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TD & RBC Cross Border Banking & other Banking Plans For Canadians


So you’re finally thinking of opening a US dollar bank account for your cross-border needs.  Well, you’re in luck, there are a number of options available to you and we have done all the research for you.

The big five Canadian banks all offer US dollar bank accounts, however, some offer better cross-border solutions than others in terms of breadth of service, ease of use, pricing, convenience, and suitability.

TD Bank and RBC both offer complete cross-border packages while Scotiabank, BMO, and CIBC offer more traditional cross-border banking solutions.

 

Here is a compilation of all the important information you’ll need to make the best choice.  Don’t forget, while the bank’s offer products suited for cross-border activity, they still charge outrageous currency exchange rates and this is where KnightsbridgeFX can help you save money, up to 2.5%.

KnightsbridgeFX provides significantly better exchange rates than the Canadian banks and can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars on US dollar currency exchange.  Banks charge up to 2.5% hidden within the exchange rate.  Stop overpaying with the bank when exchanging Canadian to US dollars.

Click here to see a comparison.

 

TD Bank – US Borderless Plan Review

1

Summary

TD Bank operates in Canada as TD Canada Trust and in the US as TD Bank. Having a strong US operating arm allows them to offer what is called the “US Borderless Plan”.

In the past, conducting transactions between Canada and the United States required you to have two separate accounts located in each country, making the process slow and cumbersome. The TD Bank US Borderless Plan eliminates this problem by essentially creating one integrated platform for all of your cross-border banking needs.

The plan includes a US bank account which comes with a US credit Card with annual fees waived and many discounts and insurance benefits. The plan also allows for the purchase of a US mortgage with little hassle.

 

Pricing

The plan is quite affordable and is made for frequent US travellers/purchasers. The monthly fee is $4.95; however with a minimum account balance of US$3,000 this can be waived.

In terms of the associated US credit card received from initiating the US Borderless Plan there are several benefits. Fees incurred from non-TD ATM transactions are waived regardless of your account balance. Furthermore, if your account balance meets the minimum requirement, other non-TD fees will be reimbursed.

Another benefit of having a TD US Dollar Visa card is that it gives you access to preferred exchange rates from TD while avoiding conversion fees and currency exchange services. As at June 9, 2015 3:45pm the borderless plan offered .0059 better on buying USD/CAD and .0079 on selling USD/CAD.

Lastly the TD US Dollar Visa Card can be used at one of many US TD Bank ATMs without paying additional system fees outside of foreign exchange fees.

 

Pros

There are many positives associated with the plan in general. First off, when applying for a US mortgage, home equity line of credit or US-dollar credit card through the TD Bank, credit history can be based off of Canadian and US assets, income, and credit history. This is useful for people who do not have an established credit history in the US such as first time vacation property purchasers.

Additionally, transferring money between Canadian TD accounts and American TD Bank accounts are free of wiring transfer costs. Furthermore, when opening a US based TD Bank account, a US address is not necessary. If you require funds but are currently in the US, you also have the option to withdraw funds straight from your TD Canada Trust account through any TD Bank ATM. Having TD ATM’s and branches in the states is also another advantage as other big Canadian banks besides BMO’s Harris Bank do not.

Lastly, transacting between Canadian and US bank accounts can tend to take longer than a domestic transfer and a big advantage is TD’s extended business hours where it is open 7 days a week and longer than other banks.

 

Cons

Although there are many positives associated with the plan, there are some cons. Most of TD’s branches are located on the East Coast to suit the needs of Canada’s snowbird population. As a result, most branches and ATM’s are located in the Arizona and Florida regions.

There is also disappointment for those hoping to be able to access Canadian TD bank accounts in the US as US staffs are not able to access Canadian accounts and vice versa; however, this is standard for all banks.

Another con associated with the nature of cross-border transactions, and as previously mentioned, is that transactions tend to take more time. Traditional ATM or debit transactions can take 1-3 days to show up on your statement while bill payments to payees can take 5-7 days to be processed.

