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Old 10.09.2015, 19:18
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Paying Canadian debts while living in Switzerland

Hello, I am a Canadian citizen who will be living and working in Switzerland for one year.

I have accumulated student loans and some credit card debts with Canadian banks that will require monthly payments while I am in Switzerland. Because CHF is much stronger than CAD, I also hope to get a good exchange rate and use my savings to pay these debts while I am away.

I realize this is likely a very basic question, but I am moving in approximately three months and am just beginning to think about this process. Does anyone have any advice? It would be ideal to do this banking using the internet while I am in Switzerland.

Also, because my first pay deposit in Switzerland will not come until the end of my first month, does anyone have any experience living on a weak currency as a newcomer to the country? My current thinking is to buy some CHF before I arrive and use Canadian credit cards if necessary (as little as possible since the exchange will definitely be bad).

Thanks for your kind advice.
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Old 10.09.2015, 23:21
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Re: Paying Canadian debts while living in Switzerland

Living in Switzerland at the beginning, without earning CHF, is completely possible but you will feel quite poor. Or at least, I felt quite poor!

It is pretty easy however with planning to cover e.g., CHF400/500 for groceries and living expenses for a month, and another 200 for a travel, roughly (e.g., Zürich Kanton for one month is 240, I guess it varies depending on where you are moving to).

It will be the longest month of your life.....
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Old 10.09.2015, 23:53
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Re: Paying Canadian debts while living in Switzerland

I'm currently paying off my student loan via my CIBC account. I just transfer money every month from my Swiss account and pay once it arrives. If you're going to be delayed with your student loan let them know because it's a HUGE hassle to pay them any other way than direct withdrawal or monthly payments. Plus make sure all of your paperwork is in order with them because they won't send faxes overseas and you can't send anything overseas to them via fax, and they don't mail the documents via post. Like I said it's a huge huge hassle.

Example, if you can't pay online you can pay via CDN cheque or via US money order, which you can barely get here, plus there is a huge fee and you go from CHF to USD to CDN taking a hit with each exchange. It's practically prehistoric.
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Old 11.09.2015, 00:43
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Re: Paying Canadian debts while living in Switzerland

Ask your bank if there is a way to link your Canadian bank account to your (future) Swiss account - in a way it would work like a transfer, but bypassing the wire which means the wire fee plus the cost associated with sending said wire - a.k.a. antiquated use of a fax (CHF 20) followed by a phone call (CHF X) to make sure they got your fax. Of course you can fax way cheaper if you have a fax, or an online fax number, but as a newbie....you learn the expensive way sometimes.

Linking like this works within Canada - CAD currency, no fees or very little, but don't know (haven't checked) internationally, plus Swiss banking secrecy and all that...who knows?!

If such a link is possible, I would set up a new account with the Canadian bank in CHF or Euro if possible, or even USD - so that when you make a transfer to Canada, you can later take money from the foreign currency acct within your Canadian account and transfer it to your checking acct; then you can set up a monthly direct deposit to your student loans and credit card debt.

I am not a banker nor a bankster. First run the numbers from several banks and see what makes sense. Good luck and let us know what worked.

Last edited by FunnyBone; 11.09.2015 at 01:09.
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Old 11.09.2015, 00:55
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Re: Paying Canadian debts while living in Switzerland

CIBC charges me $5 per international transfer, it's not so bad. Considering banks in Canada need a week to get Swiss money I would be AMAZED if you could set up some sort of account that's linked. You can transfer up to $10,000 at a time without any hassle.
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