I do business with a few companies in the United States, and as such, get paid in US currency for my services. I have a US account with my bank, but anytime that I make withdrawals from this account, the amount taken for conversion fees is quite painful (to give an example, the dollar was 1 = 1.09 on Wednesday, I got 1 = 1.05 for my transfer to my chequeing account).

So my question is, is there a way to get a conversation rate that is closer to what is actually advertised and/or avoid such fees at all?

  • "closer to what is actually advertised" - advertised by whom? – littleadv May 3 '14 at 18:57
  • How large are the amounts that you want to convert? – Michael Borgwardt May 3 '14 at 22:56
  • @littleadv I usually use xe.com to get prices for currency conversion, seems to be on par to what you find in the business section – canadiancreed May 4 '14 at 4:52
  • @MichaelBorgwardt roughly five grand at one time. – canadiancreed May 4 '14 at 4:53
  • How are you making the withdrawals? – littleadv May 4 '14 at 5:16
up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you want to convert more than a few thousand dollars, one somewhat complex method is to have two investment accounts at a discount broker that operations both in Canada and the USA, then buy securities for USD on a US exchange, have your broker move them to the Canadian account, then sell them on a Canadian exchange for CAD.

This will, of course, incur trading fees, but they should be lower than most currency conversion fees if you convert more than a few thousand dollars, because trading fees typically have a very small percentage component.

Using a currency ETF as the security to buy/sell can eliminate the market risk.

In any case, it may take up to a week for the trades and transfer to settle.

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