Colombia Expat Forum - How Best to Xfer Funds From Colombia to U.S.?

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JeffPerren
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12/28/2011 12:47    
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I apologize if this question has been asked before, but I often see threads on how to move funds from the U.S. to Colombia; it's rare to see anything on how to transfer money from Colombia to the U.S. My search didn't bring up anything useful.

My Colombian fiancee has just received her K-1 visa and we'll be relocating to the U.S. (I'm a U.S. citizen with bank accounts, etc.) So, like many, we're faced with how best to move her considerable savings safely and cost-effectively to a U.S. bank from her Davivienda account.

Any suggestions?

I have read about Western Union, Xoom, Moneygram. They seem to be a little pricey and geared toward sending individuals money from the U.S. to Colombia. We want to xfer her money to a U.S. account that bears her name.

I've also read about foreign currency exchange, which might ultimately be the best way to go since there are no fees, just the ding you get whenever you exchange one currency for another. How to get the funds into the trading account appears more difficult than in the U.S. (Few people in Colombia appear to use checking accounts so how to get the money into the trading account within a week?)

PayPal might be one possibility but there, too, getting the money into the PayPal account can be tricky. I do it all the time using my U.S. bank account but their customer service doesn't say whether this is possible with a Colombian bank. They answer only with boilerplate about foreign currency exchange and the fees appear substantial.

It might be best to open a Citibank account here, get an ATM card and then withdraw the funds in the U.S. Again, the rep in Bogota was not very helpful when asked for information about this scenario. Also, there is no Citibank branch where we will live (Northern Idaho) so the ATM fees might add up.

Davivienda informs her there is a 16% fee on any wire transfer to a U.S. account; which is totally unacceptable.

Naturally, we want to avoid carrying large sums of physical cash to the airport, especially since it would be in the form of pesos not dollars, and therefore bulky.

So, I thought I'd ask those with experience on this forum.

Ideas?

Thanks for any practical suggestions based on actual experience.

wdavissontci
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From: Colombia
12/28/2011 22:15    
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davienda is not the bank to deal with. Open an account in bancolombia and transfer her money there. This bank is a truly international player. I have a business in colombia and use bancolombia exclusively to move money. There are exceptions about the amount individuals can move in one transfer but they can help you develop a plan

JeffPerren
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12/29/2011 10:38    
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Thanks for the helpful reply. We were considering Citibank, since they have a considerable presence in the U.S.

Do you happen to know if Bancolombia (or Citibank, or any other) will issue a cashier's check denominated in US dollars?

Thanks again,
Jeff

dnamron41
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12/29/2011 11:17    
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I would check with HSBC and Citibank which are both represented in Colombia. So if you have an account in the USA with either bank, use that one.

exatl
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1/3/2012 07:06    
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my experience with Citibank has been that they operate as a different bank in a foriegn country (separate company with same name for marketing). I have found the same as wdavissontci, Bancolombia can transfer for around $50. You may also talk with someone at Bancolombia about transfering through Panama, depending upon the amount.

ColombiaGringo
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1/4/2012 08:38    
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Set up an account with a brokerages firm if your going to live in Colombia. Otherwise an example of how much they charge on the backend //// CHASE BANK TO BANCOLOMBIA PERSONAL ACCOUNT TO PERSONAL ACCOUNT. YOU LOOSE 5% ON BANKING FEES. they dont call them banking fees but on the back end they take off alot. A brokerage firm will set up an account once you have a cedula and then you can move money at the market rate.

ATM withdrawls will loose 3% for BOA, CHASE, etc. Citibank is good but your limited still.

Best situation is to wire to brokerage account and then transfer to you local bank account.

PAYPAL does not allow interaction or deposit/ withdrawls to Colombian banks.

If your new to Colombia you will be using ATM cards for a while. They dont like foreigners opening accounts with less than 6 months in Colombia.

mayigi58
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2/16/2012 14:30    
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I live in San Gil and Portland, OR. I use Citibank and it works fine, just use my ATM. I have used Bancocolombia for wire transfers when building my house in San Gil. Hope this helps :)

JeffPerren
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2/17/2012 15:13    
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Thank you for your reply. We have successfully used the Citibank ATM card here in Idaho. Unfortunately, that's a time-consuming and very expensive way to move substantial funds from Bogota. (There's no Citibank branch nearby, so it's 5 bucks a shot to get $300.) We won't be returning to Bogota for a few years so we're looking for a way to move the money in bigger chunks for less money. Apparently, it's normal practice to initiate a wire transfer only at the sending bank, not the receiving (in this case, Wells Fargo).

So, we're kind of stumped at the moment. I was thinking PayPal, possibly, but I've read you can't link a Colombian bank account to it (which seems odd, since PayPal has a .co URL as well as the U.S. one).

Thank you for weighing in, anyway. It's helpful to hear about the experiences of others, regardless.

bronco
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2/18/2012 06:36    
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you may try an orden de pago which may be started at your bank , then sent to the bank in Colombia

JeffPerren
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2/24/2012 14:52    
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Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately, according to my Colombian fiancee (an economist formerly working for the Comptroller's office), that requires being physically present at the branch in Bogota. We are in the U.S.

Thank you (and others) for taking the time to reply, though.

By the way, the latest wrinkle is that Citibank in Colombia refused to honor a check she wrote to her sister claiming the check packet needs to be 'activated'. It's enough to really make one say some nasty things about the whole Colombian banking system, even that part allegedly connected with a U.S.-based bank.

We'll keep searching for a solution. I sure wish we had just removed all the cash and taken it with us! :)

Felipe58
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5/2/2012 20:22    
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I know this is a bit off-topic, but there are comments here regarding both opening a Colombian Bank Acc. and Paypal accounts, which are slightly misleading.

The comments which say Banks don't like Foreigners opening an account until they have been here 6 months are incorrect, you can open a Savings Acc. as soon as you have your cedula, this account comes with a debit card. You will not be allowed to open a Current Acc. or have a Credit Card, until you have been with the Bank for six months, as you need a credit rating.

A Colombian Paypal Acc. needs a credit card or a Bank routing number, to attach a Colombian Account, as you cannot obtain either until you have been with the Bank six months, you have to wait, however in the meantime, I have used my UK credit card.

masterita
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5/2/2012 23:53    
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I agree. I had no proems opening my account at Bank of Colombia. It took about 1 week until my bank card arrived though :p

masterita
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5/3/2012 00:09    
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Just out of curiosity, can you not just write a check from your Colombian account and deposit it to your US account? It will take longer to clear but it should not need to be certified.