Lastly, as with all current cross-border solutions, automatic bill payment is not possible to US payees from Canadian accounts, however, money can be transferred between Canadian to US accounts to pay US bills directly online. It is important to note that automatic transfers are also not possible.

 

Ease of Use

In terms of how easy the product is to use, it is quite simple to sign up. Signing up simply requires a phone call or a visit to the branch to talk to a representative that can facilitate the process. All that is required is a Social Insurance Number, Driver’s License or Health Card, Bank Account at TD, and a Passport.

You are also able to transfer up to $100,000 per day free of charge by phone wire and up to $2,500 online free of charges. Support is available 24/7 through their dedicated phone support line and informational website.

Lastly, a big advantage is that both American and Canadian accounts are visible at the same time online for ease of transfer and bill payment and accounts can also be connected to PayPal payment services.

 

Reviews of TD borderless Plan

In terms of reviews, TD Bank has recently raised some fees with regards to minimum account balances and transaction costs to the dismay of many customers; however, TD’s US borderless plan is still regarded as one of the best services offered in Canada. For those wishing to travel to Cuba and use debit, TD Canada Trust Visa Debit Card provides an option to use debit aside from CIBC and DesJardin’s equivalent.

Be aware that there are complaints with regards to the nature of the two operating arms. TD Bank is noted as a separate bank to TD Canada Trust (Canada’s operating arm). There have been inconsistencies in service in the past upon launch of the product. However, since then they have continually improved the service.

KnightsbridgeFX provides significantly better exchange rates than the Canadian banks and can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars on US dollar currency exchange.  Banks charge up to 2.5% hidden within the exchange rate.  Stop overpaying with the bank when exchanging Canadian to US dollars.

Click here to see a comparison.

 


 

RBC Bank Cross-Border Banking Review

2

Summary

RBC offers a similar service to TD’s US Borderless Plan with its own RBC Cross-Border solutions. The plan is not structured as comprehensively as TD’s and is more of a mix and match structure, however, the service is just as good and offers plenty. RBC’s cross border solutions include US bank accounts, US credit cards, and US mortgage solutions and aims to eliminate the need for two separate accounts.

 

Pricing

RBC’s cross-border solutions are also relatively affordable starting with its US chequing accounts. Its cheapest account, Direct Chequing, starts at $3.95/month with their Premium Chequing starting at $9.95/month.

In line with TD Bank’s offerings, RBC does not charge for the transfer of money between accounts. RBC also provides preferred rates for cross-border customers; however, this rate is not disclosed until the final steps before confirmation of trade. Most likely, the preferred exchange rate is similar to TD’s discount.

In addition, all transaction made at PNC Bank ATMs come free of charge and other bank fees are reimbursed upon request. Associated with the US chequing accounts is their US credit cards of which there are four to choose from. They include Visa Signature Black, Visa Signature Black Plus, Visa Platinum, and US Gold Card (Canada). Each card comes with unique coverage, discounts and benefits, and respective fees. For those wishing to avoid fees, no fees are applied on the Signature Black and Visa Platinum cards.

 

Pros

Overall, the plan comes with similar pros and cons as the TD Borderless plan with some slight differences. Just like the TD plan, with RBC’s cross border banking solutions, you can apply for a US mortgage, home equity line of credit or US-dollar credit card based on your Canadian and US assets, income and credit history, which eliminates the need for US credit history for big purchases such as property.

Another similarity to TD is that you do not need a US address to open an account and transfers between Canadian and American accounts are free of wire transfer fees. Unlike TD, however, RBC does not have any physical branches or ATM’s in the US as they sold their US service arm to PNC Financial Services in 2011; fortunately, they were able to strike an agreement to let RBC customers use RBC Bank Visa Debit cards at any of more than 7,100 PNC Bank ATMs with no fees. This may be comforting to some as this is much greater than the number of TD Bank ATM’s in the US.

 

Cons

Many of RBC’s cross-border solution cons are similar to TD’s plan. Although there are no US Branches, RBC bank staff are not able to access Canadian based accounts anyway which has to do with laws and regulations. Automatic transfers between Canadian and US accounts to pay bills are also not currently available, however, like TD; transfers from Canadian accounts to US accounts can be done to pay bills directly online.

