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I live in Canada but earn USD that gets deposited into a US bank. Every month, I use XE to convert the funds to CAD and plop them into my Canadian account; this takes about 5 business days.

The exchange rate at XE isn't spectacular, so I am investigating using Norbert's Gambit to cut costs. The part that I'm stumbling on is getting the USD across the border into my Canadian brokerage account in a timely manner.

- Depositing a US cheque to a Canadian bank/brokerages normally forces a hold of 21 days (or more).
- Wire transfer is fast, but expensive and awkward to manage.

Does anybody know tricks that could help me out?

I find it sad that the fastest way to move money is to take cold hard cash from the US bank and walk it across the border...

Thanks,
Dan.
 

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Bank of America

You can withdraw money from Bank of America chequing accounts at ScotiaBank locations in Canada free of transaction charge due to the Global ATM Alliance. There are lots of Bank of America in the US and lots of ScotiaBank in Canada.

From what I read, Bank of America will convert your USD to CAD at an institutional rate and charge a 1% conversion fee. That is better than 2.5% conversion fee charged on credit cards. This should be significantly cheaper than wiring the money and converting them at XE.com. Nice hard cash is withdrawn from ScotiaBank ATM instead of below 49th parallel.

I hope this will a viable solution for you. For larger amounts (10k+ minimum), the big 5 banks foreign exchange desks should be accessible and cost less than 1%.
 

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I live in Canada but earn USD that gets deposited into a US bank.
Due to restrictions imposed by the Patriot Act, a lot of US banks are closing accounts of people who don't have a US address -- even American citizens living overseas. If you don't have an address in the US, having your paycheque deposited in a US bank might not be a sustainable solution.

Would it be possible to have your paycheques direct-deposited into a US dollar account in Canada such as TD's Borderless account, and then whenever you need Canadian dollars you could transfer from the Borderless account to a CAD account at TD?
 

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being a longtime practitioner of the gambit and related strategies, and considering that you mention you are paid regularly in USD, it might be worth while investigating whether bmo's harris bank US subsidiary can speed things up, ie break the 21 day hold on each US deposit, if you were to open a bmo online brokerage account here in canada.

the bmo online system for practicing the gambit is seamless, ie the best for frequent norbertsiae, although bmo itself is probably not aware of this advantage. It's a question of their mainframe system. This is able to accept & execute the 2 rapid-fire stock orders without any phone call or human intervention whatsoever. It's my experience that the short-sell side, which in your case is the side that will produce the CAD, will proceed regardless of whether the selected stock is available to short at that moment or not. This consideration is perhaps not urgent in the sense that rimm/rim, and also potash, are highly liquid interlisted stocks that are nearly always available for shorting. Nevertheless it is a consideration that is worth discussing in advance with a senior bmo investorline representative if one is contemplating a bmo account.

the standard requirements apply to bmo online accounts, which is that a client needs a 100k account, or 30 trades per quarter, to earn the reduced 9.95 commish per trade.

tdw is also a good prospect for norbertsiae. Client would have to phone to request the journal, but phone call is not urgent so can be done later in the day (a norbertsi travelling USD to CAD would short first in the canadian account, then buy long in the US, then phone to journal.)
 

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You can probably get your bank to reduce the 21 day hold for a US cheque deposit if you are making regular deposits. I've personally seen the guy infront of me at a BMO deal with this situation. He persisted and got the manager involved, who eventually allowed the cheques to be cleared faster since the guy was doing it regularly.

I couldn't hurt to try.
 

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TD Bank

Thanks for all the hints everyone.

I found out that TD Bank (USA) can bill-pay to TD Waterhouse. The account for free bill-pay requires a $100 minimum balance to waive monthly fees, so this looks like a very fast and cheap option.... if I can actually open an account there. I'll look at the TD borderless and BMO equivalent if that doesn't pan out.

