RBC Bank Canada Cross-Border Solutions Review
If you bank with one of Canada’s big five banks, you may be surprised to know that some have operations in the US. For many Canadian travelers, especially those that are US cross border travelers; this can be a major advantage. Some banks also include mortgage financing products for Canadians looking to relocate or purchase property in the US.
Overall, this comes as a convenience for many Canadians in the US, giving them the ability to transfer funds between US and Canadian accounts easily and at a relatively better price. However, some banks provide more cross border banking products and services with different advantages over others. Depending on the type of traveler you are, one bank’s cross-border banking solutions may be more appropriate than others. For example, if you travel to the US once in a while, then opening a US dollar account may not be necessary.
Instead, exchanging for cash or using a credit card may be an easier option. For Canadians that do travel to the US often, then perhaps these plans for banking in the US may be of worth to you. These plans are offered mainly by TD Canada Trust, RBC Bank, and Bank of Montreal. Exchanging Canadian to US or vice versa on a frequent basis at regular bank rates can be quite costly. For example, transferring $20,000 annually can amount to $500 in costs that could be avoided. For the lowest rates, the best choice is often independent foreign exchange providers such as Knightsbridge FX. To get a sample quote or to find out how much you can save with Knightsbridge FX click here.
However, if going with your bank seems more appropriate to you, you can still expect to save a decent amount of money. To compare, the USA exchange rate is typically over 2% above the market rate depending on the amount being exchanged while preferred exchange rates through borderless plans are usually slightly less (around 1.5%) and Knightsbridge FX rates are around .5%. For your convenience, we’ve provided a review of RBC’s cross-border banking solutions below. For more great reviews, articles and to subscribe to our daily blog, feel free to click here and subscribe to our blog posts.
RBC Canada 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 close to an all-inclusive banking plan. In comparison to BMO’s cross border banking solutions, RBC’s is more comprehensive. A good way to think of RBC is as a good balance between BMO’s and TD’s borderless solutions. 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. It can also all be conveniently accessed on the RBC Canada online banking platform. RBC US banking should definitely be an option when considering different cross-border banking solutions.
Pricing for RBC US Banking
RBC’s cross border solutions are also relatively affordable starting with its US chequing accounts. Its cheapest USD account which is the Direct Chequing starts at a monthly account fee of $3.95/month with their Premium Chequing starting at $9.95/month. This will allow you to have a US dollar account in Canada that can be accessed in the US and Canada. In line with TD Bank’s offerings, RBC Canada does not charge for the transfer of money between accounts. RBC Canada also provides preferred rates for cross border banking customers; however, this rate is not disclosed until the final steps before confirmation of trade. Most likely, the preferred RBC exchange rate is similar to TD’s discount. You can find out more about RBC currency exchange by visiting a local branch or placing a call to an RBC representative. In addition, all transactions 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.
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. You will also have access to preferred RBC foreign exchange rates similar to TD. 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 Canada does not have any physical branches or ATM’s in the US since it sold its US service arm to PNC Financial Services in 2011. Fortunately, they were able to strike an agreement to let RBC Canada 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.
Many of RBC’s cross border solutions cons are similar to TD’s plan. Although there are no US Branches, American 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. In addition, like TD, RBC Canada has all bank account services available on the RBC Canada online banking platform. An overall drawback to this otherwise great service is that RBC Canada has announced it will raise fees in line with TD’s and other big banks recent price adjustments to combat shrinking profit margins. To find out how you can avoid these fees and save the most amount of money on your US exchanges, click here or give Knightsbridge FX a call at 1-877-355-5239.