As far as transferring large sums of cash, has anyone tried doing it by traidind precious metals, such as gold or platinum? There is usually a 3% fee on selling but the transaction is far less traceable and no taxes.

JeffPerren
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5/3/2012 00:30    
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masterita,

If your question is addressed to me (Jeff, the original poster), the answer is "Unfortunately, no." We tried that.

Luckily, we were able - ultimately - to use the CitiBank ATM card at our Wells Fargo in the U.S. and withdraw about $550 at a shot with a $4 service fee (charged by Citi in Bogota) for each transaction. It's slow but not too expensive for these relatively small amounts.

The fact is, once you put your money into a Colombian bank account, it is hell trying to get it back from them unless you are physically present at the branch in Colombia. At least that has been our experience. Others with more money or expertise may have a better way but we have not yet discovered it.

I'm not sure what we're going to do when she sells her flat and we want to transfer that money here. There is no way we would want to do that $550 at a shot.

So, we are still searching for a better solution. So far, everyone seems to think about this is in reverse. I.e. they talk about how to get (relatively small) sums out of a U.S. account while living in Colombia.

But we want to move ALL of her money to the U.S. *without* returning to Colombia or being physically present there.

That, so I've discovered, is a MUCH more difficult problem. It's odd no one seems to have a solution because women come to the U.S. from Colombia often to get married (or to be with a spouse they married in Colombia). I guess few of them have large funds to move, though.

Thanks for the additional responses.

clarkj37
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7/27/2012 14:48    
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I'm glad someone else had this question. I'm looking to buy two or three apartments in Colombia and was trying to determine what would be the easiest way to get the rental income back here to the U.S. The apartments will be in my wifes name since she's from Colombia. It looks like opening an account in her name at Bancolombia and then using the ATM here in the U.S. would be the easiest way. Is that the consensus? We're only talking about $450 per month so not large amounts of money. I

JeffPerren
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7/27/2012 16:05    
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We opened a new account with Citibank in Bogota, thinking that a U.S.-based finance company would be better to deal with while residing in the U.S. than a purely Colombian one.

It's turned out to make little difference. Because the bank employs Colombians and runs according to Colombian banking methods - which are about equivalent to Venezuelan political methods, in my experience - the hassle factor is about the same.

However, we are able to pull out $500 at a shot through the ATM at Wells Fargo and deposit the funds into our WF account.

Those who live in a large city like New York, where it's possible to deal with a Citi branch in person, may have better luck.

We still haven't figured out how to get a large sum transferred, even if we were willing to pay ridiculous transfer fees. Once a Colombian bank has your money, they do everything they can to keep it.

paladino
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7/28/2012 19:27    
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I recognize this is an older post but I wanted to respond to the suggestion of using PMs, precious metals, to move money. I assume you are suggesting the puchase of let's say 100K USD in gold bullion [for example] and then take that gold to Colombia and sell it for COP, colombian pesos? If you are suggesting this I wish to warn everyone that this is illegal to my understanding of Colombian law. I am not an expert, but I did not want anyone to read this post and get the idea that this is a good idea. Please be aware that: first, Colombian law strictly prohibits the importation of gold and other PMs into Colombia without authorization and second, if caught you will likely be arrested for attempted money laundering and you will loose your precious metals. This is exactly the kind of trafficking that the drug cartels used to do to repatriate money or move it around and this type of behavior will get you in a heap of trouble and probably loose your precious metals at the minimum. Please consult with a qualified Colombia or international lawyer before attempted to do this.

JeffPerren
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7/28/2012 22:05    
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Thanks for the warning.

I don't want to re-read the thread to find the comment about using gold to transfer, but I did want to respond.

We hadn't any intention of transporting that much physical gold. Besides the weight, it would be incredibly risky, even apart from the legal issues.

Also, I wanted to point out that we are attempting to move the funds the other direction - FROM Colombia TO the U.S. I'm sure there must be a legal way to do that - it's done all the time and in much larger amounts. Our goal is to do (if possible) without (a) paying huge transfer fees and (b) without going back to Bogota to start the process. (The second may not be possible but we're still researching.)

Thanks again for the heads up.

Jeff

masterita
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7/29/2012 02:34    
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Have you looked into Xoom.com. I know they can transfer money to Colombia. But maybe they can reverse it. Also have you looked into PayPal? Possibly connect your bank account to your PayPal acct. transfer. Then retransfer to ur USA account.

I don't see cop as a currency option so they would convert it to uSa first. I called and asked their tech support and they said you could open an account through Colombia. But I didn't know the specifics so I didn't look further into it.

I am trying to find the best way to get money into Colombia without paying the fees and rates. If anyone knows please key me know. For now it is almost cheaper to fly back to the states from time to time to transfer cash.

Regards,
Michael.

ColombiaGringo
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7/29/2012 11:22    
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You have to prove you bought the money in legally or you will have problems taking it out. if you didnt bring the money in legally you have to proove you made it here. However, if you are one of many people that bought property here without registering it correctly when you bought the property then you will have big problems. You will not be able to show this because you can loose 100% of your money. Thats because of money laundering problems in Colombia.

Banks or other financial institutions have to comply with federal laws which the DIAN enforces. Every wire a bank does has to be reported with back up documentation or the bank will get fined heavily and the employee would be fired.

As you know they limit for cash on a plane is 10k. Thats alot of plane trips and tickets.

If you wired money into begin with you usually are asked for the form 4 for foreign investments, and sometimes verification from the federal bank that it was registered correctly. this all depends on the particular situation.

ColombiaGringo
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7/29/2012 11:27    
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When you have problems like this you need to look at not using a typical bank and open up an account with an investment bank in Colombia. their rates are much better. Traditional banks like to rape people on exchange rates. If you do it right it souldnt be more than a couple percent. its a bit tricky but depends on the receiving banks exchange rate usually if its done right. A bank in the US will get you for 2-5%, but a financial institution like investment bank or broker could help a lot.

