Interactive Brokers steps to convert and send money from USA

I’ve never worked with them, but I’ve caught someone trying to post several fake reviews of them using shill accounts on the forum. The majority of the Google reviews they have are posted either by the same names as the shill accounts, or by their own team/owner. Doesn’t exactly instill trust.

Never heard of CDG, but as long as it’s a regular SEPA account you won’t have any issues with the IBKR transfer.

Thanks! I just heard that there are only two banks that are suitable for US investors, Bison and BiG, because these are the only two that are FACTA compliant? Is that true? Does that mean I shouldn’t use CDG (Caixa Geral de Depositos) for GV investment? Any help much appreciated!

Caixa Geral de Depositos is the correspondent bank that Bison is using for USD transfers. Seems like an odd coincidence here to me.

You are transferring the money to an account that’s in your name, I hope?

I just didn’t recognize the abbreviation—Caixa (as the locals refer to it as) is one of Portugal’s largest banks, with links to the Portuguese state. They are probably the correspondent bank for most smaller Portuguese banks.

Bison & BiG are popular since they make it easy to open accounts remotely in a relatively efficient manner. If you travel to Portugal there should be more options. Pretty much all Portuguese banks are FATCA compliant, however not all offer investment accounts to Americans.

In particular, Millennium BCP is a large and popular bank which offer remote openings in many cases, but (IIRC) due to some history with the US SEC they are not offering investment/brokerage accounts to US citizens. They still offer regular checking accounts, but that won’t help you when investing in a fund.

Thanks Jeff. Yes, the money is going from my wife’s IBKR account in the US to her account in PT. She is the main applicant for GV. I am just trying to smooth out the kinks as much as possible for her.

Thanks Thomas. This is very helpful. I guess I need to ask MFG (who primarily deals with Caixa) if Caixa will allow me to open an investment account for fund investment. If Caixa can’t do that or MFG can’t open an account for me with either Bison or BiG, I guess I have to go to a different lawyer. I am ready to pull the trigger (already started the processs on my end regarding FBI apostilling etc), so this is extremely helpful in making the decision. Thanks again for your timely advice. Much appreciated!

Jeff, I love your posts in this forum and I am very glad to have someone with your experience and knowledge that is also so willing to share. We finally decided to go with a lawyer that can open an account at Bison and I am trying to help my wife with the money transfer from IBKR to her Bison account. She is actually heading to Lisbon next week to get the bank account open (because it takes so much longer to get documents legalized here in the US). I wonder if you don’t mind sharing your experience with the IBKR->Bison transfer. Any do’s and don’ts that I should be aware of or anything quirky I should anticipate? I am in charge of doing the money transfer and I am terrified of screwing it up while she is there. Any pointer is much appreciated.

Back again with another question, sorry! Has anyone who has wired money from a regular bank account to IBKR had issues with the account number? The temporary account number they gave me for the wire is basically 12345678U7654321, where the “U7654321” is my account number (obviously not my actual account number!). I tried to wire money to that number, and my bank couldn’t handle the U in there. I’ve submitted a help ticket to IBKR about this, but I was wondering if anyone has already been through this?

it doesn’t work that way.
you wire money to IB’s account at Chase.
In the remarks you put .
you should get this info when you put the notice-of-wire instruction into the portal.

383 Madison Avenue
New York 10017
United States

ABA Routing Number XXX

Bank Account Title & Address
Interactive Brokers LLC
One Pickwick Plaza
Greenwich, Connecticut 06830
United States

Bank Account Number

Payment Reference/For Further Credit to
UXXXXX / Your Name

To wire money to IBKR, you have to login to IBKR, Click on the Deposit link on the left, Go down to Bank Wire, and notify them of which bank you are going to wire from, and how much. When you submit that information, you will get the actual wire information, that is usually a bank account at Chase that needs to be wired to, with further credit to instructions to your UXXX account. I think when you put in that instruction, they know to look in their account for an incoming wire that they then need to deposit into your account. Works pretty smoothly though.