Lastly, RBC does not have branches and therefore unlike TD’s extended hours can be troublesome if trying to sort out an issue. Planning ahead may be wise as US transactions take a slightly longer time to settle with 1-3 days for ATM or debit transactions and 5-7 days for bill payments processed by merchants.

 

Ease of Use/Reviews

In terms of ease of use, it is just as easy as TD’s process and only requires a phone call or a visit to the branch. You will also need your Social Insurance Number, Bank Account, Passport and Driver’s License. A benefit with RBC’s service however, is that you can transfer up to $25,000 online versus TD’s $2,500, allowing for more flexibility. Anything else within the amounts of $25,000 to $100,000 will require you to contact the bank to set up a transaction.

Like TD, RBC’s services are also compatible with PayPal accounts and overall, reviews have been quite positive with fewer complaints at launch compared to TD. Unfortunately, RBC has announced it will raise rates in line with TD’s and other big banks recent price adjustments to combat shrinking profit margins.

KnightsbridgeFX provides significantly better exchange rates than the Canadian banks and can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars on US dollar currency exchange.  Banks charge up to 2.5% hidden within the exchange rate.  Stop overpaying with the bank when exchanging Canadian to US dollars.

Click here to see a comparison.

 


 

BMO Cross-border Banking Review

3

Summary

Although BMO operates in the US as BMO Harris Bank, their cross-border solutions are not as comprehensive as TD Bank and RBC. A good way to compare BMO against the big five banks is that its services are similar to CIBC and Scotia’s, however, BMO offers more in terms of flexibility, benefits, coverage, and discounts than CIBC and Scotia.

Again, the main difference between BMO versus TD and RBC’s plans is the ability to view both accounts at the same time on an integrated platform.

 

US Bank Accounts

In terms of US bank accounts, BMO offers many options to suit your lifestyle. The first step is opening a primary chequing account and a US Dollar Premium Rate Savings Account which allows you to earn interest on savings deposits. From there if you belong to a special group such as kids, teens, or seniors you are eligible to receive a discount.

Finally, you pick a plan that suits your lifestyle needs. There are five plans ranging from a Practical Plan to a Premium Plan each with unique features. For example, the Practical Plan includes 12 monthly transactions and a monthly fee of $4 which can be waived on a minimum balance of $1,500 or more.

The Premium Plan includes unlimited monthly transactions at a monthly fee of $30 which can be waived on a minimum balance of $5,000 or more. Like a regular Canadian bank account, the US bank account allows you to manage money by setting up direct deposits and pre-authorized payments amongst other services. There are also budgeting tools and travel services available with the bank account.

 

US Credit Cards/Reviews

Associated with its US bank accounts, BMO also offers credit cards and mortgages based on Canadian credit history. Similar to CIBC, the annual fee is $35 however there are some unique features and benefits that come with the card such as rebates, extended warranties, and purchase protection on purchases made with the card.

If this card does not suit your needs, BMO also offers World credit cards at much higher annual fees. BMO is generally a good option for BMO customers because a US dollar account can be added at no additional monthly cost and does not change the current plan a BMO customer may have. Reviews on BMO’s cross border services are generally pretty good and are suitable for frequent US travellers looking for a simple and effective product offering. BMO accounts are compatible with PayPal accounts.

 

KnightsbridgeFX provides significantly better exchange rates than the Canadian banks and can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars on US dollar currency exchange.  Banks charge up to 2.5% hidden within the exchange rate.  Stop overpaying with the bank when exchanging Canadian to US dollars.

Click here to see a comparison.

 


 

CIBC Cross-border Banking Review

4

Summary

Unfortunately, CIBC’s cross border banking solutions are limited when compared to RBC and TD. Since their involvement in the Enron debacle, they have slowly been making a name for themselves and were amongst the first to offer a US visa debit card. Unfortunately, their main focus at the moment in the US is wealth management so there are no retail locations. However, they do currently provide US bank accounts and US credit cards for US travelers. The main difference between CIBC versus TD and RBC is the ability to view both accounts at the same time on an integrated platform.

