For those not familiar with Canadian winters, at first glance, it can seem scenic and festive around Christmas time. However, winters can get harsh and cold and many of us choose to hop down south to pass some time while waiting for the days to get longer and warmer again (Canadian snowbirds might want to take a look at our article on the Canadian snowbird association currency exchange program). Some may even have businesses or family members that require frequent exchanges of Canadian dollars to US dollars.
Over time, with banks charging high fees at regular rates, the costs can add up. For example, for a snowbird that transacts $10,000 on an annual basis, the fees would amount to approximately $250. This money could be better used elsewhere while vacationing or travelling.
While independent providers such as Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange can provide you with the best rates, it is sometimes easier or more convenient to go with your local bank. Luckily, if you bank with TD Canada Trust, RBC Bank, or Bank of Montreal there are cross border solutions for those that travel to the US on a semi-frequent to frequent basis. If you would like to see how Knightsbridge FX can provide you with the lowest exchange rates, take a look at the best foreign currency exchange rate in Canada.
For TD Canada Trust, this comes in the form of the TD Borderless Plan which includes preferred TD exchange rates with seamless and convenient TD Canada Trust online banking tools. For your convenience, we took the time to check out TD’s services to answer major questions and write an overall review on the product below. If you would like to read more reviews, articles, or view our blog click here.
TD Bank operates in Canada as TD Canada Trust while US cross border services are maintained by TD Bank. Having a strong US operating arm allows it to offer what it calls the US Borderless Plan. In the past, to conduct transactions between Canada and the United States, you essentially needed two separate accounts located in each country which made transactions 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. It can be accessed using the TD Canada Trust easy web online platform. The plan includes various bank account services. This includes a US dollar account in Canada 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. Overall it is a convenient and accessible option for Canadians banking in the US. Compared to RBC’s cross border solutions, it can be seen as slightly more comprehensive and all inclusive while BMO’s cross border solutions are the more fragmented option.
The plan is quite affordable and is made for frequent US travelers/purchasers. The monthly account 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 TD exchange rates from TD currency exchange while avoiding conversion fees and currency exchange services. Currently, the TD borderless plan offers exchange rates roughly 1.5% above the market USA exchange rate while traditional rates are 2% or more. 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.
There are also many positives associated with the plan in general. One of the biggest advantages with TD Canada Trust is the seemingly all inclusive banking plan for US and Canada integrated on the TD Canada Trust Easy Web banking platform. Another useful advantage is 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. In addition, transferring money between Canadian TD accounts and American TD Bank accounts are free of wiring transfer costs. Related to this is that to open 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.
Although there are many positives associated with the plan, there are some cons for Canadians in the US. 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 TD’s 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.
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. Once set up, the accounts can be accessed on the TD Canada Trust Easy Web platform. You are also able to transfer up to $100,000 per day free of charge by phone wire and up to $2,500 using TD Canada Trust online banking free of charges. Support is available 24/7 through their dedicated phone support line and informational website. Futhermore, the TD Exchange rate can be found online 24/7. Lastly, a big advantage is that both American and Canadian accounts are visible at the same time online on the Canada Trust easy web platform for ease of transfer and bill payment.
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 De Jardin’s equivalent. If interested, feel free to find out more on the TD Canada Trust website or phone in to have any questions answered. If you would like to read more articles like this one, or would like to find out how much more you can save on US dollar exchanges by going with Knightsbridge FX click here.