128 comments to Paypal Currency Exchange – USD to CAD Workaround

  • Thanks for the awesome tip. Like you, I have been getting stung. I used to be part of the Royal Bank but I left them because I got tired of their bad service and attitude. Plus their fees were really high. If this is the only way to save on Paypal fees though, I guess I might just have to go pay them a visit. Thanks for the very valuable information.

    • The eCommerce account is most intriguing to me. As long as I can go to the bank once a month i’m likely OK with that account.

      I will need to get the account data to XETrade and Knightsbridge to handle foreign exchange.

  • Great job finding a workaround! Now you can keep more money in your pocket.

  • Paypal fees suck, period. To have to pay an addition fee to transfer or convert each time would really suck. Glad you found a solution to get around this issue. Each dollar saved is a dollar earned.

    Well done!

  • Geez, that can really eat into your revenue! Being in the US, I haven’t been exposed to that issue, but can appreciate how that can impact you guys. That’s almost like an extra 2.5% tax right off the top for folks in Canada. Glad you’re able to find a resourceful workaround.

    I’ve been hit with fees converting into US currency, so can somewhat relate.

    • Ya, CDNs get the short end of the stick on taxes and worse on our purchases. Our Subaru Outback cost 20+% less buying in the States than the same car here in Canada. And that was even with a close to pay, but not quite there, exchange rate.

  • Hunter @ Financially Consumed

    I wouldn’t be happy with losing 2.5% on currency exchanges either. That would really add up to a massive charge over the course of a year. t seems like you have an excellent solution here.

  • This is great information, SPF! 1% is better than what PayPal is charging.

  • Always seemed to me that Paypal charged even more than 2.5% because I always felt my credit card gave better exchange rates than Paypal. I thought I had tested this before but the numbers always favoured the credit card.

    Checking their website it’s clear to see that it is listed as 2.5%. I guess you get rewards on your credit card (I’m talking for purchases) so that still beats Paypal anyday. I wonder if the spot rates they use are identical to those used by the CC companies or if they skim a little bit there somehow too?

  • Very nice! Do you know if it would work with Scotia Bank? I have always done US wire transfer with e-trade US for the company stock. I probably would have to find a US routing number …

    So far, I have left everything in the PayPal account … That’s how I avoid the fees :) It’s adding up though.

  • Excellent piece of info, I as well hate those fees paid to paypal. However, I am disappointed that the solution has to pass by RBC, I just don’t like this bank and do not consider doing business with them anytime in the near future. Hopefully, another way around is found!

  • Actually, the trick is to use a Swift Code. That’s the formal name of the code SPF found. I have used that with Scotia Bank to do US wire transfer from e-trade. You are essentially doing a wire transfer rather than a bank to bank transfer I believe.

    The wire transfers are manually processed out of New York for Scotia Bank. I get a signed paper in the mail a week after the transfer. The Swift Code is international and all the banks should have it.

    The key here that SPF found is how to trick the entry forms from Pay Pal :)

    The thing is that I usually have a 10$ fee on a wire transfer at my bank though. I am trying it out now to see
    1. if it works
    2. if I will be charged a fee


  • Yes very timely read. My experience is same but have avoided some fees but withdrawing more than $150 but the exchange rate is the killer they have a hefty buffer. Fees on the way in and fees on the way out …

  • So far so good….thanks have been looking for a way to save on the exchange and this has appeared to work…just waiting for the confirmation amounts.

  • Thanks SPF, I finally set this up today and am in the process of transferring some US funds out of my Paypal account as we speak!

  • Awesome! I think it worked perfectly! My future traveling self wanting to access USD is thanking you right now!

    I was able to do the whole process online because I already have an RBC account thru my mortgage, which is great!

    Thanks for the great tip :)

  • verdri

    You can exchange Paypal US dollars for free to Canadian dollars using coineta.com They don’t charge any fees

  • Kyle

    Does this work with TD Bank USD chequing?

  • Just wanted to say again that these tips are awesome; I’m sure RBC is also happy at having a new customer. ;) They’ve been pretty good for me so far.

  • Leslie

    Does this still work? I have tried a couple of times and they keep coming back as ” bank account invalid”

    • This is the first I have heard it may not work. Are you using a RBC account and the appropriate routing number (U.S.)?

