As a Canadian citizen who often needs to change back and forth between CAD and USD, the common options are usually the banks and the airports.

To save on high conversion fees (a.k.a wide spreads ), is it legal to use my online brokerage like Interactive brokers to do this conversion..i.e transfer from a CAD chequing account to IB account, convert to USD, and then transfer the USD to a US chequing account.

Is it illegal?


If the broker is providing the service to you then it's highly unlikely that it's going to be illegal. Normally the more pertinent question would be "do I need to declare anything for tax reasons", which you may want to check - particularly if you are profiting from the transfers. You may also want to check the terms & conditions of your agreement with Interactive Brokers, but I'm sure they are taking a spread profit on your FX transactions and would be quite happy for you to continue doing this.

Moreover, there are services which specialize entirely in this type of financial transfer (for example, XE.com), so it's certainly not illegal.

  • The spread on fx is tight. Also, if I sell cad and buy usd, how do I calculate profit for tax purposes? It is not like I sell cad,buy usd and then sell usd to buy cad. It is a one way transaction, so I don't think I can calculate profit.
    – Victor123
    Nov 16 '14 at 17:41

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