JeffPerren
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7/29/2012 13:40    
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Thanks for your helpful responses, Gringo. I want to make sure I understood one point, though. 2% of 100,000 is $2,000. Are you saying it would cost that to move the funds from Colombia to the U.S.?

garbear60
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8/3/2012 12:38    
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I am married to a colombian woman here in the US. she opened a bank account at citibank in Bogota and also a bank account in the US. She regularly transfers fundsfrom the citibank account to the US account here. You can't do the entire amount in a slngle transfer because the IRS investigates any transfers over 10k (the bank reports to them on those), but it is quick, relatively cheap and reliable. If that does not appeal to you, the cheapest transfer system we have found is Xoom--much cheaper than WU, moneygram, etc.
Hope this helps

paladino
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8/3/2012 15:39    
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Please correct me if I am wrong but I don't know any ability to send move from Colombia to USA via XOOM. You can send just over 3k to Colombia per month but to my knowledge not the other direction. Another one of those glaring examples of how hard it is to get money OUT of Colombia. BTW: I don't really blame Colombians as this is all remnants efforts to deter money laundering from the drug trade; it is what it is.

paladino
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8/3/2012 15:47    
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Seriously, I am not trying to be a smart a$$, I just felt compelled to point out that, legally, breaking down wire transfers into sub $10K USD per wire in an effort to avoid reporting is also a violation of the same law that requires all cash transactions over $10K USD be reported to the IRS. You might even draw more attention than just sending on big wire. Banker employees are required by law, in the USA, to report such behavior just the same as if you had done a transaction of 10K of USD cash. Sending any amount of money is NOT illegal regardless of what many USA politicians try to paint otherwise; the IRS just wants to know about all money and its origins should they desire to look.
I will stop now but I hope you see my points as I would not wish the IRS on anyone, not even cheats.

JeffPerren
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8/4/2012 13:05    
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Thanks for the additional helpful replies. FYI, we're not trying to hide anything (from the IRS, DIAN) or anyone else. We just want a reasonably low-cost, safe method of transferring my wife's money from Citibank-Bogota to Wells Fargo-U.S.

Just to clarify, she was born in and lived in Colombia until recently and now resides (with me) in the U.S. She acquired her property legally and intends to sell it when the market is right.

There's nothing unusual going on here. I'm sure that both U.S. businesses/citizens and Colombian ones transfer funds from Colombia to the U.S. every day. After all, international trade has been taking place between the two countries for generations.

There must be some way of doing this without a big hassle. We're grateful for the suggestions and will look into them further.

Regards,
Jeff

masterita
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8/4/2012 13:27    
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Jeff, If I recall correctly your trying to set this all up without having to return to Colombia.

My wife and I have family in both countries and we've only been able to come up with having the account pre-set up for online transfers or with family being able to transfer the money back and forth for us.

To set up online transfers from Colombia to the USA, (from what I understand) you need to arrange this in the actual branch inside of Colombia. Or you need to have a 2nd person put onto your wife's account to make the transfers for her, but this still needs to be arrange in person, at the branch.

I deal with companies from all over the world. If I go to the Bank of China in NY I have to make an international wire transfer to deposit the funds in their account in China.

You can try to set up an account with PayPal and link it to your wife's Citi account in Colombia. Withdraw the funds from her account into the PayPal account and then deposit it into your US account. This is something I will be trying to do in the near future, but for transferring money from the USA to Col.

So without coming back here and setting this up personally you are likely to be stuck with the ATM withdrawals until the FTA with Colombia loosens up a little more. And of course, when you find a way please be sure to let us all know.

paladino
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8/4/2012 18:47    
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I just wanted to apologize for my choice of words. I was trying to quickly complete the sentence and I used wording that might be read as me implying that you were trying to cheat the IRS. I want to apologize and let you know that I was using the word cheat anonymously and in no way wanted to imply relation to your efforst. In retrospect I don't think I will every use those words again in relation to the IRS in consideration of what the US government is doing to it's citizens. Sorry if I offended; I truly did not mean any offense.

JeffPerren
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8/4/2012 20:22    
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No worries. I wasn't offended and didn't think you were referring to us.

I just posted in response to ensure that if the IRS, DIAN, or anyone else happened to read this they didn't get the impression we were trying anything shady.

wbjake
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8/6/2012 17:02    
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I was wondering if you meant, open an account with a firm in colombia? Do you know of any in Medellin. I work in trade and have been doing bank transfers or using western union depending on which had a better fee. Can you tell me more about this method and if it helps avoid taxes or anything.

sensualspirit
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8/6/2012 20:43    
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Hi,

Money Gram is less expensive than Western Union, although it depends on how much you are sending.

Now this company is getting more active. http://xoom.tellapal.com/a/clk/2XlmYT

They used to only send money to the Philippines, but they've added more countries including Panama & Colombia.

Problem is, you can't send money, only receive it.

I just got off the phone with them & they will be having the "send money" feature down the road (I hope), as I sometimes have to send money to my US bank account.

HTH


Michelle

ColombiaGringo
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8/6/2012 21:06    
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Go to a comisionista de la bolsa. These are investment banks, you set up an account, dont invest in stocks and use them to transfer money, you will save alot of money compared to bank to bank.

masterita
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8/7/2012 00:11    
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In my research trying to find the best way to transfer money into Colombia, I found 1 company that claims (from what I can make out on their limited information) to be able to transfer money from Colombia to the USA with low fee and great transfer rate. If you check it out and learn more, please let us know how it goes.

http://www.xendpay.com/usa

masterita
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8/7/2012 00:12    
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In my research trying to find the best way to transfer money into Colombia, I found 1 company that claims (from what I can make out on their limited information) to be able to transfer money from Colombia to the USA with low fee and great transfer rate. If you check it out and learn more, please let us know how it goes.

http://www.xendpay.com/usa

melisval03
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8/25/2012 09:12    
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How much does it cost for a citibank to citibank transfer from colombia to the us?

JeffPerren
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8/25/2012 17:46    
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We only have one Citibank account - the Colombian one - so I don't know. But to xfer from Citibank-Colombia to Wells Fargo-US is $70, but I don't remember the details on minimum or maximum amount. If you xfer $10k that's too outrageous (though it's a chunk in my book); if you xfer only, say, $2k at a time, it begins to add up quickly.

JeffPerren
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8/25/2012 17:47    
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I meant to say "*not* too outrageous..."

volatti
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9/9/2012 18:57    
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Hi well, Wouldn't it be easier for your wife to just fly to Colombia for a couple of days and initiate the wire transfer personally to your bank in US? Don't understand the complication.

schokolat
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9/13/2012 07:07    
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correct me if i'm wrong but your girl can't open a US bank account without a social security number

paladino
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9/13/2012 16:47    
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Not sure I agree with that statement but to be honest I am not sure. I thought some states like California accept foreign IDs like Mexican Cedulas to open bank accounts but not issue drivers license since the FEDS effectively stopped that idea. If they accept Mexican Cedulas as ID then perhaps Colombian Cedulas. Call Bank of American and ask would be my advise about the bank account. IMHO

JeffPerren
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9/13/2012 17:02    
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My wife had a SSN, obtained a few weeks before we were married in March. It's legal.

