USD Bank Accounts and Credit Cards

lilsonicfan

<font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
Joined
Jan 20, 2003
These are the only credit cards in Canada currently that do not charge you the f/x fee:

Thanks for posting these, efrant. The Brim M/C is tempting, esp as we will be in Europe next year and it would be nice to make purchases there without worrying about extra forex fees. I haven't heard many good things about the Home Trust one. And am hesitant to pay annual fees on any other card esp as I have the TD US$ Visa card already.
 

efrant

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 4, 2017
Thanks for posting these, efrant. The Brim M/C is tempting, esp as we will be in Europe next year and it would be nice to make purchases there without worrying about extra forex fees. I haven't heard many good things about the Home Trust one. And am hesitant to pay annual fees on any other card esp as I have the TD US$ Visa card already.
I don't have the Brim card myself, but it seems pretty good (now that they have gone through their growing pains). For my purposes, the Scotia card was the one I went with, and I'm pretty happy with it.

As for your TD US$ Visa, I have that as well (I get it for no annual fee with my package), but I would not recommend using it at all, unless you have USD income or financial assets. And even then, the card doesn't earn rewards, so your opportunity cost is the value of the unearned rewards. There are plenty of reward-earning US credit cards available to Canadians that you shouldn't have to use a non-rewards earning card. I spend a substantial amount in USD, and if I wasn't collecting rewards on that spend, I would have lost thousands of dollars over the years. If you want a USD card (and have the means to buy USD cheaply to pay it off), I suggest the TD card I mentioned in my post. It is issued by TD Bank N.A., a full-fledged U.S. bank, not by TD Canada Trust. It is very easy to get as a Canadian (as long as you have an address, mailing or otherwise, in the U.S.). It gives you 3% cashback on dining spend and 2% on grocery spend. Plus it has no f/x fee, so you can use it in Canada (if you wanted) and not get charged the 2.5% fee. (The TD USD Visa card you have does charge the 2.5% fee, so if you use it in Canada, you will get dinged.)
 

lilsonicfan

<font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
Joined
Jan 20, 2003
It's a fine balance for me, I don't really spend much in USD - really, the biggest spend has been the two Disney cruises I've put on there (getting Costco rewards instead for that). Good tips though, really appreciate it. The USD card has been helpful (I also don't pay an annual fee on it) for cross-border shopping trips and such, but I spend far and wide more money in CAD. I think the hassle so far of getting a US-based card and account has been what has stopped me - but food for thought, for sure.
 
  • efrant

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 4, 2017
    It's a fine balance for me, I don't really spend much in USD - really, the biggest spend has been the two Disney cruises I've put on there (getting Costco rewards instead for that). Good tips though, really appreciate it. The USD card has been helpful (I also don't pay an annual fee on it) for cross-border shopping trips and such, but I spend far and wide more money in CAD. I think the hassle so far of getting a US-based card and account has been what has stopped me - but food for thought, for sure.
    I hear you. The U.S. setup may not be worth it if you don't spend a lot of time/money down there. But as an existing TD Canada Trust customer, you'd be surprised at how easy it is to arrange. I set up my TD Bank N.A. checking account in less than 10 minutes, done completely on line. Then I called the cross-border team the next morning to transfer US$100 from my TD Canada Trust US$ account to my TD Bank checking account. The funds showed up a couple of hours later in the U.S. (no fees to transfer from TDCT to TDB or vice-versa), and with a minimum US$100 balance in my TDB checking account, the monthly fees are waived. And they send you a U.S. Visa Debit card to your Canadian address. Getting a credit card is just as easy. Like you said, food for thought. Something to keep in mind if you ever do feel its worth getting a cross-border set-up.
     

    goalcam

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2018
    Does anyone have any experience with Banner Bank? I'd read about them on RedFlagDeals and signed up but they didn't give me the debit card on the spot.. I'm hoping that it arrives in the mail before my trip down to DL in a few weeks. I think combined with a Transferwise account I should be fully set up for incurring a minimum amount of foreign exchange fees.
     

    jelo

    Preparing for our Universally Magical vacation
    Joined
    Oct 7, 2000
    Thanks for posting these, efrant. The Brim M/C is tempting, esp as we will be in Europe next year and it would be nice to make purchases there without worrying about extra forex fees. I haven't heard many good things about the Home Trust one. And am hesitant to pay annual fees on any other card esp as I have the TD US$ Visa card already.
    I hope Home Trust is okay, I just applied for one!! :}
     
  • bcwife76

    DisneyMomma
    Joined
    Dec 10, 2014
    Since my trusty Amazon card went the way of the do-do bird last year I've been looking for another card to avoid the Forex fee. Bit the bullet and DH and I got the Scotia Passport Visa. Though it does charge an annual fee (which we always avoid with other credit cards), we cruise a lot with Disney etc so the savings from the 2.5% fee will more than cover that yearly fee. Plus the free airport lounge visits are a nice touch :flower1:
     

    Rangers67

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    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.