I did have my local credit union accepting the cheques without hold, but got tired of driving to the branch all the time. I want it all: fast, cheap, convenient. ;)
 

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You can probably get your bank to reduce the 21 day hold for a US cheque deposit if you are making regular deposits. I've personally seen the guy infront of me at a BMO deal with this situation. He persisted and got the manager involved, who eventually allowed the cheques to be cleared faster since the guy was doing it regularly.

I couldn't hurt to try.
I'll second this suggestion. We don't have holds placed on cheques deposited on any of our accounts. You can get your bank to waive the hold requirement. Of course, this depends on how much leverage you have with them but it wouldn't hurt to try.
 

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I have power-of-attorney for my 98 year old father. He has $20,000 in US dollars at Bank of America.
Can I just e-transfer it over to my CIBC US-Dollars account?
Will the IRS be interested or want to tax this in some way? How about our CRA?
Should i just drive over the nearest border crossing and get it in cold hard cash, at a Bank of America branch? Could my spouse hold $10,000 and me the other $10K ? I know the US restricts amounts over $10K.
He is a Canadian citizen, but did work in the US years ago (left in 1967). He does collect Social Security money because he had worked there.
 

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E-transfers won't work across International boundaries as far as I know. Wire transfers will and is the only way I'd move that money. Not only that, it cannot go to your account. It has to go to an account in your father's name per your duties as a POA. You cannot, should never, co-mingle funds.

There are no IRS or CRA restrictions on moving cash and no border restrictions on the amount of cash/cheque/draft crossing the border. Only that any amounts in excess of $10k CAD entering Canada or $10k USD entering USA must be declared at the border. The risk is not being able to convince the border agent the money is clean. It could be impounded/seized until they get sufficient paperwork that the money has not been obtained in nefarious ways.

A wire transfer automates the declaration process but the receiving bank should be told that a wire transfer in the approximate amount of Z is coming from US institution Y on about week of Z for the purposes of XX, e.g. re-patriating bank funds from a prior life in the USA.
 

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E-transfers won't work across International boundaries as far as I know. Wire transfers will and is the only way I'd move that money. Not only that, it cannot go to your account. It has to go to an account in your father's name per your duties as a POA. You cannot, should never, co-mingle funds.

There are no IRS or CRA restrictions on moving cash and no border restrictions on the amount of cash/cheque/draft crossing the border. Only that any amounts in excess of $10k CAD entering Canada or $10k USD entering USA must be declared at the border. The risk is not being able to convince the border agent the money is clean. It could be impounded/seized until they get sufficient paperwork that the money has not been obtained in nefarious ways.

A wire transfer automates the declaration process but the receiving bank should be told that a wire transfer in the approximate amount of Z is coming from US institution Y on about week of Z for the purposes of XX, e.g. re-patriating bank funds from a prior life in the USA.

Ok thanks, this really helps. The CIBC US-dollars account is in his name.
I was leary of crossing the border with that much cash. It has not been obtained in nefarious ways, but how do you convince a border agent? And if you say, "nothing to declare" and they happen to search you, they're going to be suspicious. Wire transfer seems the best option.
 

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You can also write a cheque drawn on the source US bank account. The trick here is to not cross the border with the written cheque (since that is transporting > 10k in monetary instruments). Don't mail it either.

Instead, pick up the pen and write the cheque inside Canada. Deposit it to the destination account in you father's name. This is an appropriate method where you are personally handling the cheque and not transporting it across the border. I have routinely done this with amounts such as 20k.
 

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You can also write a cheque drawn on the source US bank account. The trick here is to not cross the border with the written cheque (since that is transporting > 10k in monetary instruments). Don't mail it either.

Instead, pick up the pen and write the cheque inside Canada. Deposit it to the destination account in you father's name. This is an appropriate method where you are personally handling the cheque and not transporting it across the border. I have routinely done this with amounts such as 20k.
May try that too. Thanks James4beach !
 

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When I moved money from my eTrade (US based) account I had them send cheques. Generally the amounts were in the $5K to $12K range and I never had trouble receiving them or depositing to my Canadian bank account. I had friends with the same type of eTrade account that set up EFT to their Canadian accounts and said that it worked fine for them.
 
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