USD Bank Accounts and Credit Cards

minnie56

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 27, 2001
I called RBC yesterday about getting a US visa. We have a US$ account with them. He told me that unless we do a high volume of shopping in the U.S., it's not worth it. And there is a $60 annual fee.

He suggested going with their U.S. based Visa. I'm debating whether I want to even have an account based in the U.S. or not.
Depends on your regular RBC banking accounts , I have two USD Visa accounts with RBC and pay no annual fee on them.
 

JeannieJay

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Depends on your regular RBC banking accounts , I have two USD Visa accounts with RBC and pay no annual fee on them.
I have everything with them - all of my accounts, WJ M/C, mortgage, etc. This is for the US Visa based in Canada that he told me has an annual fee. He said if we went with the US Visa based in the U.S., that's different. I really had not wanted to have any accounts based in the U.S., but may have to change that, as we travel down there more than we used to.
 
  • minnie56

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2001
    I have everything with them - all of my accounts, WJ M/C, mortgage, etc. This is for the US Visa based in Canada that he told me has an annual fee. He said if we went with the US Visa based in the U.S., that's different. I really had not wanted to have any accounts based in the U.S., but may have to change that, as we travel down there more than we used to.
    I have one based here, one RBC Visa stateside.
     

    JeannieJay

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2012
    I have one based here, one RBC Visa stateside.
    The rep I spoke to about the Cdn based one certainly wasn't trying to get me to sign up for it. He actually seemed to be encouraging me NOT to get it. He expressed to me that it was time consuming and a real "pain for me" to apply over the phone and that he'd have to run a full credit check, etc. on me, even though I already had a Mastercard with them and had had an RBC credit card and other RBC accounts for almost 40 years. Ahh, maybe it was coming up on his break time, and he didn't want to miss his break!!!!!
     

    minnie56

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2001
    The rep I spoke to about the Cdn based one certainly wasn't trying to get me to sign up for it. He actually seemed to be encouraging me NOT to get it. He expressed to me that it was time consuming and a real "pain for me" to apply over the phone and that he'd have to run a full credit check, etc. on me, even though I already had a Mastercard with them and had had an RBC credit card and other RBC accounts for almost 40 years. Ahh, maybe it was coming up on his break time, and he didn't want to miss his break!!!!!
    For the U.S based one?
    Maybe..
    I opened mine when RBC was conducting business as RBC Centura in Florida and still have the bank acct there as well as a US account here. Bit overkill I guess ..
     

    JeannieJay

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 21, 2012
    For the U.S based one?
    Maybe..
    I opened mine when RBC was conducting business as RBC Centura in Florida and still have the bank acct there as well as a US account here. Bit overkill I guess ..
    No, he was discouraging me against the Canadian based one. And encouraging me to get a U.S. based one. And this was through online banking here in Canada.

    Who knows. I'll just stick with my Canadian cc for now and suck it up.
     
  • minnie56

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2001
    No, he was discouraging me against the Canadian based one. And encouraging me to get a U.S. based one. And this was through online banking here in Canada.

    Who knows. I'll just stick with my Canadian cc for now and suck it up.
    Hmmm wonder why?
     

    sweethannah

    Rebel Spy, 3 times in a row!
    Joined
    Mar 10, 2012
    I'm sure it's been mentioned but it's a looong thread so bear with me. BMO offers a USD MC with a 35$ annual fee which is waived if you charge a minimum 1000$ per year. You don't need an account with them to apply for the card and you can bring in US cash to pay the bill. CIBC offers prepaid credit cards in USD EURO and GBP but you do need an account with them to purchase.
     
  • LoveMMC

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 26, 2010
    So we used our amazon for every us purchase to save the conversion fee. Husband just found out it’s folding in March!!!! Any other options that a free and don’t charge the extra per purchase.
     

    Tam&Sam

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 23, 2016
    There's a whole thread about this change ..here's the link
    Amazon Visa Card
    Same with the Marriott card. We looked around and there are 2 cards available, it’s either the Rogers or the Fido MasterCard.
    If I remember properly, the Fido is free (or very small fee) and both give you cash back that can be applied on a punctual basis towards your Rogers/Fido account or you can receive the whole cash back at the end of the year in a form of a cheque.
    There is a 3rd option from Home Owner Equity bank but the reviews online where terrible, it seemed like a very unreliable card.
    Unrelated P.S. For Marriott cardholders, they will issue the one night certificate for 2018 as a gift and there are rumours of an offer to switch to the SPG Amex. The rumoured bonus is 25K points which can give you a couple nights at the Swan & Dolphin.
     

    jelo

    Preparing for our Universally Magical vacation
    Joined
    Oct 7, 2000
    We are planning on an October 2019 trip.

    I see this thread hasn't been updated in awhile and wondered whate the best way to avoid the foreign conversion rate is now?