Also, individual banks have some leeway. (That, too, is legal according to the SS website.)

In any case, we opened a joint account shortly after returning to the U.S. in January. Also, she has her green card, as of July.

Not an issue in this case.

JeffPerren
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9/13/2012 17:04    
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volatti,

It may come to that but it's a fairly expensive, time-consuming, and inconvenient option just to, in essence, push a button.

bombones
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10/16/2012 15:55    
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Hi Jeff,
Read the whole thread and apparently, you guys still have not found a way to tranfer her $ into the USA? I'm an american citizen, born in Colombia and my mom is an american resident who's selling a property and wants to transfer that $ into the USA. She could go to Colombia to initiate the transaction but I'm lost about what she needs to do. Do you or anyone else know how we get started? Paying the 4x1000 to withdraw $ is unacceptable and of course, using ATM to withdraw her $ here is expensive and time consuming. Please help!

JeffPerren
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10/17/2012 21:45    
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Hi,

I'm not sure what you mean by pay the 4 x 1000 but I can tell you what little I know. We have not actually tried this method yet but our banker at Wells Fargo is confident she can initiate a transfer request from Citibank in Bogota.

Allegedly, the cost is $70 for (I think) a transfer of up to $10,000.

We're still researching because that could add up to a substantial amount if we sell her flat for as much as we expect.

This is all still very theoretical, though. Once we actually try the process I'll update the thread, but that likely won't be for several months.

Sorry I couldn't be more help.

Jeff

melisval03
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10/20/2012 15:40    
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Does anyone know about Global Citibank to Citibank? I have talked to the help online, but they have given me different answers. One person said it's free. Another said it was $10, while another said $30. Compared to everything else, this still sounds like the best prices, but do you know the actual amount?

melisval03
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10/20/2012 15:40    
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Does anyone know about Global Citibank to Citibank? I have talked to the help online, but they have given me different answers. One person said it's free. Another said it was $10, while another said $30. Compared to everything else, this still sounds like the best prices, but do you know the actual amount?

ColombiaGringo
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10/20/2012 20:15    
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The 4/1000 is actually a tax if anyone in Colombia withdrawls funds over 4 million or so in a month.

its actually 4/1000 of a percent, but you can tell the bank to verify the exact amount.

NOW IMPORTANT BANKS ARE TRICKY WITH INTERNATIONAL TRANSFERS.

There 2 fees:
1) the actual wire fee, which maybe 0 to 75 bucks
2) the hidden fee they dont like to mention which is the most costly and believe me COSTLY, up to 5% of what you transfer.

ASK THE BANKERS CAREFULLY. Ask them what they charge on the conversion. Most persons dont know, the sending bank and receiving banks like to take a piece from what i have witnessed.

I personally use a stock broker agency to receive money in Colombia and then i transfer money to my personal banking account. this saves me about 200 USD to 400 in banking fees monthly.

ElViejo
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10/21/2012 11:55    
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Hi, I´m a German living in Colombia for some years and I would transfer my pension by using a credit card (for free !!) from a German Bank , most of the Bankomats in Colombia accept my credit card you get up to 700 000 Pesos in a single transaction but there also Bankomats that give you only 300 000 , it bankomats of AV Villas for example.
Sorry for my bad English

chilango
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10/21/2012 14:07    
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There is this new card that just came out last week from american express and walmart. it is incredible. it is called Bluebird. do a search on it, THERE is NO internation transaction fees and ive been using it like crazy, and NO monthly fees. This probably only works good for americans.. but i just wanted to point this out.
Thank you,
Craig

ElViejo
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10/21/2012 19:47    
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I use a german credit card to transfer my pension to colombia, they have the best exchange rate and most importantly, they don´t me charge any fee for sacar plata from a bancomat.

johnjairoarrieta
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10/21/2012 23:00    
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T ITAN realiza el pago de sus giros a través de la Red Bancaria.
For me this is the best company TITAN,THEY GIVE US SECURITY VERY LOW RATES AND HIGH EXCHANGE RATES
CHECK IT OUT

exatl
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10/22/2012 08:26    
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Regarding the Citibank transfer, I have lived in Colombia for 5 years and there are not any US banks that permit free transfers. Actually all US banks with offices in foreign countries are actually separate companies due to international law. For small amounts of cash (less than $500) I use Citibank ATM machines with a fee of $5 + 1% (less than $10 total) direct to/from my BofA account in the USA. For larger amounts up to $10k you may wire transfer for a fee of around $35 (depending upon the sending bank transfer fees) but may also need permission from the foreign government through the local bank but you must be in Colombia. The primary requirement for wire transfer is you must have a foreign account that also requires a cedula (similar to SS#). For large transfers into the country for real estate, etc. there are also fiduciary banks that are good for one time transfers.

gregfarrell
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10/22/2012 11:55    
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We recently opened a bank account in Medellin at Bancolombia, and did not need a cedula. We used our passport. We are from San Diego, California, and plan on moving to Colombia in December. We were preparing our banking requirements while visiting in September and October.

chilango
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10/22/2012 15:38    
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WOW.. can you please tell me how to get a hold of someone there at the bancolombia en medellin??? i need an account now. :)

brson
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10/22/2012 16:42    
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I'm afraid, as I indicated in the message, that you need a local Colombian contact with connections to escort you to a bank that is cooperative with your contact. My direct contact at the bank will be of no use to you at all. Sorry!

kcsusa
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5/30/2013 13:16    
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Just curious if you finally found a good way to transfer funds from Colombia to U.S. I am currently in Bogota, Colombia and my Colombian wife will soon be selling her apartment. We plan on moving back to good old USA. I came across TransferMate to transfer money from Colombia to USA. I wonder if anyone had any experience with this service?

http://www.transfermate.com/en/transfer_money.asp?from=Colombia&to=USA

JeffPerren
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5/30/2013 18:48    
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We have and have not found a good way to do this.

For small amounts we just use the ATM at our local Wells Fargo. The bank manager says she can do the large transfer for $70 when and if we sell the flat in Bogota. We haven't yet tried that method, though.

