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Purchasing US Money
Old 05-04-2007, 10:34 AM   #1
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Purchasing US Money

What would be the best way to purchase from Canadian to US Money. I'm talking several hundred couple time a year. I know that what's posted isn't what you can purchase it for. Would it be easier if I had a US bank account. I heard that if you use your Visa card there's a discount.

Oh Ya, I'm Canadian eh!
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Re: Purchasing US Money
Old 05-04-2007, 11:40 AM   #2
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Re: Purchasing US Money

Debit card.
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Re: Purchasing US Money
Old 05-04-2007, 01:16 PM   #3
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Re: Purchasing US Money

The debit card would give you the best exchange rate? And I thought cash had that beat.

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Re: Purchasing US Money
Old 05-04-2007, 02:00 PM   #4
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Re: Purchasing US Money

I`m currently in Quebec buying US dollars - and I think using my ATM card is the cheapest way. I`ve checked with my bank in the past - they don`t charge anything above the exchange rate at the time of a withdrawal in whatever country I use it. I travel overseas a lot - and it worked just fine in Mumbai 2 weeks ago as well.

However, if you are planning on changing Candadian to US without leaving Canada then I`m not sure which is best.
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Re: Purchasing US Money
Old 05-04-2007, 11:04 PM   #5
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Re: Purchasing US Money

VISA and M/C instituted fees last year for transactions done in a foreign currency. I think it is 1% on top of any fee your bank may charge. All debit card transaction done in a foreign country are run through VISA or M/C. We travel in Europe often and opened an account with a Germany bank. It is simple to transfer by wire money to the account and it is a one time fee. As long as we travel in a EURO country we do not have to pay any foreign currency fees.

I would suggest you open a US bank account with a major bank that has a lot of ATMS. They should understand how to open an account for a person who does not have a Social Security Number. If they don't ask them to read the following:

The following comes from Customer Information Procedures of the USA Patriot Act section 326.

For a non-U.S. person who does not have such a (Social Security) number, the FI (bank) may obtain an identification number from some other form of government-issued document evidencing nationality or residence and bearing a photograph or similar safeguard.
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Re: Purchasing US Money
Old 05-05-2007, 07:24 AM   #6
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Re: Purchasing US Money

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freein05
I would suggest you open a US bank account with a major bank that has a lot of ATMS. They should understand how to open an account for a person who does not have a Social Security Number. If they don't ask them to read the following:

The following comes from Customer Information Procedures of the USA Patriot Act section 326.

For a non-U.S. person who does not have such a (Social Security) number, the FI (bank) may obtain an identification number from some other form of government-issued document evidencing nationality or residence and bearing a photograph or similar safeguard.
Very interesting. When opening a US bank account you may also consider an Internet bank which allows you to use any ATM and waives a certain amount each month in fees so limited withdrawals are free of charge. (for me it is $8 a month free ATM charges)
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Re: Purchasing US Money
Old 05-05-2007, 10:39 AM   #7
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Re: Purchasing US Money

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan
Very interesting. When opening a US bank account you may also consider an Internet bank which allows you to use any ATM and waives a certain amount each month in fees so limited withdrawals are free of charge. (for me it is $8 a month free ATM charges)
I would give it a try. The US Patriot Act makes it hard for a person without a SS # to open an account online. The ID required of a foreign person is generally a passport which is presented to the person opening the account.
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Re: Purchasing US Money
Old 05-05-2007, 11:19 AM   #8
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Re: Purchasing US Money

My Dream, it sounds as if you visit the US several times a year and just need some cash for out of pocket expenses. The simplest and cheapest way to get US cash is to find an ATM after crossing the border and use your bank card. You will get the current exchange rate and the only fee will be the ATM fee. Do NOT use your credit card in the ATM, as interest charges will begin to accumulate immediately. Do hold on to a few US dollars when you return to use on your next visit.

OTOH, if you are doing business and need to write cheques in US dollars, it makes sense to open a US dollar account at your bank. Most Canadian banks offer this service.

My bank also lets you order travellers' cheques or foreign currency for courier delivery to your home address. However, you will pay an exchange premium plus the cost of the courier. If that's what you need, you could just visit your bank. After all, you have the time!
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Re: Purchasing US Money
Old 05-06-2007, 01:13 AM   #9
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Re: Purchasing US Money

If you use a Visa debit card, you might look at this site to get the current exchange rates for banks using the Visa system. Visa rates

I was advised by my Thai bank that Visa sets the daily exchange rates so I discovered this site using a Google search.

Say the $USD / Thai baht rate is $1 = 34.76 baht at 0% bank fee, I normally receive a rate that is 10 to 20 basis points lower than the "gross rate." When I check the cash rate at exchange booths, it (cash rate) is normally 30 basis points lower than the rate I would receive with my US debit card.

