re unsure whether you should stick with your existing bank for a USD account or move to another one, here is our list of the 5 best USD accounts available to Canadians.

Setting up a USD account of your own will make receiving USD salary from your employers a million times easier — and simpler!

Once you have one, you can take advantage of Remitbee’s great currency exchange service and convert your salary into CAD at the best rates and without any fees.


Receiving payments in USD as a Canadian can be a bit pricey if you aren’t careful with your choice of bank and money transfer service. However, when you’re intentional about the money transfer service you use and the institution that you bank with, you can make this process a bit more affordable.

Spend some time educating yourself on the options available, and weigh your pros and cons. We’re confident that you will find the bank and transfer service that makes the most sense for your needs.

And if you do choose to use Remitbee’s currency exchange service you can do so confidently, knowing that you’re getting the best possible deal for your money and you’re saving thousands of dollars when converting.

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For a limited time, Remitbee offers a bonus for you. Sign up today, and get 15$ towards your first currency exchange. Simply click on the promo code below!


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