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Discussion Starter #1
Hi. I've been used to dealing with my local Big 5 Bank for currency exchanges, but I'm really quite curious as to whether there's a cheaper way to transfer USD to CAD (and vice versa). For example, my bank is offering a 1.5 cent spread (1.0696) off of the current mid-market rate on xe.com (1.0848) on a $15K USD transaction. $225? Blech!

Is there a service that I *really* should know about for doing this cheaper? (For example, should I be bothering to sign up with xe.com?) Or do most people just take whatever the bank offers?

Thanks, in advance.
 

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I convert through my broker - Interactive Brokers. They charge a $3 transaction fee and you can enter a limit order or accept their spread of perhaps 0.1%. They do EFT bank transfers in both US and CAD. But it only makes sense if you use them as your broker for other reasons.

What spreads do XE.COM offer?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Right now, my Big5 bank has me locked up pretty tight ... I use their brokerage and portofolio management services exclusively (aside from my company Stock Options, for which I must use ETrade ... blech). I used to be a DIYer, but I gave up on that three years ago when I realized that I wasn't paying as much attention to the individual stocks in my portfolio as I should have (I wasn't a fully formed couch potato/indexer yet; I took a huge beat on a couple of stocks that I hadn't researched enough.)

As such, I'm not sure I would use an IB account for anything except currency exchanges, but I could always put this money into the IB account for now (since $10K USD is the minimum for opening an account). I'm paying 2 cents/share through the bank ... so 1 cent/share would be a discount ... and I could always couch potato this money in IB as a lower-cost version of their service.

Thanks for the suggestion!
 

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I convert through my broker - Interactive Brokers. They charge a $3 transaction fee and you can enter a limit order or accept their spread of perhaps 0.1%. They do EFT bank transfers in both US and CAD. But it only makes sense if you use them as your broker for other reasons.
+1.
Also you can convert your base currency to either CAD or USD anytime.
 

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I use the FX broker side of XE.com to buy US$ for my US account from my CAD$ bank account. Takes about 5-6 days using free EFT.

Their rate is always better than my local broker which I used previously: www.accu-rate.ca
I looked at the site you linked they sell USDs for 3.36 cents more than they buy, last I checked the going rate at the bank was *5.63* cents on the dollar. What I was missing was the other half of the bank's spread. Oops.
 

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ingdirect.ca posts their rates historically. sometimes updating the rate more than once a day.

go to site, then click 'accounts and rates' then on left will be historical then US and historical.

their spread may be big, but you can transfer USD out to a cheaper institution if you want. or just spend the cash.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Survey Of Options Led Me To Use Interactive Brokers

Follow-Up after surveying the options listed here:

InteractiveBrokers definitely does have the cheapest FX rates (especially if you use the FX Trader) ... 1 basis point off of the mid market rate plus a whopping $2.94 in commission.

However, it does cost you $10/month in fees to keep the account open. Depending on the amount that you transfer, it is definitely worth it.

Places such as PeerFx, accurate, XE.com and my bank (TD with Borderless account) get to around 45-60 basis points on a $15K transfer. PeerFX is marginally better than the other three on USD/CAD transfers.

Thanks for your advice, everyone. I'm definitely happy about finding the cheap FX on Interactive Brokers.
 
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