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LucyK
08-10-2013, 12:00
Hi there,

For those of you who are US citizens, living and working in Russia, what's the best way of sending money home? I currently have a simple bank account opened to me by my Russian employer. It's not a major bank and quite costly in terms of money transfers. At the moment, I simply change rubles to dollars and bring some home physically with me when I travel, which is obviously neither smart nor sustainable.

One friend suggested I open a raiffeisen rubles and dollars account, this way I can transfer between the two for free and have a bank card that would let me withdraw dollars. I was denied an account, however. I heard that there were some legal changes in the US regarding foreign accounts which makes it difficult to open one abroad - something to do with tax issues. But honestly, I don't know.

My next step will be to go through the paperwork nightmare of doing the same with CitiBank... but wondering if anyone here might have better alternatives. Paypal transfers? Some other customer-service friendly bank with cheap transfer rates?

Any advice would be welcome.

skomie86
09-10-2013, 03:53
Contact is everywhere and is cheap. I have used a couple services including my own Citibank and find it best when transferring large sums to the US. Citibank charges me a flat 1% transfer fee (unfortunately, I don't have enough to upgrade to the .5% fee).

Here is the breakdown in fees for Contact:

$1500 or less costs $15
$1500 - $5000 costs 1% of amount being transferred
$5000 or more costs $50

Check out a location on their website.
http://www.contact-sys.com/


Contact is meant for remittance so it's best to send it either to yourself or a family member. You don't need a bank account either. You just need to provide the recipient's bank info. The first time can be long depending on the banker you get but once you sign up, the next times go faster.

ilya25
09-10-2013, 05:07
shop arround for the best transfer fees
you can transfer money w/o opening the acoount
also americans need to report foreign accounts to irs

Btnaughton
09-10-2013, 20:14
shop arround for the best transfer fees
you can transfer money w/o opening the acoount
also americans need to report foreign accounts to irs

I've been using WU. Expensive I know, but hey, I won't open a foreign account. :AngelPray:

rlowe1991
26-10-2013, 19:52
I saw on Cberbank's website that you can open an account and send money to any American account. I'm going to open an account soon and let you know how it works, price wise and what not.

Cheyenne
11-11-2013, 15:13
I'm an American and I too was turned down by Raiffeisen. I opened an account at Unicredit and it turned out that their transfer rate from their internet banking site was half a percentage point lower from Raiffeisen's. At the time is was 1% whereas Raiffeisen was 1.5% - not sure if those are still current, this was from a little over a year ago.

I had also tried to use the account my bf and I had set up at Raiffeisen to transfer dollars to the US and never managed to complete it successfully, despite long phone calls with customer service reps.

No problems with Unicredit thus far - fingers crossed.

AstarD
11-11-2013, 15:48
Hi there,

For those of you who are US citizens, living and working in Russia, what's the best way of sending money home? I currently have a simple bank account opened to me by my Russian employer. It's not a major bank and quite costly in terms of money transfers. At the moment, I simply change rubles to dollars and bring some home physically with me when I travel, which is obviously neither smart nor sustainable.

One friend suggested I open a raiffeisen rubles and dollars account, this way I can transfer between the two for free and have a bank card that would let me withdraw dollars. I was denied an account, however. I heard that there were some legal changes in the US regarding foreign accounts which makes it difficult to open one abroad - something to do with tax issues. But honestly, I don't know.

My next step will be to go through the paperwork nightmare of doing the same with CitiBank... but wondering if anyone here might have better alternatives. Paypal transfers? Some other customer-service friendly bank with cheap transfer rates?

Any advice would be welcome.
Do you have a card attached to this account? If so, you can use it in the USA as a credit card.

moscowpete
11-11-2013, 17:11
LucyK, I feel your pain (in the ass). I have been here 10 years (USA expat, Russian wife). Best news I have it is MUCH better than even 4 years ago. Citibank SUCKS, it is NOT good ole USA Citibank, it is Russian. They charge outrageous fees, horrible service, because of NAME association only.

Transferring large sums is a true nightmare, mostly because of USA new rules for "terrorist issues". I recently bought a house in USA, had to transfer $85k to USA bank, took forever, nightmare paperwork, outrageous fees, had to get the title deed notarized.., on and on, just to transfer this puny amount. It was not Russia, but USA bank regulations (was this "terrorist money?")

My advice, buy a good money belt, take as much cash as you can back to states, open account with an internet friendly local bank for a checking account, arrange to have them accept online deposits, find a smaller Moscow bank that will do this (the big banks suck with fees)...., MDM Bank seems good.

This works for me, I can pay all USA bills online.

But, I always take cash back to states...., your allowed 10k. No fees, no tax trail, shop for best transfer rates in Moscow before you head home, BY FAR will save a ton of money vs. dealing with rip off banks here.

Welcome to Russia.

BabyFirefly
11-11-2013, 21:39
Paypal and Moneygram are the cheapest.