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Question to all U.S. PRs in Canada--how do you access your U.S. bank accounts?

Question to all U.S. PRs in Canada--how do you access your U.S. bank accounts?

Old Apr 5th 2004, 9:16 am
  #1  
Robin
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Default Question to all U.S. PRs in Canada--how do you access your U.S. bank accounts?

My girlfriend will soon be landing in Canada as a Permanent Resident.
Currently, her savings account is with a small bank. I am trying to
determine how she can best have access to her money while living with
me here in Canada, without having to pay high-wire transfer fees, or
any other such fees/service charges.


I know that some American expatriates, currently residing Canada, have
chequing accounts with their American bank. They write themselves a
cheque, whenever they need to make a withdrawl from their state bank.

I don't want her to bring her entire life-savings to Canada--the
Canadian dollar is worth too much right now. I don't want to see her
U.S. funds to become needlessly diminished. At the same time,
however, it would be nice to find a convenient, simple, easy way for
her to dip into her state bank account from Canada, without being
overcharged.


Anyone know of any avenues? Any "joint" Can-Am bank relationships she
could take advantage of? Ie, if she moved her money to a larger bank
like, say, Bank of America...does it have any affiliations with a bank
here in Canada (so she could transfer funds without paying hefty and
needless fees?)


Any insight or info would be appreciated. Thanks!


Robin
 
Old Apr 5th 2004, 9:56 am
  #2  
LithiaSpgs
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Default Re: Question to all U.S. PRs in Canada--how do you access your U.S. bank accounts?

You can withdrawl money from any bank in Canada or the USA with a simple ATM
card. We have accounts in both places.
 
Old Apr 5th 2004, 10:04 am
  #3  
Renee
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Default Re: Question to all U.S. PRs in Canada--how do you access your U.S. bank accounts?

Hi Robin,

I've been living in Calgary since February 2003, and I couldn't figure out a
good way to keep using my U.S. checking account.

I just kept it open so I could make online payments to my U.S. credit cards
(it's impossible to get a Canadian credit card with no job, no SIN, and no
PR). I never wrote any checks once I moved here, and I never used the ATM
because I was told that the fees were high from the Canadian side of the
transaction.

Granted, the exchange rate was better when I moved a lot of my money, but I
pretty much started using a Canadian bank account right away after moving to
Canada. I have my name added to my husband's credit card account, so I
don't use my U.S. cards anymore. I closed the U.S. account, because they
were charging me $11 per month service fee to keep the account open and mail
statements to Canada. Not worth it.

I was told by CIBC that there isn't a uniform ABA system between the U.S.
and Canada, and that is why there aren't accounts that you can access easily
in both places.

I'm interested to see if anyone has any good suggestions for you. Hindsight
and all in my case...but at least I can try to help other people in the same
situation. I have a friend moving to Winnipeg from Ohio in the next year,
and I can share the advice on this thread with her.

Renee

--
Inland Spouse Timeline so far (U.S. Citizen):
19 Feb 2003: Moved to Calgary from U.S. on 6 month TRV
12 May 2003: Did medicals in Calgary
20 June 2003: Applied for TRV extension
5 July 2003: Wedding Date
18 July 2003: CIC received inland spouse PR application
15 Aug 2003: Received 6 month TRV extension
20 Aug 2003: CIC request for work history dates (which were sent with
application)
21 Aug 2003: CIC received work history reply by overnight post
4 Sept 2003: CIC e-Client finally shows "in process"
21 Nov 2003: Applied for second TRV extension
16 Jan 2004: Received second 6 month TRV extension
17 Feb 2004: e-Client says DECISION MADE! 215 days wait - in line with
processing estimates
23 Feb 2004: Received AIP & application completed letters by mail
25 Feb 2004: Chris received sponsorship approval letter
9 Mar 2004: Received landing interview date (April 1)
1 Apr 2004: Officially became a PR of Canada!


