Best way to send money from Canada to Brazil?

As some may know, I have written a children’s book. Several people have offered to translate it into different languages. Most of them are in Canada, but one is in Brazil.

I would like to send an honorarium of a hundred bucks or so as a thank-you for each translator. (It’s not a long book with many words; the vast amount of the work went into the pictures…)

If this takes place, I can send money to the domestic translators via cheque or Interac transfer.

However, what is the best way to send such a medium-size amount of money to Brazil from Canada? I can think of several:

  • Mail cash. Pros: easy to send and usable on receipt. Cons: can be stolen. Need to get Brazilian cash.
  • Mail cheque. Pros: easy to send. Cons: Who knows how long it will take to get there? Can a Brazilian bank even deposit a foreign cheque? If so, how long will it take to get back through the banking system to Canada? Until it clears, it represents a liability hanging over my bank account.
  • Wire transfer. Pros: fast. Cons: expensive. I sent one once from Canada to Finland about twenty years ago and I remember it costing around $25 then.
  • Western Union money transfer. Pros and cons: unknown. I have never used Western Union. Is it expensive? Fast? Does the recipient need a bank account?

Any ideas?

You can try PayPal’s Xoom service, or you could use Western Union. The recipient does not need a bank account for those. I’ve tried to use Xoom, but since I’m in China, they won’t send the money. Western Union online doesn’t work here eitehr, but I’ve had no problems with WU either in the US or in other countries besides China (here you have to go in person to the bank for WU). The rates aren’t bad, although I don’t recall what they are. Xoom is an online service; Western Union is online if you set up an account, or you just go to one of their locations, many of which are in supermarkets. You just need to know the recipient’s name as it is on their government-issued identification document and the country where they will pick up the money.

Thanks! It looks like WesternUnion and Xoom will both send from Canada to Brazil. But… both my personal and business bank accounts have international sending options that will send to Brazil! This must be a relatively-new service… although I haven’t needed it much before so maybe I just haven’t noticed it.

I had a look at the report on your website from Jackie Brown Books.

I just have to say, I would be very… very… cautious about working with a company that’s asking you to pay $3,500 to help you to publish your book, with no guarantee that it actually will be published. It looks to me like they are ripping you off.

The idea of book looks great, and I’m impressed with the artwork, but keep in mind that it’s in Jackie Brown’s financial interest to say good things about it.

Perhaps you would be better off approaching a reputable mainstream publisher.

Western Union has an online fee calculator on its website:

Seems they’d charge a fee of $5 (CAD) to send $100 from a Canadian bank account to a cash recipient in Brazil. Plus, to get an idea of the “real” cost, you’d need to keep in mind that WU also makes profit on the exchange rate they apply. OTOH, I doubt you’d be able to get much better rates elsewhere.

I use Wise for this kind of thing. They charge a relatively low fee and use the mid market exchange rate (the rate you’d see on a Google search.)

As an example.

$100 CAD
-$0.25 direct debit fee
-$3.12 transfer fee
$96.63 CAD converted at 4.29811

Recipient gets $415.33 BRL

The downside is that you have to set up an account with them, so it might not be practical for one-off payments. Their fees to send to Brazil actually seem fairly high compared to transfers to other countries. (I pay about 5.00 NZD to transfer $1000 to Australia for example).

You can go to their website to play around with conversions and so on.

Interestingly, they have a price comparison and one of the comparisons is cheaper than they are, go figure. So you might like to look into Remitly as well.

Not entirely a sarcastic reply.
I have to wonder if a person well versed in tax law could somehow write off all or a useful portion of a trip to Brazil to deliver this money and also somehow frame it as a business oriented meeting with the person there?
It is winter here in Canada.
Does it being an honorarium preclude any such shenanigans.

I used to do this for my job. In our case, the end users were mainly ex-pats sending money back home, including a lot of domestic help so not large dollar amounts at a time. Delivery options varied by country & our partners but credit to your account & cash pickup was pretty much universal but sometimes an option was limited by a company in a country (ie. WU might not do acct credits in a country where we did.) Philippines would do courier cash delivery & credit to mobile (like Google/Samsung/Garmin/Apple Pay) more than a dozen years ago & back when everyone still used flip phones!
It’s typical for the company facilitating the transfer to make their money thru some combination of both fixed fees & on the exchange rate; if one’s lower the other is higher.
Western Union was our most famous competitor but I know that Citibank has (had?) this service also to give you another place to look; there are others out there, too.

Y’know, a practically-mandatory part of having a book translated is for the author to immerse themselves in the culture. How can the author expect to know if his translation captures the local idiom if he doesn’t spend time on the waterfront there, playing checkers with old men, flirting with young women, and listening to the locals?

A minimum of two weeks at a nice beachfront hotel, meals and car rental should be deductible.

I had the opportunity to go to Brazil for work twice. Once was as you described.
The second time, not so much. Had to abandon my bunk in the workers barracks when fire ants decided to cross my bed to abandon their flooded nest. Torrential jungle rains.
So many burning bites.

Thanks for all the replies. :grinning:

Re: a trip to Brazil… No-one will be going anywhere anytime soon, alas; my next big in-person thing (if it happens) will be the Esperanto convention in Montreal in August. By which time I expect to have the Esperanto translation long completed… if I get a zoom call with Brazil before that, things will be going well.

I may apply to exhibit at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival in June; it is both virtual and physical this year, and I think I’d just do the virtual. So no travel at that time.

It looks like my bank has a lower-cost option to send internationally; I may try that when the time comes.