    I do have a US account with Meridian Credit Union, but my CC is Capital One.
    We will have the $$ to pay for the trip, but I would like to know if I should get Disney gift cards or a US account.

    We've travelled in the US a lot, I just never realized I was getting charged extra until I read these pages!
     

    efrant

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 4, 2017
    We are planning on an October 2019 trip.

    I see this thread hasn't been updated in awhile and wondered whate the best way to avoid the foreign conversion rate is now?

    I do have a US account with Meridian Credit Union, but my CC is Capital One.
    We will have the $$ to pay for the trip, but I would like to know if I should get Disney gift cards or a US account.

    We've travelled in the US a lot, I just never realized I was getting charged extra until I read these pages!
    Hopefully if I find the time, I'll put together a bunch of info in a new thread, as most of the content here is old.

    To answer your question, the best way to avoid the 2.5% f/x fee that's charged in the U.S. when you use Canadian debit cards and most Canadian credit cards is to use either a no-f/x fee Canadian credit card or get a U.S. credit card. The easiest and most cost-effective method is to use a no-f/x fee Canadian credit card.

    These are the only credit cards in Canada currently that do not charge you the f/x fee:


    There is also the Rogers World Elite MasterCard (no annual fee), though this card charges you the 2.5% f/x fee but gives you 4% cashback to offset it. https://rogersbank.com/en/rogers_worldelite_mastercard_details

    I've included links for all the cards, so you can compare, as each card has a different sign-up bonus, annual fee, reward structure, and benefits/insurance. For example, the Home Trust Visa is a straight 1% cashback on all your USD purchases, but it has a 10 transaction/day limit. The Rogers MC has a net 1.5% cashback on all your USD purchases, but you don't get refunded the 2.5% fee if you return a purchase. The Scotia Visa and HSBC MC have great insurance packages and other benefits (lounge access on the Scotia card, travel credit on the HSBC card, etc), but they have hefty annual fees. Everyone of us has different needs/wants, so you need to choose the best card for you.

    Do not get fooled into getting a USD credit card from a Canadian bank. Those credit cards are touted as "no f/x fee" cards, but in reality they are not: you are getting charged in USD, and you need to pay it off in USD. So, unless you have USD income, you will get dinged the 2.5% fee when you convert your CAD to USD to pay off the card. Moreover, most of those cards have annual fees and no rewards, which makes them doubly bad. If you want a credit card that bills in U.S., I would get a credit card from one of the Canadian bank's U.S. subsidiaries. One of the best ones, and one of easiest for Canadians to get, is the TD Bank (as opposed to TD Canada Trust in Canada) Cash Visa: https://www.td.com/us/en/personal-banking/credit-cards/cash-card/ Please note that you will need to have a U.S. bank account to pay off U.S. credit cards, as they cannot easily be paid from a Canadian bank.
     

    MaMudduck

    Disney Princess Forever
    Joined
    Oct 14, 2002
    I have posted this at least 3 times in this thread, but I know it’s a long thread and nobody wants or has time to read the whole thing. First let me disclose: I’m a Financial Sales Rep for CIBC (for 15 yrs).
    Just so everything is clear: You are NOT being charged an additional 2.5% fee to when you charge something on any Canadian credit card. What the 2.5% “conversion” fee, that is in your credit card disclosurer is the exchange rate difference (spread) between the trading rate (stocks market) and the sell rate for you to buy US dollars. Eg: The news says: “The US dollar is trading at 1.34 Cdn” If you were to go to your bank and buy US cash you would be paying 1.3668 Cdn (1.34 + 2.5%= 1.3668)
    If you buy cash, charge it on a credit card, or use debit you are ALWAYS paying 2.5% somewhere in the exchange process. It is NOT an additional fee. The reason it is worded like that on the banks/credit card companies disclosures is because many years ago credit card had all different “spread” amounts on foreign currency purchases. One card would be as high as 4%, some 3.6% ripping off the customers by not disclosing the true amount of exchange fees. It was hidden in the exchange rate. That’s why it was legally changed to protect the consumer. There are still cards that charge higher exchange fees but it has to be disclosed in the fine print.

    ****Main point*****
    There is NOT an additional fee to make foreign purchases on most Canadian credit cards!
    You pay the same 2.5% when buying cash, use a credit card or debit card.
    Having a prepaid US Debit Card or US Visa card is only for convenience! Someway or other you will be converting Cdn dollars into US and be paying 2.5% to do that.
    I can (as many others here also have already done too) list the reasons why those other methods are convenient and would work.
     
