Why are wire transfers in Canada so expensive compared to Europe? The simple answer I've seen is because bankers are crooks, but I find that this oversimplifies the situation — I don't believe bankers in Europe are particularly nicer than their colleagues in Canada. To transfer money between my Swedish and Dutch bank accounts, I pay nothing. I pay a small monthly fee for my Swedish credit card, and of course I pay nothing to simply obtain information through internet banking. By comparison, an the Royal Bank of Canada, outgoing wire transfers within Canada start at 20 CA$, and fees for Alterna, include 30 CA$ for a wire transfer, 5 CA$ for an ATM inquiry, and Search for items, deposits, names, accounts... is 5 CA$/item (although I'm not quite sure what that means). It's not cheaper in other credit unions, such as the Finnish Credit Union or The Energy Credit Union.
Why does it cost so much, and where does the money go?