Thanks for responding! Interesting - for my transfer, it is actually through Citibank instead. My notice-of-wire instruction is slightly different, and in this form:

"Wire Funds to
Citibank N.A.
111 Wall Street
New York 10005
United States

ABA Routing Number


Bank Account Title & Address
Interactive Brokers LLC
One Pickwick Plaza
Greenwich, Connecticut 06830
United States

Bank Account Number

The bank account number listed above is a virtual account number (VAN) assigned specifically to you. Use it exclusively for deposits initiated by yourself and do not share it with anyone else.

Payment Reference/For Further Credit to
U7654321 / Name ."

I suspect the digits before the U7654321 are the Bank Account Number in the example you give.

I wired from Ally bank and Vanguard to IBKR no problems, both took the destination account number (with the U) just fine. Vanguard was a bit slower than Ally (took a day to process them sending it, ally was same day)

BTW, Interactive Brokers somewhere in their documentation states that your numeric account number is just the account number without the U. Though it is best to call customer service to verify and/or send a test wire to confirm.

I consolidated everything in my Alliant CU HYS account since I have sent wires from there before, no problem, but I think I should have put it all in Vanguard instead to make it easier, in retrospect!

In any event, I have heard back from the secure message in IBKR now that the 12345678 in my example is indeed the Bank Account Number, and I just put the “For Benefit of U76…/Name” in the comments box. I’ll leave this up here in case others encounter this issue as well. I’ve been very grateful for the step by step guide from jjmz and on the expatfinance site from anksya in my own journey to get this done in time!

I don’t recommend ACH for converting currency in IBKR.

I sent around 30k USD through ACH and then converted it to EUR after the hold period.

I see the settled EUR balance in my portfolio, however, when I try to withdraw through SEPA, the funds available to withdraw is zero.

I called IBKR and they told me that there is a 44 day hold period to withdraw funds to a bank other than the one you used to deposit the funds through ACH. This applies to banks in other currencies as well such as a EUR account. Their help guide here confirms this limitation.

Therefore, I will need to convert my funds back to USD, withdraw it to my US bank account, and look at another method to convert.

Good info. I wired dollars to IBKR and merely had to wait 3 days for the FX trade to settle before performing a SEPA transfer of Euros.

This is my plan yeah, just waiting on Bison at this point.

Been out of the market the past week or two and it feels bad! But oh well

The hold period on ACH is noted in Jim’s original post. 44 days is the maximum. It usually is not that long, but you need to wire the funds into IBKR to ensure the hold period is not more than 3 days.

Did you initiate the ACH transfer from your bank or from IBKR? I did multiple ACH transfers from my Bank (asking them to transfer to IBKR) and hold was always 3 Business days.

Trick is not to initiate from IBKR.

The ACH transfer was initiated from IBKR so that explains it.

So I guess the best transfer method to IBKR from a US account is a wire transfer or an ACH transfer initiated from your bank (ACH push/credit).

Having IBKR initiate the transfer does an ACH pull/debit which is what causes issues.

I think you may confusing two different hold periods:

Trade/Credit Hold
This is the hold period for how long your funds are held by IBKR after they arrive at IBKR before you can “trade” - buy currency, or stocks, or crypto.

IBKR initiated ACH: 4 business days
Wire: 0 days (immediate)
Bank initiated ACH (Online Bill Payment): 0 business days (immediate if coming from your own account at that bank), 3-10 business days (if coming from someone else’s account)

Withdrawal Hold
This is a separate (but can run concurrently with the Trade Hold I believe, but not completely sure) hold period, that governs when you can move that asset OUT of IBKR to another bank or brokerage.

IBKR initiated ACH: 4 business days (if going back to bank account it came from), 44 days if to any other account
Wire: 3 business days
Bank initiated ACH (Online Bill Payment): 3 business days (if it came from your own account at that bank)

Ref: Funding Reference | Interactive Brokers LLC