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Moving Money from U.S. to Canada

Discussion in 'Settlement Issues' started by Publius_Cornelius_Scipio, Oct 30, 2019.

  1. I am writing this post as new settlers keep inquire about the most cost-efficient way to convert a large amount of money in USD to a large amount of money in CAD.

    if you do a quick searching online about the exchange rate between USD and CAD, what you would get is the daily, floating exchange rate in the foreign exchange market. Your goal is to convert your USD into CAD by this daily, floating exchange rate[ or by a rate as close as possible].

    If the major concern is cost, remember:
    1. Never ever accepts a USD to CAD conversion by a banker from a retail bank, such as Chase, Bank of America, TD, CIBC. Their exchange rates deviate from the floating daily market rate in the foreign exchange market greatly, for their profits at your expense. Ignore them completely.
      • This also includes my warning against the advice that you should get some CAD from your local bank before landing. Wrong! You don't need to do that at all, just read ahead.
    2. Most if not all online platform charges various fees proportional to the size of the conversion even if their exchange rates are very competitive. Ignore them as there are ways to pay minimum if not zero fees. Or in other words, they ain't cheap enough so get lost.
    3. Never ever do an exchange at foreign exchange stands located often in malls and airports. They are on the same level as retail banks if not worse.

    There are several cost-efficient ways I suggest:
    1. Norbert Gambit: this is a gambit invented, you guessed it, a Canadian called Norbert. Reference. It is especially useful for a large amount of money such as USD 100,000. However, it has some drawbacks:
      • You must have an investment account that allows this gambit in Canada because some accounts do not allow this gambit or at least make doing it very painstaking.
        • If you are a new settler, you have to set up one such investment account, before you can convert. What if you need some CAD between the landing and the conversion? Talk to your banker from a retail bank? Wrong! Never ever engage your banker from a retail bank in the foreign exchange business! This is where I bring up No.2
    2. Set up a checking account that reimburses all ATM fees worldwide and does not charge foreign exchange fees. Classic examples are Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking and Chase Sapphire Checking account.
      • No fee associated with withdrawals of foreign cash
      • Reimbursement for all ATM fees.
        • retain the receipts as sometimes you have to ask them to reimburse due to poor coding of some ATM machines.
          • This mostly happens when you get cash from some 3rd party ATM, rather than ATM operated by a major retail bank such as CIBC or RBC.
      • The exchange rate is very close to the floating market rate if not at the market rate.
      • You have to set it up before you leave. Once you leave and have a foreign address, you cannot open these accounts.
      • You can get CAD wherever an ATM exists. Thus, there is no reason you should get some CAD cash before landing in my view. If you are in real need, just head for the closest ATM after entry.
      • Technically you can go to the extreme and compare the rate offered by various such checking accounts. I suggest you don't bother as the difference in the exchange rates is minimal in practice. But if you choose to do that, be my guest.

    With the combination of the two, I believe you have the most cost-efficient way to transfer funds from the USA to Canada.
  2. I have found transferwise to be most cost efficient rate wise. Unfortunately for larger amounts (above 15k USD) it requires a wire transfer. If you are done with making lots of small transfers, I would recommend it.
    ATMs with no additional surcharge/fee come next, branches come later and last come airport based transfers.

    Only reason why I might go to a branch is to lock down a rate when I expect it go low after sometime.
  3. #3 Hurlabrick, Oct 30, 2019 at 8:52 AM
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
    Another thumbs up for TransferWise. I dont understand the 'wire transfer' comment (perhaps that is something specific to USD transfers?). I have teansferred very large amounts form GBP to CAD ($100k plus) direct to my CAD account and it arrives by internal Canandian direct deposit in 36 hours.

    The whole point of TW and why they can offer full mid money market FOREX rates is precisely because they do NOT actually excgange your money via the FOREX money markets. Instead the keep your money (inUSD or GBP or whatever) and match it with other peoples deposits in their CAD bank account and the pay direct from their CAD bank account to your CAD bank account.

  4. transferwise:
    % fee for transfers up to 100,000 GBP = 0.45%

    for 100,000 GBP, fee is 448.28 GBP (0.45%). The proportional fee structure is the worst when the size of the fund is large, as demonstrated by this example.

    I am going to say, it ain't cheap enough.
  5. Huh?? I have used them for 20+ major transactions over the last 3 years and transferred many $100k's. Works fine for me. The way they get paid is their fee, which is up front and quite transparent. Glad you are pleased with your method, I am pleased with mine.
  6. "most cost-efficient way" "If the major concern is cost,"

    Please understand the context is constrained to the most cost-efficient way, not a method one is pleased with. The former is objective, the latter is subjective. With this understanding, one should not be shocked by my comment. Of course, the discussion would be considered under the context, otherwise, it is off-topic.

    I am interested to provide the most cost-efficient way to a defined audience. If anyone has a cheaper way, I am also interested to modify my post. Please understand I am simply not interested in one's own subjective conviction.

    What one is pleased with is one's own subjective conviction and is not anyone else's business. I hazard, it is again off-topic.
  7. It was your subjective use of the word 'suspicious' that I take issue with.
  8. Do the comparison for yourself and find out, the fees seems upfront but in every occasion I compared it with other modes turned out to be more efficient due to superior rates and no hidden charges.

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