As far as our experience to date, moving her money while still living in Bogota from a Colombian bank to the Colombian subsidiary of Citibank was of zero help.

JeffPerren
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5/30/2013 18:49    
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P.S. I don't have any experience with TransferMate.

kcsusa
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5/31/2013 03:35    
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Jeff, to move funds from Colombia to the US. For example, an amount of US$100,000 (100,000 X 1800 = 180,000,000 Col Pesos)

Via a Citibank ATM, a daily $550 withdrawal @ $4 service fee for each transaction, represents 0.72%. It would take 181 days to withdraw the whole thing. (100,000 / 550). Total fees: 181 days X US$4 = US$724. (0.72%)

Via a wire Transfer - For example, if a US$10,000 transfer costs a wire transfer fee of US$70, that represents 0.7%. Needs to be initiated at the bank of origin, in this case, Colombia. In Person.

The real question is the rate used to convert Pesos to dollars in each method. ColombiaGringo mentioned hidden fees in the conversion rate used in wire transfers.

Arranged in person, at the branch in Colombia. Have the Citibank (Colombia) or Bancolombia Account pre-set up for online transfers and/or to have a family member/authorized person being able to transfer the money back and forth. To set up online transfers from Colombia to the USA, you need to arrange this in the actual branch in Colombia, or you need to have a family member/authorized person put onto your Colombian account to make the transfers for you.

You indicated that your banker at Wells Fargo (USA) is confident she can initiate a transfer request from your Citibank accoun tin Bogota, I would be proactive and call Citibank - Colombia to really find out if that is possible.

kcsusa
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5/31/2013 03:53    
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Jeff, I am also looking into Citibank Global Transfers. Colombia is one of the countries where this is available.
I think you should open a Citibank account in the US. See this link from Citibank Australia http://www.citibank.com.au/aus/international_banking/transferring_money.htm More later ...

kcsusa
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5/31/2013 04:03    
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Citibank Malaysia brings us a Citibank Global Transfer Demo!

http://www.cit-bkn.com/english/citi-online/demo/cgt.html

kcsusa
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5/31/2013 04:14    
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Jeff, and finally Citibank Colombia
https://www.citibank.com.co/colombia/lacocg/contacto/globalbanking.htm

It says, and I translate:
Citigold Global Banking
We offer you control over your finances regardless of the country where you are. Citibank is a global bank, present in all five continents and in more than 100 countries, and we want that when you travel you feel at home.
:-)

kcsusa
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5/31/2013 08:55    
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Jeff:

Review all these results from Citibank USA.

https://online.citibank.com/US/JRS/globalsearch/Search.do?qt=citi+global+transfers

kcsusa
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5/31/2013 10:45    
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Jeff, this one is an interesting one. We are currently living in Colombia. We have an account with Bancolombia. I am planning on opening a Citibank account here in the Metropolis Center (Bogota).

By the way, I have a US Citibank checking account in Miami.

I found this interesting page from Citibank Colombia. Under Citigold, Citibank NA, it talks about a checking account with access to Citibank Online (USA), among other things. USA Bill Paying among other things. If that is the case, then the mechanism is there to transfer funds from Colombia to USA. As I said, I will be opening tis account shortly and will post information here for the benefits of the expats.

https://www.citibank.com.co/colombia/lacocg/citibankna/clientespersonales.htm

ColombiaGringo
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5/31/2013 21:04    
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just watch out for the high fees, and big difference from exchange rates. its not cheap. you will find better solutions. sounds easy but its not cheap to convert money from dollars to pesos.

kcsusa
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6/1/2013 13:05    
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I hear you Colombiagringo.

Do you mean companies like Transfermate.com or xendpay.com?
http://www.transfermate.com/en/transfer_money.asp?from=Colombia&to=USA
http://www.xendpay.com/usa

Or one of these stock brokerage firms:
http://www.dicepaginasamarillas.com/Colombia/Stock-Brokers/Bogota-D.c/en/search_state-page-1.html

It is scary because of this:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/02/us-colombia-interbolsa-idUSBRE8A10RG20121102

Can you recommend one of them?

JeffPerren
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6/1/2013 16:11    
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kcusa,

Thanks for the info. Initiating the xfer *in person* in Colombia is one of the major sticking points. As I said down the thread earlier, this is both very expensive and quite inconvenient. (It's a very long way from Northern Idaho, were we now live.)

We'll do that if necessary but would prefer to avoid it.

Even giving my wife's sister power of attorney doesn't seem to have helped matters. The bank won't deal with her as a proxy.

By the way, we're not very worried about the FX rate; we expect that to fluctuate and, so far, has not been a big percentage penalty. We are careful but that's unavoidable no matter how the money is moved, even if you were to take it out of the country oneself physically.

Felipe58
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6/18/2013 09:25    
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How best to transfer money in and out of Colombia is a current consideration for me, but the difference being bringing it in from Europe rather than the US.

I am married to a Colombiana, the reason for this will be clearer in a minute. The sale of my house in Spain is due to go through shortly and I want to bring the money into the country so we can stop renting and buy here.

Having taken advice, if you want to have easy access to your money after you have invested it here, and to be able to take it back out of the country without being stomoped for taxes, then you need to submit a Form 4, prior to any transfer, but this ties you to a specific amount, for a specific purpose i.e. you have to transfer the money to the seller of the house, or the investment company, not to your Bank Account, the form is registered with the Bank of Colombia, and you are free to move the money back out of the country.

That is not what I want , because the money from my Spanish house, will buy us a house here and give me money for other things as well, therefore I will have to submit a Form 5, which is submitted every time you transfer money for living expences, usually by the Company transferring the money. But then you can't take the money out of the Country without getting stomped for taxes.

However there is a way around this, and that is, to sell your house or investment, and put the money in your Colombian Spouse's account. They can then transfer the money out of the Country, in the same way you brought it in, and there is nothing to stop them sending it to an account in your name, there just has to be proof of where the money originated.

If you want advice on moving large amounts of money in or out of Colombia, I would recommend Titan Intercontinental (http://www.titan.com.co/) they have an Office in most Cities, and what they can't answer there, they will start a telephone conference with their HQ in Cali, I have found them very helpful. Also when importing money, if it goes via Titan it goes into your local account in Pesos, so there is no local Bank charge for changing Dollars.

zhongshan153
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9/19/2013 08:11    
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I am an expat in Taiwan. If you are talking about large sums of money, then the best bank I have found is HSBC. With US$1K in the account you have premier status. If HSBC is available in Columbia, then open a multi-currency premier account. The 1st $100K covers all bank accounts. The only cost would be the conversion fee. Once in US$ there is no fees for moving money between the two premier accounts. Citibank has something similar but they wanted US$500K. This has worked for me, but again, this is mostly moving money from the US to Taiwan. Hope this helps.

