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I am currently living in Canada and have funds in a savings account with a Canadian bank. Say I decide to move back to the US, how could I move those funds to a US bank account with as little loss as possible? Is this kind of transfer taxable? FWIW I am a US citizen.

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  • What currencies are involved. Are you starting with CAD in Canada, and hoping to end up with USD in the US?
    – Alexander
    Mar 14 '18 at 6:37
  • I would recommend TD's cross border banking. Their websites are god awful, but they let you wire money across the border in USD, without wire fees or forced conversion
    – Alexander
    Mar 14 '18 at 6:38
  • The usual answer for USD / CAD is Norbert's gambit.
    – Eric
    Mar 14 '18 at 11:14
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My solution when I lived in Singapore was to open an account with HSBC, who at the time also had branches in the US.

When I was home, I used the same debit card, and the bank only charged a nominal currency exchange fee (since it never had to leave their system, it was lower than had it left their system).

Another option, though slightly more costly, is to use Paypal.

A third option is to cash-out in CAD and convert to USD at a "large" institution - the larger your deposit/conversion balance, the better the rate you can get.

To the best of my knowledge, this shouldn't be taxable - presuming you've paid the taxes on it to start with, and you've been filing your IRS returns every year you've been in Canada.

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Hands down, the BEST absolute way is Transferwise. Google "100 USD to CAD" or the reverse. This will give you the actual, universal exchange rate at the moment.

Now go to transferwise to initiate a transfer. The will use this EXACT rate and only add a very small fee from $3-$5 for ACH, Wire, etc..

If you used a bank, they would charge a percentage based on their exchange rate. You will pay about 4-6%. So a $500 transfer just cost you $20-$30 or MORE. Also if you have a "US Bank Account" with a Canadian bank, you still pay the inflated transfer fee and don't get the universal rate. Debit card use has a fee and a terrible exchange rate.

Transferwise is a revolutionary service and I can assure you there's no cheaper way to transfer. I'm a huge fan!

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  • Transferwise is an ok service, but other similar services like OFX and XE Trade are cheaper.
    – Eric
    Mar 14 '18 at 11:13
  • So you have experience with these services, yes? Can you provide actual transfer rates, vs actual listed exchange rate for OFX and XE where you've transfered USD to CAD? OFX and XE will not give a rate without signing up but I'm readying fees for OFX in the $10-15 range, 2-3x of Transferwise. And XE hides the rate in the exchange rate. For instance a 1.29 rate vs. 1.3 rate a difference of .01 on a $500 transfer will already cost me $5. Transferwise, without registration already tells me, today it's gonna cost me $4.72 to transfer, which is a deal they likely won't match.
    – Danny K
    Mar 15 '18 at 20:45
  • I've posted a comparison in other answers. Transferwise also hides a fee in the exchange rate, but, more deceptively, introduces a fee in the final step whereas XE and OFX do not. Without the fee, Transferwise is the cheapest of the three. With the fee, it is the most expensive. Other users have recently suggested Revolut where it is available or just plain wire transfers in the source currency (I.e. Not letting the sending bank convert) can be extremely close to the spot exchange rate, much better than any of these three services.
    – Eric
    Mar 15 '18 at 21:45
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Personally, I've used OFX (previous named USForex/CanadianForex) in the past to move money from USD to CAD. This was on multiple occasions and I had no hassle each time. The amount ranged from about $100USD to upwards of $3500USD. Once you have all the banking information set up correctly in their system and you initiate the transfer, they'll call to confirm the numbers/details so that the transfer can be approved. Typically about a week to transfer everything across and I believe it was a few dollars in fees each time.

I've responded to a similar question about going from CAD to USD (linked here), so I won't copy/paste the same pros/cons list. The only thing to add is this was about a year ago, so I can't affirm that everything is just as simple as when I used it.

Another option that may be cheaper, or at least faster, would be to go through cryptocurrency exchanging. If this isn't something you've done before, it's probably not a viable option due to learning/overhead involved. This may also require multiple steps if the service doesn't let you cash in via CAD and cash out via USD. Plus, it could cause some confusion with taxes since it'd be the same as buying property in CAD and selling it in USD (legally, that's how the government sees it). Again, I'd advise against this if you're not experienced with it.

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