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Old 27.05.2013, 16:15
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Transferring large sums from Canada?

Looked around the forum but can't find answers to this:
We are having an incredibly difficult time figuring out how to transfer our life savings and future pension payments to Switzerland. We are making a permanent move, and will need the money to start our new life there. Apparently Canadian banks have made changes recently due to bank fraud, and now I would have to be physically present to sign an order for a wire transfer, it cannot be done through online banking or by phone or e-mail. Problem is, we won't have a Swiss account until we are physically present in Switzerland (because Swiss banks have also clamped down and making it incredibly difficult to open an account from here).
The staff at our local bank have never dealt with an overseas move before and are not very knowledgable
So my question is, has anyone used a service like Canadianforex, and is this safe and easy to do from Switzerland using my online banking from my Canadian bank?
Also, as another option can I write myself a personal cheque when I get there, and will the bank in Switzerland be able to cash this (I realize they will likely put a hold on it and it might take a week or two, that is fine).
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Old 27.05.2013, 16:21
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

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Looked around the forum but can't find answers to this:
We are having an incredibly difficult time figuring out how to transfer our life savings and future pension payments to Switzerland. We are making a permanent move, and will need the money to start our new life there. Apparently Canadian banks have made changes recently due to bank fraud, and now I would have to be physically present to sign an order for a wire transfer, it cannot be done through online banking or by phone or e-mail. Problem is, we won't have a Swiss account until we are physically present in Switzerland (because Swiss banks have also clamped down and making it incredibly difficult to open an account from here).
The staff at our local bank have never dealt with an overseas move before and are not very knowledgable
So my question is, has anyone used a service like Canadianforex, and is this safe and easy to do from Switzerland using my online banking from my Canadian bank?
Also, as another option can I write myself a personal cheque when I get there, and will the bank in Switzerland be able to cash this (I realize they will likely put a hold on it and it might take a week or two, that is fine).
You could get the bulk of your money in the form of a bank draft from your bank in Canada, and deposit it into your Swiss account when you have it.
But be very careful you don't lose the draft.
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Old 27.05.2013, 16:27
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

Never used CanadianForex. However, used www.OANDA.com many times and I beleive they are Canadian based. Excellent conversion rates and service. It will take about a week to verify your id (passport copies etc to be mailed to them). Once its set up, you can have different currency accounts. Send money to ONADA while in Canada. Keep it there till you set foot here and open a Swiss high st bank acct.
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Old 27.05.2013, 18:01
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

I've used XE.com (think they are also Canadian based, somewhere in BC). Same deal as Oanda, except you need a bank account set-up on both ends. Then, do everything electronically. Never had a single problem.
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Old 27.05.2013, 18:03
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

I wish I had large sums
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Old 27.05.2013, 18:11
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

It may be worth the 'investment' of coming over in person to set up your bank account, and then travelling back to solve the financial issue.

Alternatively, you could see if you can move your money to a canadian bank that has a branch in Switzerland - or try a Swiss bank that has a branch in Canada.
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Old 27.05.2013, 18:21
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

Look into HSBC as they will have a Canadian and a Swiss branch and they make it easy for you to open both in either country if you have large amounts of money.
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Old 27.05.2013, 18:31
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

there are no Canadian banks with branches in Europe. there can be some retail banking done by CIBC in London for you, but don't count on it.

There are, of course, no Swiss banks in Canada as Canada has very few banks.

HSBS has branches in both as it is neither Canadian nor Swiss.
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Old 27.05.2013, 18:32
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

oh, and be very careful about exchange rates. I opened an account in branch in Italy, and they were still paying the old exchange rate from Euros to CHF with Euro being 1.60 chf so I stood to lose A LOT of money!
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Old 27.05.2013, 18:33
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

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Looked around the forum but can't find answers to this:
We are having an incredibly difficult time figuring out how to transfer our life savings and future pension payments to Switzerland. We are making a permanent move, and will need the money to start our new life there. Apparently Canadian banks have made changes recently due to bank fraud, and now I would have to be physically present to sign an order for a wire transfer, it cannot be done through online banking or by phone or e-mail. Problem is, we won't have a Swiss account until we are physically present in Switzerland (because Swiss banks have also clamped down and making it incredibly difficult to open an account from here).
The staff at our local bank have never dealt with an overseas move before and are not very knowledgable
So my question is, has anyone used a service like Canadianforex, and is this safe and easy to do from Switzerland using my online banking from my Canadian bank?
Also, as another option can I write myself a personal cheque when I get there, and will the bank in Switzerland be able to cash this (I realize they will likely put a hold on it and it might take a week or two, that is fine).
you can write a personal cheque and use that to open your Swiss bank account. Only problem is that, as you surmise, the Swiss bank (I assume) will not know you so you may face a delay before you can access your funds in your account while they wait for the cheque to clear.
Probably worth bringing a chunk of cash with you to tide you over.
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Old 27.05.2013, 18:35
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

If you and your husband are both coming over from Canada to Switzerland, could you perhaps stagger your arrival dates a bit, allowing one of you to register and open the account while the other wraps up the loose ends in Canada and is thus able to perform the transfer prior to departure?
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Old 27.05.2013, 18:36
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

We moved from Canada last year and we had the same idea until our bank (BMO) told us that the draft will take a month to clear. Can't remember whether it was because the draft was for a large amount or whether that's for all drafts but basically a bank draft was a no go for us as we needed some funds to tie us over for the weeks till my husbands first pay cheque in his new job. Like the OP we couldn't do a transfer as we didn't have a CH set up yet.

