Investing

USD to CAD conversion regular basis

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 14th, 2020 12:56 am
[OP]
Jr. Member
User avatar
Oct 18, 2009
123 posts
53 upvotes
Toronto, ON

USD to CAD conversion regular basis

I am presently working in US on TN1 visa. I will be regularly converting part of Salary in USD to CAD to pay mortgage on my Toronto home and other bills. I bank with TD in Canada and US. I have Questrade in Canada and TD ameritrade in US. So far I have been doing TD “me to me transfer “ from TD US bank to TD Canada. But the exchange rates are not so good.

I am thinking of doing transfer from Us to TD Canada as before in my USD account held at TD Canada. Then transfer from TD to Questrade Margin account. Then do Norbit gambit and finally deposit the converted CAD to my checking account at TD.

To me it looks like a bit lengthy approach. Can i do this in more straight forward way?

I don’t have any TDDI account but can open that if it’s easier in doing transfer. I have about 60-70k investments as RESP/ RRSP as TD e series, which may be sufficient to open TDDI without annual fees.
12 replies
Deal Addict
Nov 21, 2014
1384 posts
1623 upvotes
Atlantic
How much USD are you converting each time?

My understanding is that Norbert's gambit is most effective on large sums....tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars, as it gives you a better exchange rate. But you will incur trading fees.

To regularly convert, relatively small amounts and incur trading fees does not seem worth it. But to each his/her own.
[OP]
Jr. Member
User avatar
Oct 18, 2009
123 posts
53 upvotes
Toronto, ON
I will be transferring about $20K by the end of month. I transferred $25K in December 2019 for installment on a new construction Home.
Jr. Member
Dec 1, 2019
129 posts
112 upvotes
Everytime you start the conversion train assuming ~1000 shares, the cost is a flat $9.95 CAD ($0.01 per share, starts at $4.95, maxes out at $9.95).

ECN fees with large amounts will also add costs, so buy as much as you can in an amount divisible by 100 and also use limit orders at the bid price.

https://wealthsavvy.ca/norberts-gambit-questrade/
Jr. Member
Aug 22, 2012
182 posts
114 upvotes
Mark Town
In Canada IB probably is the best choice. It provides forex and you can set a limit order to sell USD. the only issue is that it has a holding period.
Newbie
Jul 12, 2014
7 posts
2 upvotes
Windsor, ON
I use Knightsbridge. It does take a couple of days from submission to payment but been happy with the rates compared to a bank conversion.
Jr. Member
Jun 17, 2018
117 posts
92 upvotes
Hamilton, Bermuda
Consider using TransferWise. I haven't used it personally but the fees seem reasonable.

Also, try calculating a price tag on convenience from using your current method.
If your best estimate is that current method costs $50 per transfer, whereas a monthly NG is about $20, ask yourself whether you prefer to do all these transactions or paying a marginal $30 for convenience.
There's nothing wrong in paying to simplify your life, as long as you understand what you're paying for.
Deal Addict
Jun 18, 2018
1313 posts
812 upvotes
Toronto
Knightsbridge vs TransferWise vs Norbit's Gambit? In what situation would you use each?
Deal Guru
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May 8, 2009
13964 posts
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Leask
Electrah wrote: Knightsbridge vs TransferWise vs Norbit's Gambit? In what situation would you use each?
  1. Knightsbridge - best if doing CAD to USD. Can do USD to CAD, but use the TD to TD US to Canada to push the USD's, then convert using KBFX Canadian side
  2. Norbert's Gambit - best option once your funds are already locked in (pension, RRSP) to trade while funds are in a brokerage
  3. TransferWise - use any time as a cross-border bank to bank & convert. Afaik 0.5% FTF, plus small deposit and withdrawal fees

OP should get Revolut. Apply on both Canadian and US sides. Yes, jump on waiting list on both sides. But then...grab Revolut from whichever side sends it to you first. US side will probably be more relevant...fund in USD, convert to CAD, deposit CAD in Canada. $8k/month no-FTF (convert at spot), any trades above that (or on weekends) are 0.5% FTF. Can upgrade to premium ($120/yr) and get a bunch of benefits including uncapped no-FTF trades.
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Deal Expert
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Aug 2, 2010
15193 posts
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Here 'n There
Electrah wrote: Knightsbridge vs TransferWise vs Norbit's Gambit? In what situation would you use each?
NG in every case, which takes all of 20 secs using BMO Investorline. I get within pennies of the spot rate. Once I got even better than the spot rate. Why in the world would anyone want to pay 0.5% extra as with Transferwise, etc. is beyond me except if you are converting so little that the $9.95 for the 2 sides of the trade makes paying the 0.5% a less expensive option. However, in that case why not wait until you have more to convert before you do so, unless of course you are so strapped for cash that you need the $ right away.
Member
Jan 4, 2019
458 posts
465 upvotes
titaniumtux wrote:
  1. Knightsbridge - best if doing CAD to USD. Can do USD to CAD, but use the TD to TD US to Canada to push the USD's, then convert using KBFX Canadian side
  2. Norbert's Gambit - best option once your funds are already locked in (pension, RRSP) to trade while funds are in a brokerage
  3. TransferWise - use any time as a cross-border bank to bank & convert. Afaik 0.5% FTF, plus small deposit and withdrawal fees

OP should get Revolut. Apply on both Canadian and US sides. Yes, jump on waiting list on both sides. But then...grab Revolut from whichever side sends it to you first. US side will probably be more relevant...fund in USD, convert to CAD, deposit CAD in Canada. $8k/month no-FTF (convert at spot), any trades above that (or on weekends) are 0.5% FTF. Can upgrade to premium ($120/yr) and get a bunch of benefits including uncapped no-FTF trades.
Maybe I was looking at it wrong, but TransferWise seemed to be more expensive than that. They have fees going in and out. It's not very clear all the fees without doing it (since there are several options and routes to go). When I contacted support, their response was to just make the transfer and see. Uhhh...no?
Deal Addict
Jun 18, 2018
1313 posts
812 upvotes
Toronto
eonibm wrote: NG in every case, which takes all of 20 secs using BMO Investorline. I get within pennies of the spot rate. Once I got even better than the spot rate. Why in the world would anyone want to pay 0.5% extra as with Transferwise, etc. is beyond me except if you are converting so little that the $9.95 for the 2 sides of the trade makes paying the 0.5% a less expensive option. However, in that case why not wait until you have more to convert before you do so, unless of course you are so strapped for cash that you need the $ right away.
Do you use DLR/DLR.U?

I am at TD but I believe it is no different?
Member
Jan 17, 2018
279 posts
196 upvotes
I get paid in US dollars as well. I have my pay transferred to my TD Borderless plan. From there I transfer to my regular TD account so that I can pay bills etc.

The rate has been the best I've seen. I don't pay the fees to transfer money into my account, my work pays sending/receiving fees so for me it is pretty easy.

My understanding is you should be able to send money from TD US to TD Canada without fees.

Transferwise there are fees and really their rate isn't much better than you will get with a Borderless Plan account at TD.

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