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Author Topic: Banking for Canadians while in USA  (Read 1970 times)

Bob T

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Banking for Canadians while in USA
« on: October 22, 2016, 07:11:36 PM »
Just wondering if anyone has experience that they might share.
We are nearing retirement and would really like to head to warmer climates during the winters.
Yep, we are Canadian.
Can anyone give us some guidance onthe best way that we can set up a US account that could be accessed anywhere in US.
We would ideally want credit card (US that could also be used as debit card or instant cash access) so any purchases made while in US could be paid from this account. Also want to be able to transfer cash from Canadian account to US account.
Absolute best would be to have all this service charge free ( I think non interest bearing account would also be necessary due to IRS)

Any Cdns., out there doing something like this that could give us some guidance?

Thanks in advance

Bob
2008 Winnebago Vectra 40 TD
Any day you wake up on the right side of the grass is a Beautiful Day!

Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2016, 08:01:35 PM »
     We opened an account with Bank of America and took a small $1,000 Visa account with them.  We have had no problem over the years.  However, since we opened it, we have had several friends who opened US accounts with either the RBC or TD Bank who offer US accounts that you can access in the US and they have US credit cards as well.

Ed
Ed & Donna
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legrandnormand

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2016, 08:57:30 PM »
In Quebec, my bank accounts are with Desjardins and I also have a US bank account with Desjardins Bank, including a debit and a credit card and I can transfer from Desjardins to Desjardins Bank.
To get an american debit or an american credit card you do need a US bank account, no matter which bank.
Normand
Trois-Rivieres, QC, Canada
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Foxysdad

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2016, 10:26:11 PM »
We use Scotia bank Credit cards and can access our scotia account at Bank of America banks, we buy some US dollars before we leave but generally use our credit cards where possible.
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Alfa38User

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2016, 10:07:01 AM »
We have had a bank account with RBC and their US partners for over 10 years now. The advantage is that we can check the account on the internet at the same time as we do the Canadian account (same login) and transfer funds back and forth as necessary. I suspect that other Canadian banks have that same ability now, unlike years ago when RBC was the only game in town (that we knew about). All account opening arrangements were made here in Canada via our local branch.

Be sure you are getting a true US Dollar credit card and not a us dollar Canadian card, which we had at first. It was difficult to pay off (had to be paid off in Can$$!!!). Once we figured out what was going on, a true US dollar card was obtained by going directly to the US partner (Centura at the time) and asking for it.

RBC's current partner, (PNG?, the 3rd one) is an internet type of bank, there are no branches on each corner that we are used to here. We have never had any reason to visit a US branch in the 10 years of snowbirding. Although we still have to pay a minimal 4.00$ maintenance fee each month, this is the first partner to charge this. We don't generally use cash but, if needed, we do the 'cash back' thing at Walmart or other stores by using the debit card. Depositing a cheque can be done by fax or by USMail.

There a several Canadian banks such as CIBC, BNS, TD, that have partners in the US today, many of them large US banks and most can offer what you are looking for, but forget 'free', that has gone the way of the Dodo bird. Shop around for the best deal, not forgetting the best exchange rate. The Canadian Snowbirds Association offers an attractive US dollar exchange plan featuring a direct transfer to a US account with no additional deposit charges, check them out!!

As an FYI, if you use a cheque based on a USA bank and postdate it, (like we are so accustomed to doing here), it WILL NOT work. A cheque is cash-able immediately when presented, regardless of any advanced date on it.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2016, 10:48:21 AM by Alfa38User »
Stu
Montréal, Canada 🍁
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legrandnormand

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2016, 11:30:43 AM »
To get an american debit or an american credit card you do need an american bank account.
To pay the bills of those american cards, you have to pay them with your american bank account.
Normand
Trois-Rivieres, QC, Canada
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RoyM

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2016, 12:02:19 PM »
We have had few problems using Canadian credit cards in the U.S. although the exchange rate bites. Some merchants however will not accept Canadian Master Card. We might get get better terms using an American account but we don't travel south often enough to make that worthwhile.
Debit cards are another story. Many merchants will not accept our 'funny credit cards' ::) and often banks are not affiliated with Interac or other providers so we have been denied cash advances. We have yet to see that here. One time we maxed out the cc on a truck repair and had to rely on debit card cash advances (limit $300.00/day) to purchase everything. It was a dang nuisance, now we travel with a lap top so we can transfer funds as needed.
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legrandnormand

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2016, 12:16:18 PM »
"now we travel with a lap top so we can transfer funds as needed" ...

