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So I'm moving to the US in august porting a J-1 visa for a year long exchange program. I need to take money with me and currently, all I have is a Brazilian banking account and an international credit card; the problem with using Brazilian credit cards or prepaid cards like VTM for currencies other than BRL is that you pay a shitload of fees (6.38% per transaction plus usual ATM fees), so I'm not considering that as an option.

Another option I think I'm discarding is an international transfer to an US account. I currently don't own one and I'm not sure I can get quick access to on once I arrive at the States (so I could ask for some relative to make the transfer).

So I'm searching for better options for taking money around and I'm considering these:

  • Take cash with me and hold until I can get a bank account (or try using something like simple.com);
  • Take cash with me and deposit it to a prepaid card with low fees (like Bluebird, GoBank, T-Mobile, etc);
  • Try to get a student deal on a Brazilian VTM issuer in order to get lower taxes (heard it's possible, but not sure about it).

Is there any good option in this case? I got to keep in mind that I need a solution that's sustainable for a whole year (so some fees that would be acceptable on a short trip may be out of question, since I'll be living on budget).

Disclaimer: I did a quick search and didn't find any question with the same premises as mine so I'm creating a new one. If I missed something please point me to the answer.

  • If the answer helped you, please +1 it. If you think I've answered your question by providing you with the reasonable options you have, then please mark it accepted. – Flak DiNenno Jun 22 '14 at 23:32
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  1. International bank like Citibank or Chase:
    • deposit your funds while still in Brazil
    • deposit might take time to be available/clear:
      • cash should be immediate,
      • checks may take 1-4 days, depending on amount
    • they will be available in the states.
    • you can have friends or family deposit more funds for you in Brazil if needed, and they will show up in the US in a few days.
  2. Paypal:
    • Connect your local checking or credit cards to a PayPal account - this may take 1-3 days to verify, but it might be instant
    • Advantages are that you can fund your account (i.e. Bitcoin purchases with EITHER a checking account or credit card)
    • funding/withdrawals/payments should be free if you are pulling cash from checking account
    • funding/withdrawals/payments should be about a 2.3% (much lower than your 6.38% Brazilian credit card directly) if you are pulling cash from a credit card
    • order a (free) PayPal ATM/debit card
    • get cash at almost any ATM in the U.S.
  3. Use Western Union to send the money from Brazil to US (3rd most expensive)
  4. International Wire as you have mentioned (2nd most expensive)
  • About PayPal: I already have the banking account and credit card linked to it and use it frequently here. Sadly, the fee I mentioned is for any international transaction through credit card; for debit (banking account), AFAIK PayPal won't let you do international transactions. – Fuad Saud Jun 20 '14 at 20:40
  • what do you mean? Paypal is global. You should be able to hook up a Brazilian bank account to it, a Brazilian credit card, and an American bank. Then once you fund your Paypal account, you should be able to "push" that money to any other account that's linked to your PayPal account. – Flak DiNenno Jun 20 '14 at 20:45
  • in addition, once you fund the paypal account, you should be able to use the PayPal ATM/debit card in the US... it's an international ATM network/card. It doesn't care where the $$ originally came from, b/c the money is now in PayPal... which is global/internet-based. – Flak DiNenno Jun 20 '14 at 20:46
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    Oh, I'm sorry, I think I deleted some text from the comment before submitting. What I meant was: you can't do international transactions with money that was transferred from your banking account. But for what I found out during a quick search now is that PayPal here won't even let you transfer money from you banking account; the only way to get it there is by "selling something" and get paid trough PayPal, or even through an internal (PP to PP account) transaction. I'll try looking into it with more detail soon. – Fuad Saud Jun 20 '14 at 20:56
  • Mod Note: I'm cleaning out this comment thread, it is getting a bit cantankerous and accusatory. Suggest moving the discussion about the relativity merits/problems with bitcoin to chat. – JohnFx Jun 23 '14 at 0:24

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