      • Leslie

        Yes. Last time I just put “rbc” instead of the full name but otherwise I had all the correct info. I will try again. Not sure if they lock you out after failed attempts…. I contacted the help desk via email and they said usd accounts at Canadian banks aren’t supported at this time…

  • waldo

    Great tip! How long did it take before you saw the money in your US account?

  • Kevin

    Thanks so much for this tip,i’ve always want to do this and did not know how till i came across this blog,i’ve open a U.S chequing account with RBC on monday this week and i added it to my papyal the same day with all the info that was explain in this blog,and today is thursday i was able to confirm my paypal account,it only take 3 days now i’m so happy i can transfer my US money to my bank account with out being charge those exchange rate fees.Thank you

  • Great guide, I’ll be following it this week to avoid (or at least reduce) a lot of currency conversion expenses. I have an ING business account where I already do the conversions whenever I can. Currently ING is quoting $1.012 to buy and $0.983 to sell, which looks like a spread of 2.9 cents or a cost of 1.45% for a single conversion. Do you get a much better deal than that with knightsbridge or xetrade?

  • ace

    Great solution and thank you for sharing. Can it be done with a BMO US account?

  • Oliver

    It worked thank you. I’ll just have to wait for the American dollar to get stronger now.

  • Roger

    I tried it – it failed the first time but worked the second time – I had put a hyphen between the two bank numbers, which causes an error – the bank returning a message that such an account number is not valid. Found some clarifying information at:

  • MIni

    Hi, I’m just wondering, my RBC account name is different than my paypal name. Will that matter?


  • Mini

    I checked with RBC, is it the called the RBC US High Interest eSavings® or US Personal?

  • I have a very similar problem with Euro’s. Does anyone know if this approah using RBC will work for Euros to CAD?

  • Mini

    It worked!! Thanks everyone. Going to transfer the money now.

  • galand

    I was in RBC to check this out before I read your article. They claim to have a Canadian $US account and a US $US account. I am reaching 60 so the Canadian account is free but the US account has a fee. I am assuming that you are using the Canadian account and using the US transit number. I am surprised that RBC would allow that.

  • John

    Hi, i have a RBC canadian CAD & usd account and i have a RBC US usd account. Will that routing number 026004093 work with my RBC canadian usd account OR my RBC US usd account.

    In other words, when entering the account number and transit number,should i enter the RBC canadian usd account or the RBC US usd account.

    Just wondering how the routing number can work with the RBC canadian usd account since it is part of the canadian branch.


  • Shawn

    Thanks for the great workaround!

    Any Idea if this will work the other direction? Sending money in USD from the RBC account to a US bank?

  • pete

    Can’t believe this actually worked using a foreign routing number.


  • Maria

    Does it still work?

    I read on another forum that as of July 2013, Paypal closed the loophole, and banned the transit number of RBC. Is that true? Has anyone tried it in the last weeks?

    I would like to know before going to RBC and opening a bank account.

    Thank you!

  • Cipher

    I just tried to add the account today. The RBC us routing number doesn’t seem to work any more. I was only able to add it as a Canadian bank.

    • Cipher

      I got it to work after a few trial and errors! I had to use a US Paypal account (when registering, the address had to be in the States). I then transferred my USD from my Canadian Paypal account to my US Paypal account. And then withdraw from my USD Paypal account to my USD RBC savings account.

    • Cipher

      The RBC branch showing up with the US routing number is:

      4TH FLOOR
      NEW YORK

  • RG

    Hi thanks for this. Is the 2.5% fee ‘hidden’ in their currency conversion rate (Searching today I stumbled on a site implying that, I can paste the link but don’t want to spam) or is it on top of it? Reason I ask is when I tried to withdraw today and used the currency converter (on the page where you enter the withdrawal amount) it was almost exactly 2.5% less than reported on business sites.

  • Tracy

    I was wondering if the workaround is still working? Has anybody done it lately? Also, if you are indicating that the bank is in the US, does this mean the PayPal info will be sent to the IRS and what kind of tax implications will this have?

  • Tracy

    Thanks for the feedback, disappointing as it is. Any advise on the best bank to use for small business and how to handle a business that charges in US$? Do I just have to suck up paypal’s 2.5? Would it be worth my while registering my business in the US too since I need to submit returns for the US anyway

  • Kevin

    Just a heads up to anybody still trying to figure this out: if it wasn’t working before for anybody, then I would suggest giving it another try. It’s working again.

