Halifax Clarity - Moving Money Abroad

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Hi all,

Hoping someone can help me here!

I'm living in Canada at the moment, and now want to move a bunch of savings over here, so am thinking about the most cost-efficient ways to do so.

My thought is to do cash advances on my Clarity Card with my current bank in Canada, deposit the money straight into that account, and then pay off the balance on the clarity card immediately. Then do this however many times I'd need to move however much money I want to. Cash advance limit is 50% of my total limit, which would obviously make the process take longer.

Any obvious issues? It'd give me the best FX rate, and I'd pay very little interest on the cash if I paid it off immediately.

I realise it might be time consuming to repeat the process a few times, but the money isn't needed immediately - I'm happy to pay a few visits to the bank! From having spoken to my bank here, they'd be happy letting me do that, as I'm giving them the money right away, rather than just running off with it and depositing it with another bank :-) HBOS also know I'm abroad, so hopefully wouldn't be an issue. I'd keep my UK phone on though while I did it, in case the large amount flagged it up and they wanted to call to clear it. I also realise that I'd be playing the guessing game, i.e. is the FX rate going to move in my favour, or the other way, if I wait longer. I need to bite the bullet sometime! :-)

So there are some drawbacks, but are there any problems/issues I'm not thinking of?

What would be ideal is if there's some way to set up a 3rd party purchase (no idea if these is even a term!!!) with my local bank in Canada, so I can 'buy' dollars here, rather than doing a cash advance. The main thing this would do is that I could use my whole limit (rather than just 50%), and I'd miss the cash advance fees (although these will be negligible). Does anything like this exist, or have I totally made it up?

Thanks in advance for your help! Hope I've explained what I mean clearly :-)

Graham.
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  • guesswho2000
    guesswho2000 Posts: 1,703 Forumite
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    edited 22 November 2013 at 6:31PM
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    That would indeed be the cheapest way to do it, but a long winded way. Also Halifax might get a bit jumpy if you start moving a large amount of money this way.

    In perspective, I was between South America and Asia for almost all of October, making 15x cash withdrawals totalling about £1500 on my Clarity...when I got back they chopped my limit. And this wasn't unusual practice for me, I only use the card for foreign cash, but Oct was a particularly heavy month.

    There's no cash advance fees on the Clarity anyway, so that's a non issue, but "buying" foreign currency isn't classed as a purchase by any credit card (bar a very few when buying from them, such as using a Tesco CC to purchase foreign currency in a Tesco store), it's classed as a cash advance.
  • graham17_2
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    Hey,

    Thanks for the reply and the insight into your situation.

    Interestingly, I probably took out about £2000 a year ago abroad, and my limit went up shortly after! Although, I had made a good few purchases too! Did they cut your limit by a lot? Did they ever call you about it, or do you think they'd just get jumpy by ultimately reducing my limit?

    Now if only I could find a store I could buy something at, then return it and they'd give me cash! Haha, if only! :-) The reason for commenting about wanting to do a purchase was just because it'd save me some time as the cash advance limit is 50% of the limit (plus, the slight interest saving).

    By the way, I assume there's no laws against me moving money like this? I wouldn't imagine so, given I'm perfectly entitled to take cash out and spend it, so it'd surely be fine to just deposit it. Just want to check though!

    Thanks again. At least I know it's theoretically possible, but has some drawbacks.

    Graham.
  • guesswho2000
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    graham17 wrote: »
    Hey,

    Thanks for the reply and the insight into your situation.

    Interestingly, I probably took out about £2000 a year ago abroad, and my limit went up shortly after! Although, I had made a good few purchases too! Did they cut your limit by a lot? Did they ever call you about it, or do you think they'd just get jumpy by ultimately reducing my limit?

    Now if only I could find a store I could buy something at, then return it and they'd give me cash! Haha, if only! :-) The reason for commenting about wanting to do a purchase was just because it'd save me some time as the cash advance limit is 50% of the limit (plus, the slight interest saving).

    By the way, I assume there's no laws against me moving money like this? I wouldn't imagine so, given I'm perfectly entitled to take cash out and spend it, so it'd surely be fine to just deposit it. Just want to check though!

    Thanks again. At least I know it's theoretically possible, but has some drawbacks.

    Graham.

    No problem.

    They cut it by 75%! Luckily not until I was back in the UK (I had other means, but the Clarity was my main cash source). They said they'll only reconsider in six months! Never mind, it's their choice I guess, I still have the card, which is the main thing, but it's the 50% cash limit which renders the card less useful (I have a Nationwide Select which I use for purchases). I also have the Nationwide FlexPlus, which has fee free cash withdrawals, but I don't really like using debit cards abroad!

    No, no laws against it, you can do what you like with your own money (aside from avoid taxes!!), but money laundering flags may trigger if you're moving a lot abroad in bits. It'll (I assume) ultimately get resolved, but may involve the bank probing your finances!
  • grumbler
    grumbler Posts: 58,629 Forumite
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    edited 22 November 2013 at 7:25PM
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  • graham17_2
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    Thanks for all of the replies everyone.

    I'll bear both options in mind and see what makes most sense at the time I'm moving some money. It depends how much I'd miss the difference :-)

    My only concern is that with some of the online currency transfers, if they go bust, my money is gone! I'd obviously put it through in the fastest possible processing, but always a worry if I was sticking a large sum of money into it.

    Thanks again for all your help,

    Graham.
  • chattychappy
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    I've done similar things with Santander Zero (probably no longer available) without a hitch.

    I would keep proper records so that if you do get checked for ML, you can identify the source of funds. (Ie be able to show the Clarity statements with the ATM withdrawals and likewise you UK current account statements and where your money originally came from.)
  • zerog
    zerog Posts: 2,478 Forumite
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    Canada doesn't have these sorts of anti money laundering problems.

    I recently changed $2000 of old tatty bills of the 1969 and 1986 series, and another $1000 of nickels and dimes, into the current polymer bills (i.e banknotes). I walked into a random branch of a random bank in Toronto.

    They checked the old bills very carefully, but didn't check the coins at all (unlike the UK, you put the coins into paper rolls and wrap them up so you can't actually see what's inside).

    I made it clear that I'm not Canadian nor do I live there, and I was never asked for any ID or even my name.

    You may have problems with Halifax though, and of course you may only be able to withdraw £300 per day. However, now is a good time to do this as the rate is 1.7. It was 1.55 over summer. I predict that it won't get much better than that, although I would like to see £1 to $2 again
  • chattychappy
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    zerog wrote: »
    Canada doesn't have these sorts of anti money laundering problems.

    I recently changed $2000 of old tatty bills of the 1969 and 1986 series, and another $1000 of nickels and dimes, into the current polymer bills (i.e banknotes). I walked into a random branch of a random bank in Toronto.

    Sure... though that was only $3000. The OP might be talking about a great deal more (not sure). Wikipedia suggests CAD$10,000 is a limited that arrouses interest: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_laundering
  • bigadaj
    bigadaj Posts: 11,531 Forumite
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    I've heard that bitcoins are probably the best option"..........
  • jonesMUFCforever
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    OP just be aware there MIGHT be a limit on cash that the Halifax MIGHT impose on you.

    Might be cost efficient to move the funds in one international payment.
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