"Robin" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
    > My girlfriend will soon be landing in Canada as a Permanent Resident.
    > Currently, her savings account is with a small bank. I am trying to
    > determine how she can best have access to her money while living with
    > me here in Canada, without having to pay high-wire transfer fees, or
    > any other such fees/service charges.
    > I know that some American expatriates, currently residing Canada, have
    > chequing accounts with their American bank. They write themselves a
    > cheque, whenever they need to make a withdrawl from their state bank.
    > I don't want her to bring her entire life-savings to Canada--the
    > Canadian dollar is worth too much right now. I don't want to see her
    > U.S. funds to become needlessly diminished. At the same time,
    > however, it would be nice to find a convenient, simple, easy way for
    > her to dip into her state bank account from Canada, without being
    > overcharged.
    > Anyone know of any avenues? Any "joint" Can-Am bank relationships she
    > could take advantage of? Ie, if she moved her money to a larger bank
    > like, say, Bank of America...does it have any affiliations with a bank
    > here in Canada (so she could transfer funds without paying hefty and
    > needless fees?)
    > Any insight or info would be appreciated. Thanks!
    > Robin
 
Old Apr 5th 2004, 11:38 am
  #4  
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Posts: 28
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Default Re: Question to all U.S. PRs in Canada--how do you access your U.S. bank accounts?

Originally posted by Robin
My girlfriend will soon be landing in Canada as a Permanent Resident.
Currently, her savings account is with a small bank. I am trying to
determine how she can best have access to her money while living with
me here in Canada, without having to pay high-wire transfer fees, or
any other such fees/service charges.


I know that some American expatriates, currently residing Canada, have
chequing accounts with their American bank. They write themselves a
cheque, whenever they need to make a withdrawl from their state bank.

I don't want her to bring her entire life-savings to Canada--the
Canadian dollar is worth too much right now. I don't want to see her
U.S. funds to become needlessly diminished. At the same time,
however, it would be nice to find a convenient, simple, easy way for
her to dip into her state bank account from Canada, without being
overcharged.


Anyone know of any avenues? Any "joint" Can-Am bank relationships she
could take advantage of? Ie, if she moved her money to a larger bank
like, say, Bank of America...does it have any affiliations with a bank
here in Canada (so she could transfer funds without paying hefty and
needless fees?)


Any insight or info would be appreciated. Thanks!


Robin
Hi Robin,
Here's what I did...not sure if it helps any.

When I moved from Ohio to Toronto, I closed my account in the US and took the cash to a AAA office and converted the cash to Traveller's Checks. If you're a AAA member, there is no cost to get the Traveller's checks. I had a decent sum of money, and wanted to ensure that it was insured in case I lost it. Traveller's Checks are insured, so if you do lose them, you can get each and every penny back. On arriving in Canada, I opened an account with ING Direct (no fees, no minimum balances), and deposited the traveller's checks there. If you need to access these funds, you can use the ATM located at their buildings. If you need to withdraw a big amount, then open up an account with CIBC (or any other major Canadian bank) and set-up a "link" between the two accounts by writing a check from your CIBC US Dollar account, and depositing it in your ING Direct account. This is just a one time thing you need to do, in order to setup the link. Once this is done.....just call ING Direct and tell them how much money you want transferred to your "linked" CIBC account. It takes just 24 hours for the funds to arrive in your CIBC account. I get charged a withdrawal fee of 50 cents (USD) from CIBC for each withdrawal....no matter how big or small the withdrawal amount is.

I have just used CIBC as an example above....I'm sure any of the other major Canadian Banks would have a similar offering. Hope the above helps, and good luck!!
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Old Apr 5th 2004, 3:26 pm
  #5  
Nick B.
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Default Re: Question to all U.S. PRs in Canada--how do you access your U.S. bank accounts?

Royal and TD Canada Trust both have US domiciled affiliates for their
clients.

All Canadian banks offer U.S. dollar accounts and investment products
(mutual funds, etc) that she could make use of as well.