Transfer funds to ? If you don't have a american bank account, how can you transfer; your lap top does not accept or give you money !
I also transfer funds from my canadian bank to the american bank with my lap top; I don't even go to the american bank, it is done electronicaly.
With my american debit and credit cards, I don't have any problem with any merchants.
Travelling in the States, I use my american cards and my american fonds; back in Canada, I use my canadian cards and canadian funds.
Normand
Trois-Rivieres, QC, Canada
2010 Gulfstream Independance, model 8367
2009 Smart Cabriolet

RoyM

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2016, 04:02:41 PM »
I can make payments to the credit card account or transfer my pension to an account I can access with the debit card for cash withdrawals.
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legrandnormand

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2016, 04:17:37 PM »
I can make payments to the credit card account or transfer my pension to an account I can access with the debit card for cash withdrawals.


Sure, that can be done worldwide, the same as you do back home, there are no borders using Internet services.
Normand
Trois-Rivieres, QC, Canada
2010 Gulfstream Independance, model 8367
2009 Smart Cabriolet

jackiemac

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2016, 09:23:23 PM »
I'm  not  sure  how much money you will be transferring or what your bank will charge you for the pleasure.

For info we discovered a service called Transferwise which uses the published current  exchange  rate and charges a flat fee. We have found this to be considerably cheaper for our needs when transferring money from the UK. It can take  up to 5 days though so be prepared for that if you decide to use it.
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legrandnormand

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2016, 08:03:57 AM »
I'm  not  sure  how much money you will be transferring or what your bank will charge you for the pleasure.

For info we discovered a service called Transferwise which uses the published current  exchange  rate and charges a flat fee. We have found this to be considerably cheaper for our needs when transferring money from the UK. It can take  up to 5 days though so be prepared for that if you decide to use it.


The same service between Canada and the States does not exist as of today.... and that's too bad .
Usually, I transfer from my canadian account to my american bank account once a month the required sum and I only pay one fee/month for the exchange & service.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 08:07:15 AM by legrandnormand »
Normand
Trois-Rivieres, QC, Canada
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Alfa38User

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2016, 10:24:03 AM »
To get an american debit or an american credit card you do need an american bank account.
To pay the bills of those american cards, you have to pay them with your american bank account.


Semantics I think!!  You can easily obtain a US$ credit card here in Canada from most Canadian banks. In our case with RBC, that was the problem, it had to be paid in Canadian dollars from the Canadian bank account and suffered the bite of the exchange rate charged at that given moment. It was part of the "open an American bank account with us" package that was offered at the time. No mention of the need to pay in that manner was made. Even their 'Help" department could not figure out why the payments from our US bank account weren't being accepted.

If you have an account with an American provider (bank) then your statements are absolutely correct, that is how our current cards have worked for the last 10 years.
Stu
Montréal, Canada 🍁
Snowbird, Naples Florida
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"Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advise!!!"

Alfa38User

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2016, 10:28:10 AM »

The same service between Canada and the States does not exist as of today.... and that's too bad .
Usually, I transfer from my canadian account to my american bank account once a month the required sum and I only pay one fee/month for the exchange & service.

LegrandNormand:

Check out the Canadian Snowbird Association, they can provide a identical Canada/USA  service to what you described  should you need one:

 http://www.snowbirds.org/snowbird-currency-exchange
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 11:16:06 AM by Alfa38User »
Stu
Montréal, Canada 🍁
Snowbird, Naples Florida
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"Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advise!!!"

wstuart

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2016, 11:15:39 PM »
TD Bank is what we use.  Set up a US account and US Credit card.
Easy to transfer monies online from Canadian account to US.
If you keep $5000.00 in a checking account there are no fees and you get a safety deposit box.
I do take cash down and use plastic as much as possible.

Cheers and happy travels.
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Bob T

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2016, 05:42:47 AM »
There is some great information here folks.
Thank you all for taking the time to post.
2008 Winnebago Vectra 40 TD
Any day you wake up on the right side of the grass is a Beautiful Day!

Elly Dalmaijer

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2016, 04:14:03 PM »
We too are Canadian snowbirds and spend 6 months per year in the US.

In Canada we have at the RBC a Canada-based account in USD funds. Through our Canadian RBC branch we opened a bank account in the USA. We also received  a Visa card which functions as a debit card but I can also use it e.g. for amazon purchases.
Since we own a place in Arizona, we have to pay bills like power, water etc. This was very easy to set up and is all done through automatic withdrawal. When we buy something e.g. at Walmart of Home Depot we are always given the opportunity to add cash to the total, so we add $40 , which then come from the cashier. That is enough cash and the total amount is immediately withdrawn from the US-based USD account. By using the debit card we can track all our expenses, from groceries to car repairs and utilities through one web account.

We access everything from our regular Canadian RBC login, and can access both our US-based and all our Canada-based accounts from there. We can transfer funds between the USD accounts in both countries and it is immediately in the other country's account. No one week waiting!

We have used this for four years and it has worked flawlessly. If we had the very odd cheque to deposit in our US-based account, we mailed it in, and a few days later it showed up on our online statement.

This has been for us the ideal setup. Hope this helps.

Elly
Either at home in St Albert AB or working in Africa or in our 1993 Itasca Sunrise.

