Personal Finance

Traveling to Canada and need to withdraw US dollars

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[OP]
Newbie
Apr 21, 2014
19 posts
1 upvote
Ottawa, ON

Traveling to Canada and need to withdraw US dollars

Hi everybody, a friend is coming from overseas and would like to leave with a significant amount of cash (a bit less than 10k) (Hr's an Oil expat worker with saving in some Caribbean island). He says Canadian dollars are fine since we can co an exchange them at a kiosk or a bank, but I not so sure they will exchange the amount he wants.

To make this short there are two isses here:

1) Is there a way he can transfer/wire the money to himself while he's in Canada? Preferably in USD (no banks account here)
2) If USD is not an options, do you know if banks or exchange kiosks (where he doesn't have an account) can arrange such a sum?

Another option, he said he'd like to avoid is getting the money from the ATM, mostly because of the daily cash limits and the fees associated to ATMs

Thanks
12 replies
Sr. Member
Apr 28, 2014
675 posts
184 upvotes
Oakville, ON
Sigma69 wrote: Hi everybody, a friend is coming from overseas and would like to leave with a significant amount of cash (a bit less than 10k) (Hr's an Oil expat worker with saving in some Caribbean island). He says Canadian dollars are fine since we can co an exchange them at a kiosk or a bank, but I not so sure they will exchange the amount he wants.

To make this short there are two isses here:

1) Is there a way he can transfer/wire the money to himself while he's in Canada? Preferably in USD (no banks account here)
2) If USD is not an options, do you know if banks or exchange kiosks (where he doesn't have an account) can arrange such a sum?

Another option, he said he'd like to avoid is getting the money from the ATM, mostly because of the daily cash limits and the fees associated to ATMs

Thanks
Banks are very wary of Money Laundering...I'm not accusing your friend of laundering money, but having worked for two banks, all front line employees are trained to be mindful of certain types of transactions.

I don't think any major bank is going to be comfortable exchanging such a large amount of cash for a non-customer; and even then, it would take several business days to get the money because the bank has to order the physical cash in.

Even if he were to open a USD account at a Canadian bank, wire the funds in, and order the cash for withdraw, it's most likely his account is going to be frozen - the wire may even be reversed. No major Canadian bank is going to put themselves at risk by doing that kind of transaction.

Your friend is obviously knowledgeable about how the Anti-Money Laundering regulations work, as $10k is the limit where you have to declare the cash to a Customs Officer when crossing a border.
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 21, 2014
19 posts
1 upvote
Ottawa, ON
Yeah, I immediately thought of the 10k limit (mostly from the the Custom officer TV show I'll admit). He's going to be here for around 12 days, I'm not sure that will be enough time to clear (if it's not reversed as you mentioned).

I've thought of something like western union, but that I've never walked into one of those stores.
Sr. Member
Apr 28, 2014
675 posts
184 upvotes
Oakville, ON
Sigma69 wrote: Yeah, I immediately thought of the 10k limit (mostly from the the Custom officer TV show I'll admit). He's going to be here for around 12 days, I'm not sure that will be enough time to clear (if it's not reversed as you mentioned).

I've thought of something like western union, but that I've never walked into one of those stores.
In my mind, the only way I see this going down is if you open a USD account at your bank, he wires his money to your USD account, you order the cash for withdraw, stuff in a briefcase, and give it to him when he gets to Canada. You have an existing relationship with your bank in Canada; your friend does not.

Be aware though that all USD wire payments are required to be routed through Wells Fargo Bank in New York as an intermediary, per US Anti-Terrorism and Anti-Money Laundering rules.

Granted, your friend may not trust you enough to go this route; I can't think of any other way this is going to go off.

And if this is what you do, this money of your friend better be legit - like he isn't trying to avoid taxes or anything of that nature. Because you would essentially be aiding and abetting after this is done.
[OP]
Newbie
Apr 21, 2014
19 posts
1 upvote
Ottawa, ON
Cerium398 wrote: ..like he isn't trying to avoid taxes or anything of that nature. Because you would essentially be aiding and abetting after this is done.
Thanks Cerium398, that a good point there! I know the sources of the funds are legit, in the sense that he's not the only friend I know who's worked as expat in the oil sector, so money laundering is not an issue. Taxes though I'm not sure, since as far as I know they (oil expats) get some payment in local currency + good amount in USD deposited in an offshore account. I think that's for tax deferral, so taking cash out might be seen a way to save on Taxes (yet I have little clues on the tax laws in the country he's coming from, I suspect if it were in Canada the CRA here wouldn't be too happy).

