Of August birthdays and money transfers

AROUND the world, more people are celebrating their birthdays this month than any other months of the year. In fact, 19.5% of the population in India and 11.6% of China have their birthdays in August! To those who grew up in Canada, this is the time of the year where cake and candy comes to mind. However, in other parts of the world, many countries have their own long standing birthday traditions that don’t involve a sugar rush.

For the Chinese, many customs often involve auspicious symbols, from the colour red to the lucky number 8; and birthdays are no exception. In China, a bowl of longevity noodles is a staple dish for this special occasion. The longer the noodle, the longer the life-span. It is said the noodle strands should be eaten bit by bit – without biting into it, to ensure a long and fruitful life.

In India, young men celebrate their friend’s birthdays by taking him by the arms and legs, and “bumping” him up into the air with gentle kicks. Similar to birthday punches, the number of “bumps” given equals the age of the person in years plus one “for luck”.

Jamaicans celebrate their loved ones’ birthdays with a tradition known as “flouring” Instead of baking a birthday cake with flour, the flour in thrown in the face of the birthday boy or girl.
For those who live abroad, it’s often difficult knowing that you’re missing out on the celebration back home. As an alternative, many immigrants opt for sending home birthday money as their way of joining in the festivity. In fact, money transfers sent during special occasions make up a large portion of Canada’s global remittance. In 2015 alone, Canadians have sent approximately $24 billion abroad (source: cidpnsi.ca/remittances-explorer).

The challenge for senders, however, is deciding which service provider to trust when sending the funds. The associated costs are of different types – fees, exchange rates, etc., and ease and speed of transfers also vary by banks/financial institutions. It’s important to do a little bit of the homework upfront and know the right questions to ask before choosing who to go with.


Six Things to Consider When You Want to Send Money Home


  1. Is there a transfer fee?

Certain companies charge separate transfer fees, which can make up a large percentage of the money you are sending, depending on the amount you are sending.


  1. What’s the most convenient method of sending money home?

Some companies make transferring money a challenging & unpleasant process. You may be required to be physically present, and also be asked to fill in plenty of paperwork every time you try to make a transaction. Then there are others that offer the convenience of making international transfers straight from your smartphones.


  1. What is the foreign exchange rate being utilized to calculate how much your intended recipient is going to be receiving?
    Watch out for the fine print. Is the exchange rate being calculated at the time when you are sending or when it arrives there? Sometimes a day or two can make a big difference.


  1. How long is it going to take for your remittance to get to your intended recipient?

Much like a courier service, you can pay for next day or it can take a number of days. A premium should be attributed to companies that get your money within a day.


  1. What are the limits on how much you can send?

Sometimes the amount you need to get to your family can be larger than the supplier limit.


  1. Can you trust the company that you are sending the money with?

Check the financial viability of the transfer service provider – is it a stable organization that you are relying on? After all, it is money that you are sending.


The CIBC Global Money Transfer Advantage

These are the questions that CIBC hoped to address when it created the Global Money Transfer Program for their customers. With the changing face of Canada, the bank repeatedly kept getting requests from customers for an affordable and safe way to send money to their native countries. In response to the request and understanding the customer pain points, CIBC decided there would be zero transfer fee for CIBC customers, while offering competitive exchange rates. Between these two factors alone, customers are often saving a significant amount of money. In all cases, the foreign exchange rate is calculated at the time the money is sent. In most cases, money arrives within a day of transmission. No premium is charged for this quick service. Also in response to customer needs, CIBC has one of the highest daily transfer amounts available, i.e., $9,999.99 to India and over other 40 countries ($6000 to China). CIBC takes pride in the convenience our customers enjoy when making a transfer. Whether it is through a branch, online or through your phone, sending money is intuitive & simple. As for trust, CIBC is CIBC. It is one of Canada’s top banks, providing you with the assurance of 150 years of banking expertise.


No matter how you celebrate it, birthdays are great ways to shower your loved ones with gifts and blessings. This month, let CIBC Global Money Transfer help you deliver your best wishes to them.