    I went through the entire process in the last couple of weeks. For a while, PayPal wouldn’t let me add a “USA” account. This past Friday, I decided to give it another shot and adding the account finally worked. I confirmed my deposits on Monday and then did a test transfer of $50 to my eSavings account. The amount showed up a few hours ago.

  • Travis

    What am I missing here? Paypal’s exchange rates are better than RBCs.

    As of today, USD -> CAD
    xe.com: 1.12394
    PayPal: 1.0954 (-2.5%)
    RBC[1]: 1.0861 (-3.37%)

    What’s the point of transferring those US dollars into an RBC account? If you ever want to use those funds in Canada, you’ll be charged RBC’s 3.37%.


    • The RBC USD esavings account holds USD which you then convert using a fx serivce other than RBC. No fees to RBC.

      • Travis

        If a third party service is actually required to beat Paypal’s exchange rate then isn’t that a critical part of the workaround?

        What are some examples of exchange services? By how much do they beat Paypal’s 2.5%? Do these services have any additional fees?

        • Tom

          You can walk out of any Canadian RBC branch with US cash physically in your hand and take it to any currency exchange business that you wish to deal with. There are many to choose from that beat the bank’s rates. With my RBC US account, I’m allowed one withdraw per month without any charge.

          I have been using Kantor to exchange into Canadian funds.

          I have been doing this monthly now for years – thanks to this article.

  • r

    this article is great but works against itself. its the first thing to pop up on google when you type in “paypal exchange cad usd”, which everyone does since paypal doesnt show xchange rates on their website. so rbc or paypal will see this article and fix their loophole. time to delete this article

  • John Robertson

    I’m trying the following US routing number for TD CanadaTrust – 026009593 – that is the BOA (Bank of America) number for wire transfers from the US to my TD US$ account. Then I put the branch number and account number as a single long string of digits and PayPal seemed to accept it as a US bank.

    I have both a US$ and Can$ account on PayPal, I use PayPal US (.com) and not any other. I also have a US shipping address that is registered with PayPal.

    So, we shall see if this works, but it won’t be until sometime next week as I wasn’t prepared to give PayPal my login info for my TD account and opted for the small deposit option. I’m doing this on a Saturday and it takes a few days to go through the system…I’ll report back if I get a chance…

    This may also work for Euros – but you will have to figure out the Euro routing number, etc. on your own.

  • Now that the Canadian dollar value has dropped relevant to USD, I thought this would be a good time to transfer some USD to Can $. When I recently moved $1000 USD to my Canadian bank account I thought I was getting a nice exchange rate “bonus” when about $1200 showed up in my bank account. Today I looked at my paypal balance and see that they withdrew the $1200 from my balance, which does not make sense to me! Am I all backwards on this exchange thing or did I get ripped off??? Please RSVP to my email address in case i miss this if you have an answer.

  • Shaun

    you can also use a Chase Amazon.ca credit card.

    They charge no additional fees for currency conversion.

    The VISA exchange rates are a little higher than actual, but I’m sure they are inline with .5-.75% you mentioned in your article.

  • matt

    Has anyone figured out how to make this work with Scotiabank as well? I would eventually need this money in a scotiabank USD account so it would be a pain to have to transfer paypal to RBC to Scotiabank.

    Also has anyone set up the RBC account with paypal lately? Reading forums it sounds like it’s been on and off.

    • I am fairly certain it won’t work with any bank other than RBC. I read on redflag the other day that RBC is still working.

      • Dave

        Txs for the reply above, and this update SPF. I’ll give it a try next week and update when I find out.

        • Dave

          An update on my Paypal withdrawal and RBC account set up. This solution worked great for a larger transfer for me, Txs Sustainable. I actually went with the US Direct Checking option that was offered even though its a few extra $s a month. I choose figuring the Canadian checking option would work, but the US one might have the best chance. It also allows me to withdrawal US $s from US basd RBC ATMs, which should balance out the extra monthly charges if I make a trip or two each year.

  • Alexandra

    Another way for Canadians to save money when transferring money internationally is to open up a CANADIAN FOREX account online. You pay a flat $15 fee for the transaction (if it is under $10,000) plus the exchange rate and that is all. Clean and simple. No hidden fees. I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out how to make a $5700 USD payment to Israel for the past month. Reading blogs about loopholes on PayPal, exchange rates, international cross-border fee, commission fees, conversion fees, ETC ETC. After reviewing numerous methods posted by other people trying to save money I realized that Canadian Forex is the absolute best method. Even with a Chase MasterCard, PayPal charges the recepient or sender 3.5% + 30 cents for what they call a cross-border fee. Canadian Forex doesn’t. Just another suggestion that I hope helps you fellow Canadians save. We always get burned financially. It’s so unfair.