FYI,

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Re: Purchasing US Money
Old 05-06-2007, 04:02 AM   #10
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Re: Purchasing US Money

Question! When traveling to less developed nations (for an extended period)... and considering using a debit card for transactions to acquire cash in the foreign country, should one open an additional checking account for handling those transactions. Transfer money to it when needed and withdraw it. Just incase the account number gets compromised. That way automatic bill payment for stuff back home is not interrupted if the account has to be closed.

Maybe I am being paranoid, but I have always felt a little less comfortable giving out account numbers in foreign countries than the US or Canada. Not sure why, it's not like we have fewer thiefs!

Is this an unecessary worry?
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Re: Purchasing US Money
Old 05-06-2007, 07:47 AM   #11
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Re: Purchasing US Money

Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaco
Question! When traveling to less developed nations (for an extended period)... and considering using a debit card for transactions to acquire cash in the foreign country, should one open an additional checking account for handling those transactions. Transfer money to it when needed and withdraw it. Just incase the account number gets compromised. That way automatic bill payment for stuff back home is not interrupted if the account has to be closed.

Maybe I am being paranoid, but I have always felt a little less comfortable giving out account numbers in foreign countries than the US or Canada. Not sure why, it's not like we have fewer thiefs!

Is this an unecessary worry?
Bingo. This is exactly what I do, even for short visits. I have an internet bank account but also a regular bank account at a local bank in Texas that is also free of charge and offers on-line banking and I use it for depositing the occaisional large checks I get.
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Re: Purchasing US Money
Old 05-06-2007, 11:23 AM   #12
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Re: Purchasing US Money

That sounds like an excellent idea. That way, even if someone gets into your account, they will be able to access only a limited amount of money.

I travel to Ireland frequently so I maintain a current account there. I draw cash when I visit and don't have to worry about exchange rates.
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Re: Purchasing US Money
Old 05-06-2007, 11:46 AM   #13
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Re: Purchasing US Money

I have an HSBC Internet Account. It works pretty well.

https://www.us.hsbc.com/1/2/3/person...ings/easy-send

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Re: Purchasing US Money
Old 05-06-2007, 03:01 PM   #14
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Re: Purchasing US Money

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meadbh
I travel to Ireland frequently so I maintain a current account there. I draw cash when I visit and don't have to worry about exchange rates.
I`m the same with England and in fact have just started drawing a pension from a previous employer which goes into my English bank account. Do you have family in Ireland? Ireland is on our places to go back to when we retire, we have great memories of a wonderful holiday there.

We are off to England again this September. My brother and his wife are coming in from Australia so the whole family will all be getting together for the first time in 13 years. (I have my Dad and 2 sisters and their families living there in the same small town we all grew up in). My Dad is living in the same house we moved into 47 years ago (and the house was already 50 years old)
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Re: Purchasing US Money
Old 05-07-2007, 09:52 AM   #15
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Re: Purchasing US Money

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meadbh
My Dream, it sounds as if you visit the US several times a year and just need some cash for out of pocket expenses. The simplest and cheapest way to get US cash is to find an ATM after crossing the border and use your bank card. You will get the current exchange rate and the only fee will be the ATM fee. Do NOT use your credit card in the ATM, as interest charges will begin to accumulate immediately. Do hold on to a few US dollars when you return to use on your next visit.

OTOH, if you are doing business and need to write cheques in US dollars, it makes sense to open a US dollar account at your bank. Most Canadian banks offer this service.

My bank also lets you order travellers' cheques or foreign currency for courier delivery to your home address. However, you will pay an exchange premium plus the cost of the courier. If that's what you need, you could just visit your bank. After all, you have the time!
Thanks for all the replies.


you are exactly right, I'd like to have several hundred each time and pay cash since I know exactly what I'm spending. Once while in the US, I used my visa card and was dinged at a different rate then what I was expecting.

The simplest and cheapest way to get US cash is to find an ATM after crossing the border and use your bank card

I thought that might be the best way. I don't write checks so I guess the US account isn't necessary. Travelers cheques are nice, but a few times people at the regester just look at me and ask, "what is this"?

So in conclusion, it's best to change my Canadian to US money using a debit card once I enter the US at a ATM.

Thank
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Re: Purchasing US Money
Old 05-07-2007, 06:31 PM   #16
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Re: Purchasing US Money

Quote:
I thought that might be the best way. I don't write checks so I guess the US account isn't necessary. Travelers cheques are nice, but a few times people at the regester just look at me and ask, "what is this"?

So in conclusion, it's best to change my Canadian to US money using a debit card once I enter the US at a ATM.
I just got a reply from my bank and they don`t do accounts for non-US residents, so a US ATM is the easiest and most cost effective way to go.
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