I've been thinking about getting a USD Credit card and bank account for a while now for a couple of reasons. First because i buy a lot of stuff off the net in USD and heard i can save a lot on the conversion,
Second, i may be going to spend some time in Africa on a sort of working vacation at a friends hotel. Generally when traveling abroad and moving money around working with USD is much easier to deal and accepted almost anywhere.
But I've never dealt with a USD account in Canada before. How does one go around depositing and taking out money with out getting dinged with high exchange fee's. Would I bank pretty much the same way I do with my regular bank accounts, if I had a USD credit card could i just pay it off online from my USD bank account?
Basically I'm asking how do USD accounts in Canada work, and how does one minimize foreign exchange fees? Oh, I'm not talking about huge sums of money at most I'd be putting around 3 - 4k into USD for my trip.
December 12, 2008
Most US Bank accounts in Canada only allow you to deposit/withdraw directly (and it would have to be from a bank teller) to the US Account. Or transfer online/tele-banking to another account within the same bank.
ALTHOUGH: RBC (Royal Bank Canada) are partners with Royal Bank Centura (RBC USA). RBC allows you to create an account with RoyalBank Centura and link the two for easy online/tele-banking transfers. Having the RoyalBank Centura Checking account is the same as opening up an account in the US. You get a free visa debit check card (you know the cards that most Americans have to use as an credit-card with the limit being what you have in your checking account). You also get free unlimited cheques and transactions each month. The fee for this account is $3.95 / month (which is free for the first 3 months AND free if you maintain a $700 US Balance). You are able to use this card to pay for any visa credit card transactions worldwide and Interact transactions within the U.S.
I started using this account two months ago when I flew down to Florida on a business trip for 6 weeks. You are able to open up the account here in Canada (but if you have an up coming trip, you may want to start this process a minimum 3 weeks before you leave). You can also open up the account at an RBC Centura branch in the US (but most all of the branches are in Florida with a few in the other southern States). You need a Passport to open up this account with another piece of ID (credit card/etc). Opening up the account in the States will take about 5 days to get all of your account info up and going.
Free ATM transactions at any RBC ATM as well as Publix grocery store ATMS (which are almost everywhere nationwide). But if you do withdraw cash from an alternate ATM, RBC will credit you part of the transaction fee. Here is a link to the 2 checking accounts you can use:
I must also mention, that you cannot deposit directly into this account from Canada. You would first deposit into your Canadian RBC Account, then do a transfer (either online or by telephone) to your RBC Centura account which is an instant transfer. Only in the US can you deposit directly into this account without having to transfer It is a good idea to open up an RBC Canada Checking or Savings account to begin this.
What you could do to avoid monthly fees from the Canadian Chequing account is to open up their Day to Day savings, which has a $0 monthly fee with 1 free debit transaction / month and 50 cents / transaction after. Though I've noticed my transfers to the RBC Centura account have all been free even with multiple transfers during a 1 month cycle. But this might just be for a limited time. So this might be your best option if you want to use a US Bank account / US Credit card that can be used Worldwide as it was for me.
"Hope this info was helpful