"Robin" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
    > My girlfriend will soon be landing in Canada as a Permanent Resident.
    > Currently, her savings account is with a small bank. I am trying to
    > determine how she can best have access to her money while living with
    > me here in Canada, without having to pay high-wire transfer fees, or
    > any other such fees/service charges.
    > I know that some American expatriates, currently residing Canada, have
    > chequing accounts with their American bank. They write themselves a
    > cheque, whenever they need to make a withdrawl from their state bank.
    > I don't want her to bring her entire life-savings to Canada--the
    > Canadian dollar is worth too much right now. I don't want to see her
    > U.S. funds to become needlessly diminished. At the same time,
    > however, it would be nice to find a convenient, simple, easy way for
    > her to dip into her state bank account from Canada, without being
    > overcharged.
    > Anyone know of any avenues? Any "joint" Can-Am bank relationships she
    > could take advantage of? Ie, if she moved her money to a larger bank
    > like, say, Bank of America...does it have any affiliations with a bank
    > here in Canada (so she could transfer funds without paying hefty and
    > needless fees?)
    > Any insight or info would be appreciated. Thanks!
    > Robin
 
Old Apr 5th 2004, 3:59 pm
  #6  
Singh
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Question to all U.S. PRs in Canada--how do you access your U.S. bank accounts?

The best option in the US for anyone with multi-nation financial situation
is EverBank, I have used them for 5 years, and they are the best it gets in
currency and private banking.
http://www.everbank.com/main.asp?affid=eb

The Simple solution is TD Bank, to my knowledge they are the ONLY Canadian
Bank with a retail banking network in the US. You can transfer between
US/CAN and the two currencies easily on the web or phone.

Good luck




"Robin" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
    > My girlfriend will soon be landing in Canada as a Permanent Resident.
    > Currently, her savings account is with a small bank. I am trying to
    > determine how she can best have access to her money while living with
    > me here in Canada, without having to pay high-wire transfer fees, or
    > any other such fees/service charges.
    > I know that some American expatriates, currently residing Canada, have
    > chequing accounts with their American bank. They write themselves a
    > cheque, whenever they need to make a withdrawl from their state bank.
    > I don't want her to bring her entire life-savings to Canada--the
    > Canadian dollar is worth too much right now. I don't want to see her
    > U.S. funds to become needlessly diminished. At the same time,
    > however, it would be nice to find a convenient, simple, easy way for
    > her to dip into her state bank account from Canada, without being
    > overcharged.
    > Anyone know of any avenues? Any "joint" Can-Am bank relationships she
    > could take advantage of? Ie, if she moved her money to a larger bank
    > like, say, Bank of America...does it have any affiliations with a bank
    > here in Canada (so she could transfer funds without paying hefty and
    > needless fees?)
    > Any insight or info would be appreciated. Thanks!
    > Robin
 
Old Apr 5th 2004, 4:40 pm
  #7  
Anthony
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Question to all U.S. PRs in Canada--how do you access your U.S. bank accounts?

Try RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) and its US affiliates Royal Bank Centura
www.rbccentura.com 1-800-CENTURA ask about Royal Embassy Services.
It may suit your needs. Their motto is "American Banking Canadian
Convenience".


"Robin" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
    > My girlfriend will soon be landing in Canada as a Permanent Resident.
    > Currently, her savings account is with a small bank. I am trying to
    > determine how she can best have access to her money while living with
    > me here in Canada, without having to pay high-wire transfer fees, or
    > any other such fees/service charges.
    > I know that some American expatriates, currently residing Canada, have
    > chequing accounts with their American bank. They write themselves a
    > cheque, whenever they need to make a withdrawl from their state bank.
    > I don't want her to bring her entire life-savings to Canada--the
    > Canadian dollar is worth too much right now. I don't want to see her
    > U.S. funds to become needlessly diminished. At the same time,
    > however, it would be nice to find a convenient, simple, easy way for
    > her to dip into her state bank account from Canada, without being
    > overcharged.
    > Anyone know of any avenues? Any "joint" Can-Am bank relationships she
    > could take advantage of? Ie, if she moved her money to a larger bank
    > like, say, Bank of America...does it have any affiliations with a bank
    > here in Canada (so she could transfer funds without paying hefty and
    > needless fees?)
    > Any insight or info would be appreciated. Thanks!
    > Robin
 
Old Apr 5th 2004, 5:33 pm
  #8  
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Default Re: Question to all U.S. PRs in Canada--how do you access your U.S. bank accounts?

TD Bank has a US account deal with TD Waterhouse in the US. It ties together your Canadian checking at TD with a US checking account at Waterhouse so you can make transfers by calling them up. You can do everything else online such as paying bills and you can mail in deposits too if you have any US checks, but the transfers are only via phone.
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Old Apr 5th 2004, 7:35 pm
  #9  
Vladimir Menkov
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Default Re: Question to all U.S. PRs in Canada--how do you access your U.S. bank accounts?