ElinglesLoco
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9/19/2013 10:15    
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I tried that, as I have been with HSBC for many years. They don't have branches in Colombia, and don't deal with any Colombian banks. They also told me that after all these years with them, if I close my UK address, they would close my account. Therefore If I sell my home here, which I intend to do, they will kick me out of my accounts which I have held for 20 years, always in healthy credit.

That's some loyalty.

jamesskalski
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9/19/2013 12:49    
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Many folks open up an account at brokerage firms like "Charles Schwab"
for free international money transfers.
(That's one bright light in the new
"dark" world order.)
Cheers, James Skalski

HalS
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9/24/2013 08:35    
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I have found moving funds from the U.S. to Colombia is best done through a wire transfer through your bank. It works well for me but I have never tried to wire transfer money from Colombia to the U.S. Wire transfers of mine go through Citi bank......so I only pay a domestic fee plus the exchange fee.

zhongshan153
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9/24/2013 09:57    
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Look at HSBC EXPAT
I haven't looked at it because I have HSBC in Taiwan

JL1428
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3/11/2015 15:59    
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I am in a similar situation today. My mom recently sold a property in Colombia and I am at the point where I don't know what to do.

The Banco de Bogota says that they need to deposit the money in an account in order to transfer the funds. My mom doesn't have an account overthere.

At this point what is the best way to bring the money into the US without neccesarily lose a BIGGER chuck than the exchange (which is already a big one)

JL

JeffPerren
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3/11/2015 16:37    
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Hi JL,

I'm afraid my knowledge is very limited. I don't travel regularly to and from there nor do business in Colombia.

Based on my wife's knowledge, I'm surprised your mother could sell a house without having the funds already deposited in a bank. Did they pay cash?

If so, buying gold and transporting it might be your best bet. But that might be subject to confiscation, since they're always on the lookout for drug dealers trying to move funds.

I regret I can't be much help to you. Best to hope for someone else on this thread to offer some sound advice.

We never personally solved the problem of how to inexpensively xfer funds. My wife just gets small amounts via ATM.

JL1428
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3/12/2015 08:47    
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Jeff, the fact is that the money is still in the Banco de Bogota since they were the ones who approved the buyers credit.

Someone suggested to have the check sent here and attempt a deposit but I think that is risky not knowing what the outcome might be.

I will end up with her check traveling back and forth for no reason.

Thnk you for your reply.

JL

zhongshan153
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3/12/2015 09:46    
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I don't know much about anything; however, have you tried sending it to an FX account?

thelocogringo
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3/12/2015 11:41    
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Gentlemen, several times I have transfered money from my BanColombia account to my bank in the USA. They do this every day, no big deal. For a large amount, the cost is minimal.

Somthing to think about when traveling internationally with a check for over $10,000. A check is considered the same as cash. There are no restrictions as to bringing any size check, or cash or any monetary instrument in or out of both Colombia and the USA. HOWEVER, if you do not declair it and they catch you, pitty the fool who was dumb enough to do this.

I really do not understand what the issue is. Just go to your bank in Colombia, fill out the forms and transfer the money.

JeffPerren
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3/12/2015 11:52    
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Thank you. Good to hear from someone experienced in this.

I'm in the U.S., and going to a bank in Colombia isn't an option. But I do know that my U.S. bank will xfer funds from Colombia. The question is how much and at what cost.

That said, the idea of simply writing a check and carrying it is interesting. Should we be in Colombia again, that might be worth pursuing as an option.

Thanks again.

Jeff

JeffPerren
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3/12/2015 12:31    
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P.S. I was under the impression that transporting more than ($10,000?) was forbidden, in any case.

Is that not correct? Is it simply that you're required to declare it? Will it likely be confiscated? Will a U.S. bank cash the check?

If that's all good, this is sounding more attractive all the time. Paying the exchange rate and nothing more sounds like a good deal.

thelocogringo
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3/12/2015 16:04    
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Jeff, there is no limit to the amount you can travel with. You just have to declair it.

Remember, a check, doese not
Ater weather it is personal or a bank check, if valed is the aame aa cash for this purpose.

Several years ago, like 8 or 10,, when I had an account at Banco Tequendama, I wrote out a personal check from my USA account and deposited it in my Colombian savings account. It took several weeks to clear but this also worked out to be very easy.

All banks here in Colombia will accept a check drawn on an American bank in Dollars. Perhaps your bank in the USA will do the same in reverse.

Your bank can do anything, they just have to want to.

thelocogringo
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3/12/2015 16:07    
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Jeff, there is no limit to the amount you can travel with. You just have to declair it.

Remember, a check, doese not mater weather it is personal or a bank check, if it is valed is thesaame as cash for this purpose.

Several years ago, like 8 or 10, when I had an account at Banco Tequendama, I wrote out a personal check from my USA account and deposited it in my Colombian savings account. It took several weeks to clear but this also worked out to be very easy.

All banks here in Colombia will accept a check drawn on an American bank in Dollars. Perhaps your bank in the USA will do the same in reverse.

Your bank can do anything, they just have to want to.

suadel
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3/16/2015 14:51    
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loco: can I take my checkbook from Bancolombia to the US, go to my bank and write a check to my US account. I will just cross the borders with my checkbook. Is this, then, possible? Talking about business accounts.

thelocogringo
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3/16/2015 15:03    
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Yes, your un written checks are not negotiable and therefore not subject to control. Will your bank in the states accept a check in pesos from Ban Colombia, I do not see why not. There is no legal reason not to, if they want to is the question.

Better sooner than later as the peso is soon to be 3,000 at the rate it is going.

Good luck and always be just a little loco.

suadel
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3/16/2015 15:46    
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Tnx for the opinion.

bigjailerman
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3/16/2015 23:13    
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Good reading between the lines.. Loco you definitely know the ropes...always great advice

bmcb
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4/20/2015 14:24    
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I transferred over $100k to a Davivenda Corredores for 0.5% fee, real time exchange rate on way in. Idk if anything beats this, I think one guy said in this chain if you can open a Citibank account in colombia you can transfer at 0.35%.. Is that confirmed to be at the actual exchange rate?

