Transferring funds from a US bank to a Canadian one?
May 12, 2004 8:00 AM   Subscribe

What is the easiest and most economical (hopefully these aren't mutually exclusive) method of transferring funds from a US bank to a Canadian one? [more inside]

I've got a US check that I'd like to deposit in a Canadian bank account (RBC Royal Bank), but alas RBC doesn't have any of their US subsidiary RBC Centura banks anywhere near me. What's the best way of doing this? I have a friend currently in BC who could deposit a check for me (if I provided my bank card), but how would that work? Can I send an American check or would they hit me with a bank charge? Are bank checks more internationally acceptable, or is it possible for me to get a check in Canadian funds?
posted by Raze2k to Work & Money (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you mail the check to the Canadian bank? Many US banks offer "bank-by-mail" service,; this might be available at your Canadian bank as well.
posted by reverendX at 8:29 AM on May 12, 2004

do you have an rbc centura account? I just mail checks to centura and then transfer to my canadian rbc account for takes about week in total, but worth the price (free)
posted by batboy at 8:45 AM on May 12, 2004

Call the bank first and ask them about all the charges. They can include foreign check processing fees, currency conversion fees, and anything else the bank feels like making up that day to screw you. Check the exchange rate, too. Banks sometimes shave a few points off the rate you find in the newspaper.

You also might want to look at the charges involved in depositing the check in a US bank, and then having the US bank convert to Canadian dollars and wire the money to your account in Canada.
posted by fuzz at 8:45 AM on May 12, 2004

Raze2k, I had that problem after I moved to the U.S. The most reliable and cost effective means of doing this ended up being sneaker-net. I'd send my parents a set of signed and dated cheques in the mail. Once a month they'd deposit it in my Canadian bank account.

I tried inter-bank transfers and that worked for a while until for some reason it sat on somebodies desk for a couple of months. Seriously. I called. "Oh, it's been on my desk here all along! Oh well! Sorry! We
signed you up for account guard though so in the future if this happens you won't be overdrawn."

Your friend won't need a bank card, they'll just need to know the account number. That's all my folks ever had.
posted by substrate at 9:25 AM on May 12, 2004

My C.U. did me fine in a direct-deposit situation. I gave the account details to the payee, they deposited US$, the bank converted at whatever rate, no other charges afaik.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:32 AM on May 12, 2004

Response by poster: batboy: I don't have an RBC Centura account, but thanks for the suggestion. As stated, Centura doesn't have any branches in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut and that's about as far as I'd be willing to drive to deposit funds. Unless it's possible to setup an account remotely (however doubtful that might be) this isn't an option =\

substrate: You mention inter-bank transfers; have you tried those between US and Canadian banks? As for sneaker-net, I was trying to avoid that method, but it seems like that's my best bet thus far.

Folks, thanks for the help!
posted by Raze2k at 9:56 AM on May 12, 2004

Raze2k, I did do the transfers between the U.S. and Canada. It did not work well (caused a bounced cheque against my account due to the transfer sitting on somebodies desk for a couple months).

five fresh fish, I've never been able to direct deposit into a Canadian account, I've always been told that I should use inter-bank transfer.
posted by substrate at 11:00 AM on May 12, 2004

Whooop. Sorry, you're right, substrate.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:38 AM on May 12, 2004

I have a Centura account and I'm based in NYC. Centura provides account holders away from their branches with postage-free envelopes, so that when you need to deposit a cheque, you can mail it to them. I've had it to do it a few times prior to an automatic payroll.

The nice thing with Centura is that they can tie it to your Royal Bank account in Canada, so I've easily transferred money between accounts. It does take up to 3 business days sometimes before the money makes it to Canada, but there appears to be no fees. Well recommended for any Canadian working in the States.
posted by myopicman at 11:40 AM on May 12, 2004

Response by poster: substrate: Thanks for the warning =)

myopicman: How did you open the Centura account if you're based in NYC?
posted by Raze2k at 12:03 PM on May 12, 2004

you can sign up via their website or call them. I live in DC and there is no centura branch here either...i do all my banking with them by mail. You want to get a royal embassy account, which is free if you have a RBC account and allows 1 or 2 free money transfers to Canada a month.
posted by batboy at 12:44 PM on May 12, 2004

Like batboy, I phoned them up. From Toronto, I tried opening up a US account, but was persuaded to save my money by going the Royal Embassy account. You need to keep a minimum amount with them, but you don't necessarily need a SSN (Canadian SIN works) and they do reimburse you $3/month for using non-RBC ATMs.
posted by myopicman at 5:58 PM on May 12, 2004

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