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Buy US Stocks Without Currency Exchange Fees Using Questrade with Norbert’s Gambit

CDN to USD graphic

If you are converting Canadian dollars (CAD) to US Dollars (USD) to buy US listed stocks, a strategy called Norbert’s Gambit is a very cost-effective way to limit currency conversion fees.

For example, buying US listed stocks in Questrade in Canadian dollars comes with a 2% fee.  For every $1000, you will pay $20 in this fee.  Other banks charge upwards of 3% for exchanging.

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Luckily, with free ETF buys and $4.95 sells in Questrade, your total cost will be $4.95 USD regardless of how much you transfer.  Given that, it is not worth your time to use this strategy if you are converting and investing in US listed stocks with less than $1000 CAD.

Banking Graphic

However, since the fees per trade range from $6.95 with CIBC to $10 with the other banks for both the buy and the sell, you are going to rack up an instant $20 in trade commission.  Meaning, you should only be using this if you are moving more cash with the other brokerage platforms offered by the banks etc.

Step 1: Buy the ETF called DLR.TO in Canadian Dollars

Step one is to simply buy the ETF ticker:  DLR.TO offered by Horizons. 

Questrade Buy Guide

Step 2: Call or Email Questrade

Now, call Questrade at 1-888-783-7866

Request them the journal your DLR.TO shares to DLR.U.TO. 

You can also use the chat option, or email them requesting the journal entry.

Here is a script for you: ….

“Hello, good afternoon.  Can you please journal my DLR.TO shares over to DLR.U.TO.    Yes, that is all!  Thanks! You have yourself a great day too!”.  Beep.

This is exchanging your DLR shares in Canadian Dollars listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX, for DLR.U which is in US Dollars.

Step 3: Wait Four Business Days

The easiest step with a little bit of patience.  It takes two days to settle and two days to journal, making this process take four days before you will see your shares converted to DLR.U in $USD.

Step 4: Sell DLR.U.TO In US Dollars

Now that it has journaled to DLR.U and is held in US Dollars, all you have to do is sell it.  Which triggers a $4.95 USD trade commission.  This is the cost of doing business!

Questrade Sell Guide

Sell the DLR.U shares with a limit order at the bid price if you want it to fill instantly.

Voila!  You have your liquid cash in USD.  You may now buy US listed stocks in USD without paying the exchange fee.

You can do the exact same process in reverse to buy Canadian Dollars from US Dollars.

DLR.U -> DLR