Since we launched WonderProxy we’ve had lots of bills to pay, often to ourselves or contractors. WonderProxy is a Canadian company, with a Canadian bank account, when we need to pay someone in the US we’ve had a few options: cheque, wire transfer, PayPal.

  • Cheque
  • These are easy, we open a filing cabinet, pull out a cheque, sign it and put it in the mail. Then the contractor waits for a week or so for the cheque to arrive, deposits in the bank, receives a horrible exchange rate, and waits two or more weeks for it to clear.

  • Wire Transfer
  • This requires me to go to the branch in person, wait in a line, pay a lot in fees, then the money shows up in a day or three, possibly with additional fees being deducted along the way.
  • PayPal
  • These are easy, open up our PayPal account, make a transfer, log out out again. The recipient ends up paying like 3.5% in fees, receives a mediocre at best exchange rate, then waits longer for the money to appear in their account.

So, everything sucks, bad rates, fees, and possibly involving me going to a bank in person.

Eventually we got frustrated with the money we were effectively losing with crappy exchange rates, and took a look further. We came across XE's currency trading services. It took a fair amount of effort to sign up (various forms to be scanned and sent in), but it’s been fantastic. I log on to execute a trade, enter that I would like to buy USD with $1000CAD, and get a spot rate on the transfer. I choose to execute the trade, with the USD funds being deposited in the recipients US account. I pay XE through my bank’s online bill payment services, then about a week later the US funds arrive in the recipient’s account.

I get to do it all from my desk, we get a fantastic exchange rate, and the transfer service makes its money on the spread, so there’s no extra fees.

If you’re paying across borders, I would heartily recommend investigating XE to see if they can meet your needs.

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Very useful intel - thanks for sharing this. My only gripe is grammatical: 'boarders' vs 'borders'.
#1 Uzo Olisemeka on 2013-11-01 19:17 (Reply)

I've been having lots of brain farts on homonyms lately, not sure why. thanks for pointing this out (fixed)
#2 Paul Reinheimer (Homepage) on 2013-11-01 20:02 (Reply)

The time delay for cheques is not the only issue. My bank for example charge fees for cashing cheques in other currencies (and as the country I live in is the only 1 to have sterling this is a big problem)

Below are the charges I have to pay

£100 and under £5.00
£100.01 - £5,000 £10.00
£5,000.01 - £20,000 £30.00
Above £20,000 £60.00
#3 Peter on 2013-11-02 09:08 (Reply)

Ouch, those fees are pretty rough. One of our contractors has an even bigger issue, his US bank simply refuses to accept Canadian cheques!
#4 Paul Reinheimer (Homepage) on 2013-11-02 14:35 (Reply)

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Hi, I’m Paul Reinheimer, a developer working on the web.

I co-founded WonderProxy which provides access to over 200 proxies around the world to enable testing of geoip sensitive applications. We've since expanded to offer more granular tooling through Where's it Up

My hobbies are cycling, photography, travel, and engaging Allison Moore in intelligent discourse. I frequently write about PHP and other related technologies.