I am moving overseas due to work. As part of the move I need a bank account in the country I am going to live in, and then I will need to transfer the money that I have in my U.S. account(s) to the new account.
However, right away I am very surprised at the costs involved. It appears that it could cost several hundred or even over a thousand dollars just to move money between my accounts. This is using one of those search tools that is searching for the best deals. (And in case it matters, this is mostly money from the sale of a previous home that we are saving and planning to use largely in buying and furnishing a new home in the destination location, so it is a rather large amount!) If I was moving money within the United States I would ACH and it would not cost me anything and it would be done within 3 days. If I was in a hurry I would wire the money and it would cost me $30 regardless of the size of my account. So I am looking for the best way to move money that does not charge a percentage on the amount the be moved, but charges a fixed rate.
There is also the matter of the exchange rate. Many years ago when I visited a friend in Canada they advised me to avoid the "money exchange" sites along the border and instead to exchange the money at a local bank which would give me a much better rate - I think it was only a few pips or the difference between the bid/ask spread on the currency exchange. But now when I look at the possibility of opening an account that will automatically convert incoming wires like this, I read that banks are now somehow the most expensive charging up to 5% (!) above the mid-market rate. To me this just seems like robbery!
Another idea I had was to buy a cash settled FX future and hold it until delivery. Then I get the ask price and pay the pips over the bid price and only pay a buck or two to my broker for each contract. But I am not at all clear on the terms, and it appears that cash settled may actually mean that I would get an amount back in dollars based on the change in price until expiration, and I may be confused or having wishful thinking in comparing FX with commodities that you can take physical delivery on. Even if it delivery the destination currency, I am not sure how I would actually take delivery (the broker doesn't seem to offer foreign currency amounts any more) or get it to a new account.
What is the cheapest way that I can transfer my funds overseas to my new account so that I don't immediately take a large loss just in fees and conversion rates? The money does not need to be moved particularly fast, and can open an account with whoever I need to in order to facilitate this.