Bob T

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2016, 04:52:33 PM »
Thanks Elly, that's great information.
Can you tell me if there are service charges from either the Royal Bank in Canada and/or the US Bank you deal with, what about fees on US Visa.

We spoke with an account manager at Royal (RBC), this fellow advised us there would be monthly fees for RBC and US accounts plus possible anual fees for Visa account.

We walked out feeling like we were being nickled and dimed (but not nickles and dimes) to death.

Bob
2008 Winnebago Vectra 40 TD
Any day you wake up on the right side of the grass is a Beautiful Day!

Krow

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2016, 07:19:12 PM »
We have accounts the Bank of Montreal.  (My cousin, who deals with the Bank of Nova Scotia, wasn't able to do this - he was told by a family member working at the BNS to go to BoM to get accounts set up as below...)

Bank of Montreal Accounts - all show up when we sign in online
1. CDN regular chequing - this is where any income is direct deposited. Any funds in any other account are transferred from here.
2. CDN savings (optional)
3. Debit card for our CND accounts.
4. CDN MasterCard - only used for purchases made in Canada and paid via online transfer from our main account.

5. US Chequing/Savings account - any money transferred to this account from a CND account will be converted to $$US (ie transfer $100 from CDN account to here will show up as ~$73 after the exchange).  We were told that the exchange rate for transfer between our CDN and US accounts in this manner is the cheapest way to do it.  The rate is higher if, for instance, you make a US purchase with your CDN MasterCard and they do the conversion in funds to bill you in $$CDN
6. US MasterCard - we only use this for purchases made in the US.  There is no exchange rate as the bill remains in US funds.  If paid off monthly, there is no fee (in fact I seem to recall it must be paid in full monthly, not sure as we always clear it when we get the bill).

So... while in the US.  Purchases made with US Mastercard will show up in your BoM online banking under that Credit Card in $$US.  Online, transfer funds from your $$CDN account (#1) to your US Bank Account (#5) as needed.  NOTE - don't transfer funds from your CDN account directly to the US MasterCard as it will cost a percent or more in the exchange)

Via online banking pay the US MasterCard (6) from your US account (5) - you're paying US funds with US funds at this point so there is no exchange rate.  As someone mentioned above, when purchasing at Walmart, etc, with your US$$ MasterCard you can get cash back for walking around money. 

I case it's not clear -----  ALL of these accounts are Bank of Montreal accounts and all can be accessed via the same online banking session.  You don't have to open an account with a US bank.

Alfa38User

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2016, 10:52:48 AM »
Quote
Can you tell me if there are service charges from either the Royal Bank in Canada and/or the US Bank you deal with, what about fees on US Visa.

Not Elly but...

Our setup is very similar to Elly's as we also have monthly or annual bills to pay and they are handled by auto-withdrawal on the US account. (Just have to keep a eye on the balance in the account as we keep only a minimal balance down there!!!!)

I can't tell you if you would pay charges for your Canadian RBC account but we do not, we have been RBC clients and  'senior citizens' for a long time and have been exempted of those charges. The partner RBC uses in USA is currently charging us 4$ US a month for a chequeing account maintenance fee. There are several levels of fees available, we elected the cheapest. No fees so far for the US$ Visa account but we chose a no fee card and earn points with purchases. We also use the "cash back" option in places like Walmart and  pay using the debit card if cash is needed. The lack of local branches to visit has not been a problem for us. Cheques in US dollars can be faxed or mailed to the US partner for deposit in the US account.

Note what I said above re: Use of postdated cheques in USA..... When paying on line through the bank and postdating, the dates are respected, just as they are here.
 
« Last Edit: November 04, 2016, 11:26:23 AM by Alfa38User »
Stu
Montréal, Canada 🍁
Snowbird, Naples Florida
Alfa Gold 38 (2000) 5ver (parked!)

"Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advise!!!"

Elly Dalmaijer

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2016, 03:26:51 PM »
Hello Bob, Sorry about replaying later. We had unexpected visitors.

You asked about our service charges.  The service charge for our US-based USD account is $3.95/month. That is the same whether we are in Canada and therefore have few transactions or for the winter in the US, when we have many transactions. The Canada-based USD has no charges since it is a "Savings account".
 The "Visa" card that we received for our US-based account functions as a debit card (although once in a while a store has us sign the receipt, its still is a debit card). Any time I buy stuff on Amazon.com and they ask for a credit card, I give this Visa debit card number which is registered to our US address and it is always accepted. There was no charge for the two cards for my husband and myself.

I think I have answered your questions, if not, you can post your questions here and I will check or you can send me a message.

Elly



Either at home in St Albert AB or working in Africa or in our 1993 Itasca Sunrise.

Bob T

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Re: Banking for Canadians while in USA
« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2016, 07:26:56 PM »
Thanks Elly, appreciate your taking the time to answer.

Bob
2008 Winnebago Vectra 40 TD
Any day you wake up on the right side of the grass is a Beautiful Day!

 

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