In article <[email protected] >,
Robin <[email protected]> wrote:
    >My girlfriend will soon be landing in Canada as a Permanent Resident.
    >Currently, her savings account is with a small bank. I am trying to
    >determine how she can best have access to her money while living with
    >me here in Canada, without having to pay high-wire transfer fees, or
    >any other such fees/service charges.
    >I know that some American expatriates, currently residing Canada, have
    >chequing accounts with their American bank. They write themselves a
    >cheque, whenever they need to make a withdrawl from their state bank.
    >I don't want her to bring her entire life-savings to Canada--the
    >Canadian dollar is worth too much right now. I don't want to see her
    >U.S. funds to become needlessly diminished. At the same time,
    >however, it would be nice to find a convenient, simple, easy way for
    >her to dip into her state bank account from Canada, without being
    >overcharged.

First, even before emigrating from the United States, it is a good
idea for her to find out how her bank(s) will behave once she has a
Canadian address. With some banks and credit card companies this is
not a problem at all -- their toll-free foreign numbers are accessible
from Canada, they will send statements, checkbooks, and replacement
debit and credit cards to a Canadian address, their credit cards don't
charge any additinal fees (beyond the 1% Visa/MC charge) for
foreign-currency charges, and there don't seem to be any special ATM
fees for using foreign ATMs either. Others may be quite unpleasant to
deal with: say, they may not mind sending monthly statements to a
foreign address, but a replacement card may only be sent only to a
customer in the US; or a ridiculous 2-3% commission charge may be
tacked on top of foreign-currency credit card charges, etc. So be
aware of what your bank is like, and find a better bank or credit
union before you move, as it may be difficult to open a US account
once outside of the country.

Assuming your US bank does not give her a hard time, she of course has
all usual options for using her US funds, such as making purchases
with a US credit card and paying her credit card bill from the US
account, taking Canadian cash (or even US cahs) with a US ATM card
from Canadian ATMs. (Note though that taking US$100 from a
dual-currency ATM in Canada may cost you quite a bit more than a $100
debit from the US bank account, because some banks seem to do a
twp-way currency conversion on such a transaction, taking their cut
both ways! Spending US currency in Canadian stores, although often
possible, is usually not a good choice anyway, since the store really
does you a favor by accepting foreign currency, and prices that favor
accordingly by factoring it into their exchange rate.)

One may want to make a few "test transactions", then look at the CDN
$$ amounts and the US $$ amount on your statements -- after any ATM
fees, if applicable -- and compute the "effective exchange rate" that
you get with your US bank card / Canadian ATM combination, or with yor
credit card when used at Canadian merchants. Compare with the official
Bank of Canada rate for that day, and see how much you lose; if it's
just 1% or so, you know that you have a fairly good deal, and probably
can keep using this option.

One can usually deposit a US check into a Canadian bank or mutual fund
account, although it may take a few weeks for funds to become
available. However, the exchange rate thus obtained may be rather bad
(sometimes 2-3% below the official rate). Ask the bank, then make a
few small test transactions, then decide whether you found a good deal
or not. I found that a better deal may often be obtained by depositing
US$ checks into one's US$ account with a Canadian bank or money-market
mutual fund, and then moving funds from your US$ account to the CDN$
acct with the same bank or mutual fund company. The company in
Vancouver that I usually deal with seems to give very decent rate for
such between-accounts exchanges, something within 0.2% from the
official BoC rate, so this is the most convenient option for me.


    >Anyone know of any avenues? Any "joint" Can-Am bank relationships she
    >could take advantage of? Ie, if she moved her money to a larger bank
    >like, say, Bank of America...does it have any affiliations with a bank
    >here in Canada (so she could transfer funds without paying hefty and
    >needless fees?)

I have never found any such company with a special "cross-border
expertise" worth using. (Well, maybe I did not look much). In my
experience, you get the best deal by combining a good Stateside
financial institution with a good Canadian one, and using both.