    I just tried to apply for the TD Bank card and the eligibility requirements say that you must reside in the US and have a US address. Is this a change?
     

    efrant

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 4, 2017
    I just tried to apply for the TD Bank card and the eligibility requirements say that you must reside in the US and have a US address. Is this a change?
    After re-reading my post, I realize that I should have been more clear and provided more details.

    You do not need to be a U.S. resident to apply for the TD Bank Cash Visa, however, yes, you do need a U.S. address (and it has to be in TD Bank's U.S. footprint, i.e., mostly in the North East) for TD Bank's file.

    Additionally, you cannot apply online for a TD Bank credit card as a non-resident. TD Bank has a separate credit card application form for foreign nationals that you have to fax in. The form is here: https://www.tdbank.com/exc/pdf/Foreign-National-Application.pdf What many people do for the U.S. address requirement is to use a mail forwarder (like mymallbox or something similar) or a pick up location or a relative's address.

    I'm happy to answer any questions about filling out the form.

    EDIT: Another option (though the card is not as good) is a Visa card through RBC Bank: https://www.rbcbank.com/cross-border/us-credit-cards.html#newcreditcard I not 100% sure, but I don't believe RBC Bank has any U.S. address requirement.
     
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    minnie56

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2001
    I have 2 RBC USD Visa cards
    One here and a USD chequing acct here and the Black one in the link above ..I do also have an RBC USD Bank account that I opened years ago in Florida with RBC Centura. They closed the physical branches down but my account is still there - somewhere - in Georgia I think? No matter , it allows me to pay US bills including the Blk Visa and I have a debit/visa card for it as well. It’s very convenient.
     
  • Rangers67

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2018
    After re-reading my post, I realize that I should have been more clear and provided more details.

    You do not need to be a U.S. resident to apply for the TD Bank Cash Visa, however, yes, you do need a U.S. address (and it has to be in TD Bank's U.S. footprint, i.e., mostly in the North East) for TD Bank's file.

    Additionally, you cannot apply online for a TD Bank credit card as a non-resident. TD Bank has a separate credit card application form for foreign nationals that you have to fax in. The form is here: https://www.tdbank.com/exc/pdf/Foreign-National-Application.pdf What many people do for the U.S. address requirement is to use a mail forwarder (like mymallbox or something similar) or a pick up location or a relative's address.

    I'm happy to answer any questions about filling out the form.

    EDIT: Another option (though the card is not as good) is a Visa card through RBC Bank: https://www.rbcbank.com/cross-border/us-credit-cards.html#newcreditcard I not 100% sure, but I don't believe RBC Bank has any U.S. address requirement.
    Thank you!
     

    FigmentSpark

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 9, 2016
    BMO has a USD MasterCard. There is no requirement for a US address. $35 or spend $1000 in the calendar year on it to waive the fee. Pretty reasonable.
     

    efrant

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 4, 2017
    BMO has a USD MasterCard. There is no requirement for a US address. $35 or spend $1000 in the calendar year on it to waive the fee. Pretty reasonable.
    Yes, that's reasonable if you spend at least $1,000 a year and not a lot more. I think I mentioned it earlier: USD cards issued by Canadian banks don't give you any rewards/points/cashback (or whatever you'd like to call it) on your spend. And you have to buy USD to pay it off (assuming you have no USD income of course).

    Let's run through a little scenario, and I'd like to hear your thoughts. Assume annual spending is US$10,000, and for simplicity, let's assume all of that spending is on "travel" (hotels, car rentals, cruises, vacation packages, airfare, etc) and "dining" categories.

    Using the BMO USD MC, you would pay no annual fee, and get nothing in return for your spending. Your only cost would be the fee to convert your CAD to USD to pay off the card. (I realize everyone can buy USD at varying fees over spot, but let's assume worst case of 2.5%.) With this card, you are now down US$250.