    Last edited:

    lilsonicfan

    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2003
    That's very helpful, MaMudduck. I have a US$ Visa card and US$ bank account through TD (in Canada), but the way I try to lessen the hit of exchange is to exchange money at a private currency exchange place. E.g. right now, the place that is across the street from me sells USD at $1.345 Canadian. TD's posted cash exchange rate is $1.3741. Their non-cash rate is $1.3709. Even the preferred rate they have right now for me is $1.3648. So I buy USD, then walk it over to the TD, deposit it in my USD bank account and transfer it to my US$ Visa.
     

    efrant

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 4, 2017
    I have posted this at least 3 times in this thread, but I know it’s a long thread and nobody wants or has time to read the whole thing. First let me disclose: I’m a Financial Sales Rep for CIBC (for 15 yrs).
    Just so everything is clear: You are NOT being charged an additional 2.5% fee to when you charge something on any Canadian credit card. What the 2.5% “conversion” fee, that is in your credit card disclosurer is the exchange rate difference (spread) between the trading rate (stocks market) and the sell rate for you to buy US dollars. Eg: The news says: “The US dollar is trading at 1.34 Cdn” If you were to go to your bank and buy US cash you would be paying 1.3668 Cdn (1.34 + 2.5%= 1.3668)
    If you buy cash, charge it on a credit card, or use debit you are ALWAYS paying 2.5% somewhere in the exchange process. It is NOT an additional fee. The reason it is worded like that on the banks/credit card companies disclosures is because many years ago credit card had all different “spread” amounts on foreign currency purchases. One card would be as high as 4%, some 3.6% ripping off the customers by not disclosing the true amount of exchange fees. It was hidden in the exchange rate. That’s why it was legally changed to protect the consumer. There are still cards that charge higher exchange fees but it has to be disclosed in the fine print.

    ****Main point*****
    There is NOT an additional fee to make foreign purchases on most Canadian credit cards!
    You pay the same 2.5% when buying cash, use a credit card or debit card.
    Having a prepaid US Debit Card or US Visa card is only for convenience! Someway or other you will be converting Cdn dollars into US and be paying 2.5% to do that.
    I can (as many others here also have already done too) list the reasons why those other methods are convenient and would work.
    That is very misleading. Particularly this part: "If you buy cash, charge it on a credit card, or use debit you are ALWAYS paying 2.5% somewhere in the exchange process. It is NOT an additional fee. "

    You are correct, it is not an additional fee. When I go to the bank to buy USD, I get charged the 2.5% as well. However, some cards, i.e., the cards I listed above charge you 2.5% less than other Canadian cards.

    For example, let's assume the USD is trading at 1.34 CAD. if I use my CIBC AeroGold Visa Infinite to purchase an item worth US$100, the charge that will appear on my credit card will be around C$137.62. If I purchase the same item using my Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite, that same item for US$100 will generate a charge of US$134.27. That is because the Scotia uses the Visa rate, while the CIBC card uses the Visa rate + 2.5%. So, even though it's not disclosed as an extra fee, i.e., when I look at my statement, all I see is a charge of US$100 @1.3762, the CIBC card has an additional 2.5% charge built into its exchange rate over the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite exchange rate. A quick look at the disclosure documents for each card will clearly show you the difference in fees (highlighting is my own):

    CIBC AeroGold Visa Infinite: "We will convert Transactions or credits for returns in a foreign currency to Canadian dollars at the rate of exchange charged to CIBC plus the administration fee set out in the Summary of Rates and Fees."

    Scotia Passport Visa Infinite: "With your Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card, you will not be charged a foreign currency conversion mark-up on international foreign currency purchases online or outside of Canada. Only the exchange rate will continue to apply."

    But hey, don't take my word for it. Try making a US$1 purchase on the same day using one of the credit cards in my list, and then try with a different credit card and see the difference in the purchase charge to your credit card yourself. And if you don't believe it after one transaction, try again on a different day for confirmation.

    So while yes, you generally get charged the same 2.5% fee whether you use a debit card (actually, some debit cards are even higher, e.g., the TD debit card is 3.5%), credit card or buy USD from the teller at the bank, you do not get charged that 2.5% on the credit cards I listed.
     

    MaMudduck

    Disney Princess Forever
    Joined
    Oct 14, 2002
    That's very helpful, MaMudduck. I have a US$ Visa card and US$ bank account through TD (in Canada), but the way I try to lessen the hit of exchange is to exchange money at a private currency exchange place. E.g. right now, the place that is across the street from me sells USD at $1.345 Canadian. TD's posted cash exchange rate is $1.3741. Their non-cash rate is $1.3709. Even the preferred rate they have right now for me is $1.3648. So I buy USD, then walk it over to the TD, deposit it in my USD bank account and transfer it to my US$ Visa.
    Excately my point, that’s the advantage of having a US bank account and US Visa card, to lessen the exchange rate flucations, buying it when its lower somewhere else, instead of being subject to the rates at the time of your vacation.
     


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