 

US Bank Accounts

In terms of their US bank accounts, CIBC offers a simple way to manage US funds but not much more than that. Like any standard foreign chequing or savings account, their US bank accounts allow for deposit and withdrawal of US funds without having to convert currencies. It also allows CIBC customers to transfer funds to other accounts online or at any CIBC branch.

A benefit with choosing a CIBC US bank account is that there are no monthly fees and you essentially pay as you go with a .75US fee on transactions that include cheques, withdrawals (including ABMs), transfers, pre-authorized payments, bill payments, and debit purchases. Interest can be earned but varies depending on your bank account balance. Applying is easy and only requires you to phone or visit a local branch with appropriate identification.

 

US Credit Cards

Another option that CIBC offers is its US credit cards, however, they do not offer as much in terms of benefits, coverage, and discounts as TD and RBC although they do offer perks such as Avis and Budget car rental discounts. The card charges an annual fee of $35 with no fees on up to an additional 3 cards and allows the user to set authorized user spending limits and other tracking features.

Unfortunately, reviews of this product have been mixed with many pointing to the lack of insurance coverage and benefits such as pay at pump at gas stations. For those wishing to travel to Cuba and use debit, CIBC also offers the CIBC Advantage Visa Debit Card which is one of the only accepted cards aside from TD and Desjardin’s equivalent. CIBC is also compatible with PayPal accounts.

 

KnightsbridgeFX provides significantly better exchange rates than the Canadian banks and can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars on US dollar currency exchange.  Banks charge up to 2.5% hidden within the exchange rate.  Stop overpaying with the bank when exchanging Canadian to US dollars.

Click here to see a comparison.

 


 

Scotiabank Cross-border Banking Review

5

Summary

Scotia is very similar to CIBC in its US cross-border solutions and includes a US bank account and US debit cards. Scotia’s offerings relative to its competitors is quite small, however, they do offer a cost effective solution for basic cross-border needs.

Unfortunately, Scotia does not have any US retail locations. The main difference between Scotia versus TD and RBC is the ability to view both accounts at the same time on an integrated platform.

 

US Bank Accounts

The Scotia US Dollar Daily Interest Account allows users to earn interest on US funds in a tiered structure based on daily closing balances. The account costs $1 per month which can be waived on a minimum balance of $200. It includes two free transactions with a $1 fee on each subsequent transaction.

The account, like the US accounts offered by the other big Canadian banks, allows users’ access to competitive foreign exchange rates and transfers between Canadian and US accounts online. To sign up, options include visiting a local branch, by phone, or online with the appropriate documentation.

 

US Credit Cards/Reviews

Scotia does not currently offer cross border credit cards, however, it offers cross border debit cards which are essentially a good substitution for cash. The two cards are ScotiaCards with VISA debit and ScotiaCards with NYCE. The difference between the two cards is the fees that are applied. There is no transaction fee on the VISA debit card while there is a $1 transaction fee on the NYCE card on top of the currency exchange fee.

KnightsbridgeFX provides significantly better exchange rates than the Canadian banks and can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars on US dollar currency exchange.  Banks charge up to 2.5% hidden within the exchange rate.  Stop overpaying with the bank when exchanging Canadian to US dollars.

Click here to see a comparison.

 


 

 

We welcome your comments!

Leave us a comment below on your experience with cross-border banking with the Canadian banks and we will incorporate your feedback in to our comparison.

By Admin | June 24, 2018 | Editorials | 1 comments

One comment

  1. Manon Allard March 20, 2017 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    I am a snowbird living in Ontario, who has a young family living in Florida. As a new Grandmother, I would like to pay for my grandson’s US education plan. The parents have made their choice and I would like an account that would allow the education plan provider to take their monthly fee directly out of my US account. I have tried with Scotiabank here in Ontario, but they couldn’t meet my needs. Would you happen to have a suggestion as to which bank would be best suited to this type of transaction? I’m sure there must be plenty of Seniors with this type of question. Thank you for your time and your expertise.

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