I checked the exchange rate at boa to cash a check in cop for way out, it looks like they're taking 9% by giving a bad exchange rate. At this rate, I'd rather use Davivenda.

Hoopster3pt
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4/20/2015 15:22    
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I need to do the same. I have Schwab and transfers are free from their end. I arrive May 1 in Medellin and have a resort booked in Santa Marta on the 10th ( why so rushed...cause I had to!) and I can fly or take the bus. Instead I want to add real pain to my life and buy a Nissan X-Trail (about a 2012) for around 20K US so I can drive. I intend to buy one anyway, so why not now. My question is then, where do I wire transfer to? If it's a dealer (consessionaire?) I would assume to their account. With a private party? Lawyer? Guido the Magnificent? Anyone done this? Is Davivenda Corredores the receiver, if I understood you correctly, and is it accessible to a new arrival with only a passport
and a yellow fever card!?Thanks

Hoopster3pt
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4/20/2015 15:25    
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Ouch!! I thought this was the start of a new thread as it came by itself to my email. After I posted, I saw this was a long one. I'll read it all to see if my questions have already been answered. What a dumb ass! Sorry!

bmcb
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4/20/2015 16:39    
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You would need to open a brokerage account at Davivenda, then wire to it working with your banker on the specifics. not sure whether you can do it remotely.

Hoopster3pt
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4/20/2015 17:45    
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Thanks...I'll pursue this.

ColombiaGringo
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4/21/2015 08:55    
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WARNING WITH CHECKS: While some people have luck most accounts DO NOT support international checks. Please double check with your bank before you take general advice from the internet.

I work daily with legalizing international bank wires for foreigners in Colombia. This is an issue that has to be handeled by both the bank that receives the check and then the check has to be cleared by a Colombian bank. So, bottom line international checks require cooperation from both sides.

Last year we had a case where a client took a certified check issued by CITIBANK in Medellin, and he depositied it in his bank in New York City.The bank accepted the check in NYC.The citibank branch in Colombia said they could not cash a check in pesos because the bank account in the states was in dollars. Client had to come back to Medellin and wire money to the USA.

I have had friends with premium checking accounts at bancolombia deposit checks from the USA and they were accepted. My normal savings account, which most people have here, does not accept foreign checks.

As you become familiar with the Colombian Peso you will find that its one of the currencies around the world that is most diffiicult to change into another currencies.

Receiving wires in Colombia should not be done lightly. Wether you know it or not, every wire transfer you receive in Colombia is coded, and if not done correctly you can be increasing your taxable income in Colombia. Under the new tax laws of 2013 any foreigner that is in Colombia over 183 days in a year must file taxes.

Keep in mind double taxing is not legal in Colombia. If your a foreigner and your not paying in the USA you could be responsible to pay in Colombia.

Now this brings us back to ATM cards. These are a gray area, and using them you will not have a risk of accidentially raising your income and making you responsible to pay taxes.

Incorrectly filing wire transfers on the other hand can get you up to 100% fines on money. Normally these fines are not this high, but like i mentioned becareful of the codes used to classify your wires. The DIAN examines these for taxable income. Donations for example have the highest rate. Monthly wires are suspect to be interpreted as income. Large transfers if done right can be documented as a transfer of assets. However to be on the safeside be sure you can proof you have paid taxes overseas so you dont get taxed again here.

Despite the hassles Colombia Remains an awesome place to live.

James Lindzey
Colombia Legal & Accounting SAS
57-301-337-1881 / 57-4-444-6634 / 1-305-767-2766

ColombiaGringo
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4/21/2015 09:01    
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DISCLAIMER: Remember the golden rule in Colombia and most developing countries is that the only thing consistent is inconsistency!

soystar1
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4/21/2015 09:07    
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This is very true. I went to my local Bancolombia to verify about personal checks. I received a NO we don't receive those here answer. Best of luck.

MushroomMike
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5/1/2015 22:22    
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Transferring money OUT of USA

I can only tell you what I have done in sending money to Singapore and Australia from the US.

I do NOT know if this would work in transferring money out of Columbia (or Chile) into the USA, but researching the idea is worthwhile.

I "enrolled/joined" a foreign exchange called OZForez, which is based in Australia. I did all of this online, by the way.

OZForex handed me off to their US counterpart, which is called USForex. USForex uses the Australian facilities of OZForex (OZF) to handle all of their communications with me. When they answer the phone with "Good day", and use other Aussie phrases, it gives a hint of where they are. I also asked directly with every phone call to them "where are you?". It was always Aus., it may have been New Zealand once, I forgot. The access number to OZF is a phone number based in San Francisco, Calif., so the cost is minimal.

They transferred monies for me using ACH (Automated Clearing House) numbers on my US-based checking account. ACH takes a little longer (5-7 days), but costs nothing. A wire is faster, but more costly. A wire transfer is only of use to me if time is of the essence! ACH transfers are done in "daily batches" rather than an ASAP basis - which is the method uses for wire transfers.

I was told if I had USD100,000+ to transfer, to ALWAYS break it into smaller payments, in case one payment gets "lost" - which is usually a temporary loss. The lost payment is usually found, but it may take weeks to find it in the wrong account!

EDIT: (May 2015) I have been using a more economical ACH transfer out of the US by the name "TransferWise", and their total fee is one (1) percent! They are by far cheaper than USForex and probably take a couple of days LONGER- usually less than a business week total time.

I hope this helps the OP.

shano
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6/9/2015 16:46    
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I notice you said that if you spend more than 183 days in Colombia then you must file taxes and as you are transferring money to colombia it may increase your taxable income there and have to pay tax on it. If That is the case doesn't the law state that a new resident in colombia doesn't have to pay tax on foreign sourced income for 4 years. Would a monthly transfer be interpreted as income into your account in colombia or be determined as foreign sourced income and not be subject to Tax as its from overseas and not a colombian source?

shano
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6/10/2015 14:27    
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I did a little bit more digging and worked it out on my own The law changed as of 2013 tax year. Any foreigner that spends more than 183 days on a rolling scale per year is liable to pay tax in colombia for the next 2 years on their world wide income including shares , rent from properties etc that are not even in Colombia. I know its a different subject now but wow. Thats a game changer from the tax law for foreigners a year before.

bigjailerman
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6/10/2015 15:34    
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... Are you saying we have to pay in Colombia and back in the USA? Doesn't that offset the other, at least in the US? I've read before that if you pay here it counts toward the us tax liability and vice versa? I how someone can straighten me out on this. Also I've read in another part that there may be a delay for it to take effect after à several year period... I am not 100%sure though

Captain90266
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6/15/2015 20:53    
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Open a Davivienda account in Florida. yes it is the same bank and they have one branch. Perfect option.

