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ACH solutions for Canadian activities?

Does anyone have experience with paying contractors/vendors within Canada other than via wire? I'm having a heck of a time trying to find a cost and time efficient solution, akin to systems we have in the US such as Bill.com, or standard bank bill pay services. The Canadian banks appear to be several versions behind the US in this regard with technology. Makes handling a foreign client out of the US a bit of a hassle... Any insights and suggestions are appreciated!- Paul

Answers

Anonymous
(Accountant, BPA, MBA) |

Contact a Canadian Bank operating in the US... essentially open a Canadian chequing account... EFT out of that account, reconcile forex differences... legal registration of your Canadian operations will obviously be important and don't forget taxes.

Sajan Sadhwani, CPA CMA
Title: C2C Specialist
Company: Ernst & Young
(C2C Specialist, Ernst & Young) |

There are plenty of solutions. I've set one up in the past and it was very straightforward. Chances are that you'll need a Canadian bank account and that should be relatively easy (I haven't done that.)

Unfortunately I could not recall the firm's name but they had a software that helped you create an ACH file very easily. It was also about $50 or so for the hosted solution. What I can remember is that they were located in BC near Whistler and that's about it. We used them to create files for CIBC.

Try: http://www.eftcanada.com/. Its not the same firm but its publicly listed. Its the definition of a microcap which does have some risk.

I think that the first step for you is to speak to your bank or a bank in your area. Chances are that by moving to a bigger bank you'll get what you want without having to open an account in Canada which may complicate things further. You could have your normal USD account with your existing bank and have a CAD Account with another bank for processing payments etc.

William Ng
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Revenuewire
(Director of Finance, Revenuewire) |

I assume you are based in the US wanting to pay Canadian companies via EFT (same as ACH in US)? What's your volume of transactions?

Topic Expert
Paul Benedetto
Title: CFO, Director of Finance, Consultant
Company: Nextwave Software, Rethink Fabrics
(CFO, Director of Finance, Consultant, Nextwave Software, Rethink Fabrics) |

Thanks for the ideas thus far! A little more background - the company is Canadian, with Bank of Montreal accounts, along with now a US account. All I see offered as far as bill pay with BOM is business to business transactions, but the payees have to be pre-registered with BOM in order to do so. I will pose the question to my bank contacts in Vancouver though, in case there is another product that they are not necessarily advertising to us...

I also found Interac e-transfer, which I have started looking into. If anyone has experience with them, I would be interested in hearing more. Thanks again. Looking for a solution as we get whacked $25 for a wire out and most of our developer contractors are getting about the same in their accounts when received. It adds up...

William Ng
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Revenuewire
(Director of Finance, Revenuewire) |

We use Western Union GlobalPay to pay other Canadian companies via EFT in similar cost to ACH, depending on your volume.

Gil Rinas CPA, CGA
Title: Finance Manager
Company: New Peaks / Success Resources America
(Finance Manager, New Peaks / Success Resources America) |

Hi Paul
BMO has an EFT solution as do all the banks or credit unions I have dealt with, at least for commercial clients, so I am not sure what you have been told. More information is on the BMO website.
Creating a file to upload to the bank may or may not be easy. We use Microsoft Dynamics and creating a file format for any of the primary Canadian banks is as easy as picking from a drop-down menu and after that one time configuration, each payment run is handled the same as for our US company, ie create an EFT/ACH file instead of issuing cheques/checks from the accounting system accounts payable module and upload the file to the bank.
At least with Canadian suppliers, there is only payment number to worry about as Canada has a bank, transit and account number combination that is the same for wire, EFT and check/cheque unlike the US which could have three different routing codes (the equivalent of the 8 digit Canadian bank and transit numbers) depending on whether you are talking check, wire or ACH.
I suspect you would need to enroll for the service and have a nominal monthly fee, similar to our experience with our US business and have a per file file fee and nominal amount per payee.
Hope this helps.

Gil Rinas CPA, CGA
Title: Finance Manager
Company: New Peaks / Success Resources America
(Finance Manager, New Peaks / Success Resources America) |

If you want to pay Canadian vendors via international ACH from the US, we deal with Wells Fargo and they offer that capability. We don't use it as we have a Canadian company but the capability exists from the US. I assume Wells is not unique in this capability.

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