This is to say, I thought about having him transfer the money to me. But on seconds thoughts, i think I'd rather avoid any changes of getting an awkward call from who knows which government agency asking me about it (and me not being able to say much more of what I've shared here.

So far I think ATM's is the way for him to go...
Sr. Member
Apr 28, 2014
675 posts
184 upvotes
Oakville, ON
Sigma69 wrote: Thanks Cerium398, that a good point there! I know the sources of the funds are legit, in the sense that he's not the only friend I know who's worked as expat in the oil sector, so money laundering is not an issue. Taxes though I'm not sure, since as far as I know they (oil expats) get some payment in local currency + good amount in USD deposited in an offshore account. I think that's for tax deferral, so taking cash out might be seen a way to save on Taxes (yet I have little clues on the tax laws in the country he's coming from, I suspect if it were in Canada the CRA here wouldn't be too happy).

This is to say, I thought about having him transfer the money to me. But on seconds thoughts, i think I'd rather avoid any changes of getting an awkward call from who knows which government agency asking me about it (and me not being able to say much more of what I've shared here.

So far I think ATM's is the way for him to go...
Put it this way; as long as a person is a Canadian resident, he or she is required to declare all their worldwide income on their tax return. Moreover, if I have foreign assets over a certain amount, I have to tell CRA about it on a separate information return.

The payment in local currency to your friend may have had income taxes deducted at source; the USD in the offshore account probably didn't. Like you said, you don't know the income tax laws in the country where your friend is employed; his citizenship status and whether or not he is considered a resident of the countries where he is a citizen also has tax implications.
Newbie
Feb 7, 2011
28 posts
18 upvotes
Cerium398 wrote: In my mind, the only way I see this going down is if you open a USD account at your bank, he wires his money to your USD account, you order the cash for withdraw, stuff in a briefcase, and give it to him when he gets to Canada. You have an existing relationship with your bank in Canada; your friend does not.

Be aware though that all USD wire payments are required to be routed through Wells Fargo Bank in New York as an intermediary, per US Anti-Terrorism and Anti-Money Laundering rules.

Granted, your friend may not trust you enough to go this route; I can't think of any other way this is going to go off.

And if this is what you do, this money of your friend better be legit - like he isn't trying to avoid taxes or anything of that nature. Because you would essentially be aiding and abetting after this is done.
Generally when you open a bank account in Canada nowadays, it will actually ask you whether or not you intend to use the account on someone else's behalf. Seems this scenario would fall under that, so there might actually even be an legal requirement to report to the bank that you are using the account on someone else's behalf, again raising red flags. In general the whole thing raises red flags and you really shouldn't be helping your buddy out with this in any way - even providing advice - unless you are certain that every part of the the whole thing is legit (source of income, tax, etc.).
Sr. Member
Apr 28, 2014
675 posts
184 upvotes
Oakville, ON
tahlfors wrote: Generally when you open a bank account in Canada nowadays, it will actually ask you whether or not you intend to use the account on someone else's behalf. Seems this scenario would fall under that...
Tahlfors is absolutely correct on this. I had forgotten about the Third-Party Determination questioning when a new bank account is opened.

This whole scenario is loaded with dangers Sigma69; let your friend solve his own problem. You stay out of it.
Deal Addict
Apr 4, 2013
1274 posts
409 upvotes
I think the money being held in "some Caribbean island" is enough of a red flag. Would that island be Grand Cayman, aka, tax evasion haven?
Deal Addict
Sep 30, 2008
1589 posts
202 upvotes
Tell him to fly to the Caribbean island to get his money... It's only a couple hundred to get his money.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 24, 2008
6208 posts
2608 upvotes
Toronto
Cerium398 wrote: Tahlfors is absolutely correct on this. I had forgotten about the Third-Party Determination questioning when a new bank account is opened.

This whole scenario is loaded with dangers Sigma69; let your friend solve his own problem. You stay out of it.
OP did not open his account for a third party. I don't see what the issue is if he helps his friend out with just one transaction of under 10k CAD. Having said that, it seems like his friend is definitely trying to avoid taxes.
Sr. Member
Oct 13, 2011
766 posts
501 upvotes
Sigma69 wrote: (Hr's an Oil expat worker with saving in some Caribbean island).
Depending on the Island he is in, Scotia Bank, Royal Bank and CIBC have branches down there, may be you should ask him to visit one of the branch down there to see if he can open up an account there and have access to his money here in Canada.

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