Waltercito
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6/15/2015 22:30    
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My Colombian wife with Davivienda accounts says the Miami bank doesn't do transactions with the Colombian one. Your experience is different?

bigjailerman
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6/15/2015 22:47    
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I'm definately interested in that answer.. :)

bigjailerman
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6/15/2015 22:58    
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Google Davivienda in Miami is same bank but no FDIC and I don't know whatever else, however it seems to be the same bank in Colombia with a Miami branch

Depósitos no están asegurados por el FDIC (Federal Deposits Insurance Corporation)

Davivienda International
Somos una sucursal internacional del Banco Davivienda S.A. (Colombia) con domicilio en Miami Florida, regulada y supervisada por el
Sistema de la Reserva Federal de...

Deposits are not insured by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation)

Davivienda International
We are an international branch of Banco Davivienda SA (Colombia) residing in Miami Florida, regulated and supervised by the
System Federal Reserve ...

bigjailerman
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6/15/2015 23:14    
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Minimum noon interest bearing check amount is 5k USD.. if before 25 bucks a month... They have a lot of fees it appears..

jonrod888
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6/16/2015 10:43    
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I have a Davivienda account in Colombia and "no" you can not make deposits nor withdrawals in Miami. Colombia regulations apply here while US Fed. regulates there. Same is true for Citibank. I had an account in the US and when in Colombia they did not care. Of course, like any bank you can make wire transfers.

bigjailerman
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6/16/2015 10:59    
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Thanks for clearing that up. Do you know if it works in reverse.. Deposit in Colombia and access it in Miami or is it the same as you stated? After reading their website last night it appeared as if it is connected saying they have a "branch" in Miami.

Thanks

jonrod888
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6/16/2015 12:17    
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It's the same both ways. Citibank advertises that they have offices/branches around the world but you can't have an account in one country and make transactions in another. That bypasses country regulations. If you remember just 20 years ago you could not do banking transactions in different "states" in the US. Interstate banking was not allowed.

Waltercito
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6/16/2015 13:11    
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Thanks, Jon, for clearing up that widely-held misconception.

bigjailerman
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6/16/2015 13:49    
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Thank you

Andresen
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6/16/2015 13:51    
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Regarding "Citibank advertises that they have offices/branches around the world but you can't have an account in one country and make transactions in another."

Just so that isn't taken out of context: I have a US Citibank account and I withdraw cash (a transaction) using many ATMs here in Colombia.

bigjailerman
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6/16/2015 13:59    
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A previous post a few months back outlines the real deal..

The below is the content and link::

donchrisml
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2/7/2015 12:42
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Dear a1diver,

I would like to add some comments to the above statements about Colombian income tax:

1) Tax residence

If you stay in Colombia for at least 183 days within a period of 365 days you become a Colombian tax resident (regardless of your visa situation or the origin of your income). As a consequence, you have to pay income tax in Colombia on your national and worldwide income.

2) If you are a Colombian tax resident and had in 2014 (i.e. the last fiscal period) gross revenues equal to or larger than COP $38.479.500, you have to file a tax return with DIAN (Colombian tax authority) until August or October 2015, depending on the last 2 digits of your cédula de extranjería.

Please note that gross revenues include your pension income (no matter if of national or foreign source).

If, as from 31 December 2013, you had gross assets which value was equal to or greater than COP $123.862.500 (for example real property in the US, Colombia or o third country or bank accounts in a third country), you are also obliged to file a tax return.

3) Basically, pension income is exempted from income tax (article 206 No. 5 of Colombian Tax Statute).

But: if your monthly pension is greater than COP $28.279.000, you have to pay income tax on the part of your pension exceeding said amount.

On the other hand, you should clarify if your pension income is taxable in your country of origin (I presume it is the US).

For example, my country (Germany) in recent years has started to withhold income tax from pension income, regardless if pensioners have their tax residence in Germany or in another country (as Colombia).

4) There is no Double Taxation Treaty between the US and Colombia.

If you live in Colombia and keep receiving, for example, rental income from the US that is subject to income tax in the US, you might have a double taxation issue (as you have to pay taxes in Colombia on your worldwide income).

In most cases such negative effects can be largely alleviated (although not completely eliminated) through filing foreign tax credit forms.

5) Your comments about "rich person tax" (which is actually a tax on presumptive income in order to avoid tax evasion, see article 188 of Colombian Tax Statute) are correct.

Write me an e-mail if you need more information about international taxation and tax issues in Colombia.

christoph.moller@prslaws.com

Best regards,

Chris

http://www.expatexchange.com/expat/index.cfm?frmid=190&tpcid=3396062

jonrod888
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6/16/2015 15:51    
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I apologize Andresen. My "transactions" mean go into the bank and deposit or withdrawal money into your account like you could do in any branch located in the US. Of course, at most any bank you can use the ATM using a debit/credit card with appropriate logo to withdraw cash but you can not use it to make a deposit.

jonrod888
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6/16/2015 15:52    
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I apologize Andresen. My "transactions" mean go into the bank and deposit or withdrawal money into your account like you could do in any branch located in the US. Of course, at most any bank you can use the ATM using a debit/credit card with appropriate logo to withdraw cash but you can not use it to make a deposit.

jonrod888
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6/16/2015 15:52    
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I apologize Andresen. My "transactions" mean go into the bank and deposit or withdrawal money into your account like you could do in any branch located in the US. Of course, at most any bank you can use the ATM using a debit/credit card with appropriate logo to withdraw cash but you can not use it to make a deposit.

jonrod888
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6/16/2015 15:52    
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I apologize Andresen. My "transactions" mean go into the bank and deposit or withdrawal money into your account like you could do in any branch located in the US. Of course, at most any bank you can use the ATM using a debit/credit card with appropriate logo to withdraw cash but you can not use it to make a deposit.

spank12
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6/16/2015 16:28    
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Bigjailerman,,,That's really sounds lawyer wrote that,LOL I wonder what checks and balances they have in place? How would they ever know, since there are no treatys, unless you make a large purchase?

Andresen
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6/16/2015 16:45    
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Jonrod888,
Apology accepted but not required. Just wanted to clarify the situation for others. Thx for your reply.

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