    Using an annual fee US-based card (e.g., Chase's Sapphire Reserve Visa, which gives you 4.5% return on travel and dining spend), you would pay the annual fee (which is US$150 net of a travel credit it gives you), and get US$450 for your spending. Again, you would have the cost to convert your CAD to USD to pay off the card. Assuming the same 2.5%, now with this card, you are up US$50 (or a US$300 savings vs the BMO MC). On top of that, you get free airport lounge access for you and two guests, and some other benefits.

    Using the no annual fee Brim card or the Home Trust card (both are Canadian no-f/x fee, 1% earning cards), you would pay no annual fee, and get US$100 clear. There's no need to buy USD, because the card charges in CAD, not USD.

    Using a regular Canadian no annual fee, 1% earning CAD card, you would get US$100, but you would be paying US$250 in f/x fees on the card, so you are down US$150.

    Now, granted, this is a specific example (US$10k spend, worst f/x fee to buy USD, etc), but for someone who does spend ~US$10k annually and has no USD income, it's pretty clear (at least in this specific example) that USD cards issued by Canadian banks are the worst of all the options, because they don't provide any rewards for your spending AND you have to buy USD to pay them off.
     

    efrant

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 4, 2017
    Wouldn't it be great if Canadians could get the Disney Rewards Visa card?
    You actually can, but it takes a bit of work. (I don't have either of the Disney cards, but as a Canadian, I was able to get approved for two other Chase cards.) That said, if you are going to go through the effort to get U.S. credit cards, and particularly Chase cards, then you should go for other cards, because the Chase Disney cards are among the poorest value cards that Chase offers (despite their cool look! :) ). The Disney Visa (no annual fee) gives you 1% back on all your spend, and the Disney Premier Visa (US$49 annual fee) gives you 2% on gas/grocery/restaurants and at most Disney locations and 1% everywhere else. Every other card that Chase offers beats the Disney Visa, and many of them beat the Disney Premier Visa. Additionally, as a Canadian, you'll be losing money each time you use those cards, unless you have USD assets or income, because there are fees to convert CAD to USD in order to pay off the card.
     

    yowcruiser

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 24, 2017
    In the no FX Markup category, Scotiabank is "upgrading" their Gold American Express card. Effective August 1st, FX markup will no longer apply. Annual fee will go up though and it is Amex - so really good for travel but so so for everyday spending. This is a card with a great reward program (moving to 5X and 3X rewards on select categories). However, all spending in foreign currency will only see 1point per $ spent, regardless of category.
     

    Skjhjb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 8, 2012
    Just thought I'd post this here for an FYI in case nobody knew.

    We mainly bank with Simplii (formerly President's Choice). But I have my business account at a local credit union -Meridian is the one we have locally. I'm not sure how far reaching their branches are. I recently opened a US account with them, so that I can transfer money to it to have a US slush fund for my son's basketball travel and an upcoming California/Disneyland trip.

    A few months after I opened the account, we got a mailer for a US dollar credit card through Meridian. It charges in US funds so no extra fees. And no exchange - because I can only pay it using money from my US bank account. I earn 1 reward point for every $1 US spent. The card carries trip cancellation or interruption insurance as well.

    The only drawback I find is that when I pay the card, it isn't an instant transfer (like from my Simplii account to my Line of Credit, or like my DDs CIBC account to her CIBC credit card). It takes a few days.

    I've used it for a few US purchases, and we used it for hotel/meals while in Rochester for basketball. Super easy to use and no issues!
     

    AngelDisney

    Dream a Disney Dream 0[;)
    Joined
    Mar 22, 2011
    Since my trusty Amazon card went the way of the do-do bird last year I've been looking for another card to avoid the Forex fee. Bit the bullet and DH and I got the Scotia Passport Visa. Though it does charge an annual fee (which we always avoid with other credit cards), we cruise a lot with Disney etc so the savings from the 2.5% fee will more than cover that yearly fee. Plus the free airport lounge visits are a nice touch :flower1:
    Thanks for sharing this card here! I currently use the BMO World Elite (non-AM) Mastercard and it has a $150 annual fee. This one offers better features and costs less. Just applied for it online, and it will be mailed to me just in time to book flights for our cruise next summer. We already have the BMO USD Mastercard for Disney/US travel. This card is great for non-Disney/US travel. Too bad I didn’t check this thread earlier. Otherwise we could have used it during our recent trip to Japan.
     


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