What we ended up doing was not ideal, however we couldn't think of any other way and our bank wasn't much help either. My husband basically took out a whole load of cash (i.e. enough to live on for the month) the day before we left for Switzerland and the rest in a bank draft. I was a nervous wreck with him carrying all that cash but was happier that it was him and not me. You should have seen the face of our UBS bank adviser when we produced the cash to deposit it in our new CH bank account. They too thought it very strange that we couldn't transfer it via e-banking.
Hope you are able to come up with a better/safer solution than the one we resorted to. Also something to note that if you do intend to carry a lot of cash that you probably have to declare it at customs if more than $10k

We were in Canada for a few years and it was always a head ache when I needed to transfer money to Europe. I always had to physically go into the branch (two toddlers in tow), queue and sign three separate documents before I could transfer some funds to e.g. the UK. You couldn't do anything like this via online banking. So nice to be back in Europe where I can do all my banking from the comfort of my sofa ;-)

Last edited by Cailin_74; 27.05.2013 at 18:44. Reason: add a comment
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Old 27.05.2013, 18:37
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

You cannot use a cheque internationally. In fact, they are rarely used within Switzerland between the Swiss anymore either.

Talk to your bank rep about your intentions in Canada. Come here and open an account. Then go to your Swiss bank and ask to do the transfer. Of which they will ask for your signature, ID, etc that will be faxed to the bank at home. They should be able to arrange it.

Ask to have your withdrawal limit highered, and start taking out large amounts from the ATM in Switzerland.

That might sound expensive, but there will be percentage fees, and transfer fees both from your bank back in Canada and in Switzerland for sending and receiving. In the end the price does not vary too much.
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Old 27.05.2013, 18:53
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

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I wish I had large sums
Lol, they are large for us, probably piddly amounts for others.
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Old 27.05.2013, 19:04
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

Thanks so much for all the answers, we can't stagger arrival dates, flights are booked. Will look into those other foreign exchange companies, and ask my mom to speak to the bank manager in CH to see if they can accept a personal cheque internationally, will also increase our ATM limit and bring cash.
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Old 27.05.2013, 19:08
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

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You cannot use a cheque internationally.
That's an incorrect statement bud.

Of course Swiss banks will accept checks, what they probably won't do is credit the amount automatically until the physical funds have been confirmed by the issuing bank.

We receive checks from both the US & Canada regularly as both those countries seem to be uneducated using wire-transfers or are simply scared of foreign transfers.
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Old 27.05.2013, 19:19
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

Occassionally i get checks from the US. Sometimes they take 4 weeks to clear into our account, other times, a matter of days. Usually, we deposit the money into our account in the US and do a wire transfer.
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Old 27.05.2013, 19:50
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

You do realise anything under 3M CHF is small so it must be pretty big amount if you are saying large
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Old 27.05.2013, 20:07
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

We ran into the same trouble - good for you to realize it ahead of time, we didn't... We ended up writing a check to a family member who had a credit suisse account as Raiffeisen told us it could take up to 6 months (!) to clear. It cleared CS in 10 days, I think. One of those exchange accounts is probably the easiest to do...
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Old 27.05.2013, 20:21
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Re: Transferring large sums from Canada?

Wow, there is a lot of misinformation on this thread.

First, a few hints. You can use a cheque or bankers draft to bring the money over here, but this is a very expensive and time-consuming process. Your Swiss bank will charge you handsomely for this service, and they won't credit your account until the funds have cleared. This can take weeks or even months in some cases. You won't have any visibility of the exchange rate that you'll get -- you'll get the rate on the day that the money clears.

Summary: your money will get here, eventually, but at a high cost. Not a great choice.

A much better solution is to use XE.com to transfer the money. You can do all the paperwork and set up the account now (this takes a few days, so better to get the process started well in advance). You'll have instant visibility of the exchange rate that you'll get, no additional fees to pay at either end, and a simple domestic Canadian transaction from the point-of-view of your Canadian bank. The whole process takes about 3 days from initiating the transfer until the money is in your Swiss bank account.

The other advantage of this is that you can first transfer a *small* amount of money to make sure that everything works as intended. It's a little nerve-wracking to have your entire life savings lost somewhere in the international banking system (I speak from first-hand experience).

XE does nothing all day but move money back-and-forth internationally. They're specialists at it, and they do it very well.

A final solution would be to leave a signed wire order, without recipient account details, with your bank manager in Canada. Tell him/her that you'll give them the account details later (they'll probably insist on a fax - it's a very old-world system). This would also work if your bank manager is willing to take the draft, although this depends on how strong your relationship is with the bank.

If your bank isn't a specialist expat bank (like HSBC), I actually don't like this option too much. The banks don't have much experience moving money internationally, and there are too many things that can go wrong.

As I said before, I'd use a specialist broker like XE. It'll be the quickest, cheapest, easiest way to get your money over here.
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