--vladimir
 
Old Apr 6th 2004, 12:08 am
  #10  
Nick B.
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Default Re: Question to all U.S. PRs in Canada--how do you access your U.S. bank accounts?

The two cross-border options (RBC and TD) are quite similar, but because I
use RBC Centura but know lots of people who use TD Waterhouse Bank, I can
suggest using the latter. Less paperwork is involved and they don't get in
a tizzy about mailing things like a check card across the border (RBC
Centura will only mail one to a US address).

Once the account is open, she can use it like her regular chequing account
in the U.S. (assuming, of course, she still needs one - not sure why she
would). Both services allow funds to be moved across the border by phone
for a very low cost (one free transfer per month). TD is faster though, the
transfers show up quicker than RBC's do.

They can be linked to either USD or CAD accts here, where the transfer is to
CAD the exchange rate is better than the regular retail rate. Ignore the
posts about the "official rate", there isn't one, and no one (unless you
have a lot of money) gets that close to the spot rate.

Hope that helps.

"Robin" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
    > My girlfriend will soon be landing in Canada as a Permanent Resident.
    > Currently, her savings account is with a small bank. I am trying to
    > determine how she can best have access to her money while living with
    > me here in Canada, without having to pay high-wire transfer fees, or
    > any other such fees/service charges.
    > I know that some American expatriates, currently residing Canada, have
    > chequing accounts with their American bank. They write themselves a
    > cheque, whenever they need to make a withdrawl from their state bank.
    > I don't want her to bring her entire life-savings to Canada--the
    > Canadian dollar is worth too much right now. I don't want to see her
    > U.S. funds to become needlessly diminished. At the same time,
    > however, it would be nice to find a convenient, simple, easy way for
    > her to dip into her state bank account from Canada, without being
    > overcharged.
    > Anyone know of any avenues? Any "joint" Can-Am bank relationships she
    > could take advantage of? Ie, if she moved her money to a larger bank
    > like, say, Bank of America...does it have any affiliations with a bank
    > here in Canada (so she could transfer funds without paying hefty and
    > needless fees?)
    > Any insight or info would be appreciated. Thanks!
    > Robin
 
Old Apr 6th 2004, 12:49 am
  #11  
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Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 30
myzzy is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: Question to all U.S. PRs in Canada--how do you access your U.S. bank accounts?

I still hold my US checking account and will continue till they tell me i am not allowed, Thus being i still have credit cards from the us that are being maintained in canada with me.

I use my Visa Debit Card to make everyday purchases here in canada and pay ALL my US credit card bills, student loans and other us activities Online through my bank.
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Old Apr 6th 2004, 4:11 am
  #12  
J J
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Default Re: Question to all U.S. PRs in Canada--how do you access your U.S. bank accounts?

    > >Anyone know of any avenues? Any "joint" Can-Am bank relationships she
    > >could take advantage of? Ie, if she moved her money to a larger bank
    > >like, say, Bank of America...does it have any affiliations with a bank
    > >here in Canada (so she could transfer funds without paying hefty and
    > >needless fees?)

PayPal might be an option for you. You may be able to transfer money
from your U.S. checking account into PayPal, and then transfer it to
your Canadian account from there. I don't know if there are any fees
since it would be an international transfer, but it's worth looking
into. The only downside is that you would be looking at 6-10 business
days to get your money transferred across all of your accounts.
 
Old Apr 6th 2004, 4:46 am
  #13  
Ravi Rao
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Default Re: Question to all U.S. PRs in Canada--how do you access your U.S. bank accounts?

In article <[email protected] >, J J wrote:
    >> >Anyone know of any avenues? Any "joint" Can-Am bank relationships she
    >> >could take advantage of? Ie, if she moved her money to a larger bank
    >> >like, say, Bank of America...does it have any affiliations with a bank
    >> >here in Canada (so she could transfer funds without paying hefty and
    >> >needless fees?)
    >
    > PayPal might be an option for you. You may be able to transfer money
    > from your U.S. checking account into PayPal, and then transfer it to
    > your Canadian account from there. I don't know if there are any fees
    > since it would be an international transfer, but it's worth looking

No, paypal isn't really an option. Not on a regular basis anyway.

