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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 6th 2004, 9:35 am
  #16  
Nick B.
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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?

Robin... Here's what you do.

Have her come to Canada with traveller's cheques for enough funds to cover
about a month or two's worth of expenses. The commission on them (charged
by seller) is only 1%, and it's negotiable, if she has been a good client of
her bank, they may wave the charge.

When she arrives, go to a branch of TD Canada Trust and open an account with
them - a U.S.$ account and a Canadian chequing account for her day to day
needs. Deposit the TCHQs to the U.S. account, the bank won't hold them, and
convert whatever she wants. Then, draw a cheque from her U.S. account for
the full balance of the account and deposit that as well. The bank will
likely hold it for 15 business days, but who cares, she has enough in TCHQs
to cover her.

Then go to http://www.tdcanadatrust.com/usbanking/index.jsp and click "Apply
On-Line" for a TD Waterhouse Bank checking account. As a TD Canada Trust
client, she'll be able to open the account no problem. The application
generates the forms and you print them off and mail them. You can
alternatively have the forms printed and mailed to you and you send them
back to TD Waterhouse in New Jersey.

Within a few days, they send back a checkbook for the U.S. account and a
ATM/Visa Check Card. You call up their number, and when the U.S. funds are
clear (about this time), you can transfer them over the phone.

Simple, convenient, and inexpensive.

"Robin" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
    > 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, 9:36 am
  #17  
Vladimir Menkov
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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?

In article <[email protected] > you write:
    >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)

Many American banks welcome out-of-town customers opening accounts by
mail. This is easy, as long as you have all the necessary documents
handy.


    >...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?

Check with the bank or mutual fund on the Canadian side. Then make a
small test transfer to see what rate you *really* get.

Anyhow, I never had a chance to buy travellers' checks yet, since all
countries I have visited or lived in so far have ATMs where one can
withdraw local cash, which -- surprise, surprise! -- is readily
accepted by local merchants :-) Your transaction costs are about 1%
either way, with a good bank.


    > 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.

On the US side, USAA FSB (www.usaa.com) is the one that's usually
recommended to people moving abroad (and it is often recommended to
those staying in the country!). No fees for most routine transactions
(ATM, check-writing, etc), free checks, no additional surcharge for
foreign-currency credit card transactions. Generally friendly and
accessible to customers located outside of the country. As I
understand, you don't need to be an USAA member to have a bank account
with their bank. Interest rates they pay are low, but that's what
you have banks like ING Direct USA for.

On the Canadian side, I found PHN mutual funds (www.phn.com) very good
for currency conversion. It would probably be silly to open a mutual
fund account just to deposit US$ checks, especially as there is a
fairly large minimum investment amount to open an account with them.
But you may consider moving your RRSP to them, as they have some
pretty good stock and bond funds too. (That is, you can keep your
RRSP in their stock or bond funds, and have a non-RRSP account too,
used both for current investment and for funds conversion via money
market funds.) Of course, if you have an account with some other
mutual fund company that offers US$ and CDN$ mutual funds, you may
want to find out how conversion between the two works there; perhaps
it's just as good.

They accept US checks for deposit; although there is a 30 business day
hold for clearing such checks, this may not be an issue if you have
money in some other mutual fund with them -- this will guarantee the
funds in your money market acct, so you can make a withdrawal from
your CDN money market fund pretty much immediately. Alternatively, you
can pay $20 or so to your US banks and have the funds wired to your
Canadian bank or mutual fund, thus eliminating the hold.

ING Direct Canada offers no-fee US$ accounts too, but I don't know how
good they our for your purposes, i.e. whether they take US checks for
deposits or what their exchange rates are like. Call and ask. I know
that their dual-currency ATMs are "tricky" and had better be avoided.

President's Choice Financial, a.k.a. Amicus Bank, (CIBC's low-cost
low-service subsidiary) accepts US checks for deposit into their CDN$
accounts, but the exchange rate is rather poor, processing ATM
deposits may take forever (meaning, it may take them forever to
realize that it was US$1000 , not CDN$1000), and there is a hold
policy too (which, though, can be made immaterial if you have a
borrowing account with them and deposit US checks into the borrowing
account).

No direct experience with RBC or TD, or other big Canadian banks
(HSBC, BM, National, etc.) , so I can't comment on those. Just
give a call to each one to see what their rates and fees are.

As somebody has noted, "there is no official rate", which of course is
true. But it's not difficult to ensure that you aren't paying more
than 1% over the day's closing spot rate, as posted by Bank of Canada
or seen in newspapers. And if you can get an exchange rate within
0.1-0.2% from the spot rate, you should not have much to complain
about!

Regards,

--Vladimir
 

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