  • Bottomline

    I believe that most Credit Cards also charge this fee but it is hidden. Look at your agreement.

    • John Robertson

      The exchange rate for converting from US to Canadian funds as priced by PayPal is about the same rate you get from your bank when converting US to Canadian funds.

      Try this the next time you want to withdraw money from PayPal, note the exchange rate – do a similar setup of the transaction at your bank’s online site. I think you might well find that PayPal is about the same or possibly slightly better than the bank exchange rate for converting US to CDN $.

      This is not of much comfort if you want to simply move USD from PayPal to your USD Canadian bank account…

  • Ana

    I have been charged the PayaPal Currency Exchange Fee for two decades. Imagine how much money was wasted. I will try opening up an account with the Royal Bank and registering the account with PayPal. How easy is it to transfer money from the Royal Bank account to my account at another bank? Many thanks.

  • Richard

    So, with this RBC USA account, people who purchase products in the USA with USA dollars, it will be deposited into my paypay account once registered with RBC?

  • Owen

    I’m in Canada. An American online vendor I have been dealing with for years has forced customers to use Paypal for payment. The Vendor charged me in $CAN. Paypal charged me slightly for than 2.5% more than that amount to pay the vendor in USD.

    If I understand this workaround correctly, the USD RBC account will be linked to my Paypal account and, as long as there are funds in that account, and I instruct Paypal to obtain the funds from that account, I will also avoid the fees like those just described?

    Also, as Canadians, are we permitted by Paypal to have linked, for example, a Canadian bank account, a Canadian credit card, AND a USD account simultaneously?

    • Hi Owen,

      I will answer best I can.

      If I understand this workaround correctly, the USD RBC account will be linked to my Paypal account and, as long as there are funds in that account, and I instruct Paypal to obtain the funds from that account, I will also avoid the fees like those just described?

      If you are moving money from the USD RBC account into your Paypal you should incur no fees that I know of. That being said, I rarely fund my Paypal account – I withdraw funds from it. Prior to making an attempt Paypal will present the entire financial terms of the transaction. This would be the same with any bank account linked to Paypal – all of this to the best of my knowledge.

      Also, as Canadians, are we permitted by Paypal to have linked, for example, a Canadian bank account, a Canadian credit card, AND a USD account simultaneously?

      I do not know the official Paypal policy on this. I have the above all linked in my account right now and have not had issues for quite a few years now (4+). But again, I do not know what the official Policy states. If you happen to learn it please return and share the knowledge!

      Thanks for the thoughtful questions,

  • Myles

    Is this still the case in 2015? I just opened a USD account with Scotia.

  • Myles

    This does not work.

    After a lot of hassle I finally set up a US high interest eSavings account. I sent my $2100 USD from paypal to my RBC account and it all showed up just fine. When I went to withdraw the cash (today), the exchange rate was 1.2583. I checked with PayPal (again, today) and the exchange rate is 1.26204.

    This method cost me $10 and several hours of my life. Would not recommend.

  • Ben

    Looks like this no longer works Paypal wont let you setup the account this way, they dont like the routing number

  • I want to give a big THANK YOU to you. I set up my bank account on Thursday last week, made the transfer to RBC from my PayPal account the same day and the funds literally showed up on Friday and I made a withdrawal. It was a seamless process from start to finish it took me 35 minutes and that included walking to the branch to open the account! Plus my Paypal Business name and my RBC bank account names are different and it went through fine. Now I just need to figure out the foreign exchange currency.

    All my regular banking is done through TD but I have an ING now Tangerine bank account and thought I would do the transfer through them. Do you have any thoughts about using them for foreign exchange?

    • Very happy it worked for you.

      As mentioned in the article, I don’t use a bank for my F/X transactions. I use Knightsbridge, regularly enough, that opening an account with them is worth it. I think I have paid . I am not sure ING is even doing F/X. And the big banks will all take 2-3% (of your money) to do the conversion, from my experience.

      Take a look at the last italicized paragraph of the article for my opinion on getting less than 1% F/X rate charges. Yes, you will need to make an account and prove you aren’t trying to launder money, but if you make a few transactions the savings really add up.

      Feel free to send me an email via my contact page as well if you need more information – happy to help!

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