Reasons:

a) http://paypalwarning.com/
b) Yes, there are fees involved if you convert USD -> CAD. First off,
you need to 'upgrade' your regular paypal account into a 'premium' account after
paying some cashola, and afterward, there is a per-transaction surcharge too.

Maybe there's some fine-print on all this, but I didn't find any and I
managed to find out the hard way. My only advice is, read the fine print *really*
carefully before you embark on the whole paypal game, esp. if you are
inter-converting currencies.

To the original poster:

Try HSBC, or RBC -- both have USD/CAD accounts, with inter-operability.

cheers

--ravi.
 
Old Apr 6th 2004, 8:06 am
  #14  
Robin
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Default Re: Question to all U.S. PRs in Canada--how do you access your U.S. bank accounts?

I'd like to thank everyone who has replied to my post, thus far. I
appreciate the time and effort.


As far as TD Waterhouse and/or RBC Ventura, UNFORTUNATELY, Tulsa does
not have those two banks (closest Waterhouse is in Oklahoma City.
pity)


(and Tulsa is a fairly large town, too. go figure)

    >
    > Once the account is open, she can use it like her regular chequing account
    > in the U.S. (assuming, of course, she still needs one - not sure why she
    > would).


Well, she doesn't even currently have a chequing account in Oklahoma.
Never had one!

; ) She's always been a CASH-ONLY kind of gal! She's hands on.



I guess, just to reiterate, our primary concern is how best to
TRANSFER funds up in Canada, FROM her U.S. bank account, without:

1) confusing the poor Southern bank tellers (from smaller banks--I
don't imagine it's difficult to confuse them. Based on Amanda's
previous experiences, Oklahoma really isn't up to speed, as far as
banking/postage/anything having to do with other regions in North
America other than their own. Such is the way with southern America)

2) having it cost Amanda a ton of surcharges, needless fees, etc.

3) hitting any snags or walls, due to "incompatibilties" between,
say, her existing U.S. bank, and a Canadian account in her name.


Some of you have had demonstrated some good insight and
suggestions--such as checking to see if Amanda's current bank won't
get a "freak out" as soon as she gets a Canadian residential address.


Also, the suggestion of TD and RBC are good (and I had been
researching those two banks myself), though, as I said above, I don't
think those options are possible, since no branches exist in Amanda's
neck of the woods.


Someone also recommended TRAVELLER'S CHEQUES (if, of course, it
doesn't cost an arm and a leg just to get the darned things. I'll
have to check and see if Amanda's dad is a member of AAA or
something).

Assuming Amanda can easilly obtain traveller's cheques (without it
costing a lot of money), or get a chequing account from a U.S. bank
before she leaves for Canada, then just write herself cheques from
Canada...

...do you think these are the best ways for her to transfer funds from
her oklahoma bank to Canada? Any other suggestions? Woudn't there be
another inane charge for Amanda to deposit US traveller's cheques into
a Canadian bank account? Even if it's a U.S. money account that she
is depositing the cheque into?


Also, in order for her to minimize USER FEES AND SURCHARGES, I take it
that we all agree that a US MONEY ACOUNT, from CIBC, or RBC, TD, etc,
is the best route to go--even though it will cost Amanda at least
USD-50 cents per transaction--whether depositing or withdrawing? Are
there other hidden costs I should be made aware of that some of you
have stumbled on?


Can anyone recommend one bank over another for their US dollar
account? I presently bank at CIBC, but even I am considering leaving
them! heh.


Thanks again for all the help thus far, guys.


Robin
 
Old Apr 6th 2004, 9:34 am
  #15  
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Default Re: Question to all U.S. PRs in Canada--how do you access your U.S. bank accounts?

Originally posted by Robin
As far as TD Waterhouse and/or RBC Ventura, UNFORTUNATELY, Tulsa does
not have those two banks (closest Waterhouse is in Oklahoma City.
pity)
TD Waterhouse doesn't have ANY branches, you do everything via mail or phone. They have not ATMs, but refund your fees at other banks ATMs instead. They are not meant for using as your local bank, but strictly for dealing with them remotely. You set up the account my mailing in your application (you have to have a TD Bank account in Canada first before you can open it) along with a check or money order (US funds only) for your initial deposit. They mail you back your check card, pin, etc. once the account is open.
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