Transferring Funds from a U. S. Bank

I am used to sending money from the US to Colombia via RIA when I was living in the US
I have now moved to Cali and need to transfer funds from my account in the US.
I am trying to avoid Bank Transfers as their exchange rates are not competitive
Most of the Online services for transferring funds require me to be a US resident to transfer funds to a bank in Colombia.

So now that I am living in Colombia, and no longer maintain a residence in the US - what is the best way for me to transfer funds on a regular basis?

If it's just small amounts - say, less than $2000 USD per month or so - have you considered just withdrawing funds from your US account via an ATM/ATH/cajero automático (in Colombian pesos), then taking that cash and placing it in whatever Colombian bank account you have?  If you even need to place it in a Colombian bank, otherwise you just get cash from an ATM as needed, why put it into a bank there.

The exchange rates you get that way are very competitive and maybe even the best you can expect.  Plus most Colombian banks have ATMs right in the lobby or just outside so your exposure carrying relatively large amounts of cash is minimal, say 750,000 COP or so depending on the ATM daily withdrawal limit for a particular bank.

Some US banks will reimburse you any ATM fee (but not always the foreign exchange fee).  You would still come out ahead compared to bank transfer costs.

Exchange rate is competitive but they charge me an ATM fee on both sides and an exchange fee.
BanColombia limits me to 600,000 COP per day.  and we need to deposit money in the BanColombia account to pay the mortgage, utilities, Condo Fee, etc. to the tune of  about  5 million COP per month.

Transaction fees on the ATM work out to about 4%.  Beyond the need to do 9 trips to withdraw.  Just thought there would be an easier, lower cost solution.  If no online solution will get son to send money via Ria.  Good exchange rate and only 2% fees.

I do find it convenient to use my American Express to pay for any purchases.  Best exchange rate, no foreign transaction fees, I get points, and just pay online.

Dear Ghagen,

Welcome to the Colombia forums of ...


I note from your introduction page that you are approaching retirement.

Many retirees and age-eligible Expats -- qualifying for USA Social Security payments upon their 62nd birthday -- find that receiving monthly SSA income direct-deposited into their Colombian bank account .. is convenient and inexpensive for cash access.

Such SSA direct-deposits can be set up through the regional embassy designated by the State Department for this 'Citizens Services' purpose for USA Expats in Colombia.

Obtaining a cédula (Colombian ID) based on a visa may be a prerequisite for opening the bank account.


Have a Cédula with 3 year Visa - need to renew in 2019.   Not yet, but looking a SS being primary income and would still have US bills to pay (Verizon Wirelesd, AmEx) so would then have to transfer funds to US.

For expats who have been here long is well known ATMs are the most efficient and cost effective method of transferring cash.

All Cilombian banks charge different fees and exchange rates at their ATMs.

Ir is a very exhaustive subject.. Better to do a subject search on the sites below where it is discussed extensively.

Very strange you have a 600000 limit and the bank charges you on the US side

The problenm is with your US Bank. Time to cha nge banks or at.least Bank account type

I have pulled money from my Schwab checking and savings accounts via ATM while in Colombia without incurring fees at either end.  Schwab pays any foreign fees.  With the savings account I think I am limited to 6 withdrawals each month.

Regarding an online money transfer solution you might look into Remitly.  So long as you can log onto Remitly in Colombia you should be able to effect a transfer from a U.S. bank.  Depending on how you fund the transfer (I have it come from my Credit Union debit card account) you can transfer for no fee (albeit up to a week delay to retrieve the money) or a $3.99 fee for rapid (3-4 hour) access.  You can either pick up cash at a place like Exito, or have it deposited to certain bank accounts (Bancolombia and Davivienda among them).  You do lose some in the exchange rate.  This can also be done with the transfer company Xoom, though at higher cost.

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